3 Keys to Boosting the Productivity of Remote Sales Teams

One of the biggest complaints we’re seeing from clients in the middle of this global pandemic is that the myriad interruptions to business operations are disrupting sales momentum. While day-to-day sales activities may be continuing, progress toward sales goals is often stalling.

But for savvy sales leaders, the global quarantine lockdown does not have to translate into a sales slowdown. While business interactions may be limited, creativity is not. For every obstacle that emerges, there exists a creative workaround to ensure your team can continue to work productively.

In previous discussions of what it takes for sales teams to thrive in a crisis, our experts highlighted steps like staying client-focused and taking your sales conversations online. In this week’s post, we’ll take a look at how successful remote sales teams can use the right tools and techniques to boost their overall productivity.

1.  Go Virtual

Virtual interactions have become a requirement thanks to the current coronavirus pandemic. While some companies have struggled to adapt their business models to remote operations, smart leaders are finding that virtual tools have allowed their teams to actually reach higher levels of productivity. This is a crucial discovery, because even when the global lockdown lifts, virtual business operations are likely to become part of the “new normal” for many organizations.

In our latest white paper on prospering during a crisis, we explained how can go on the offensive and take a proactive approach to managing the impact of a global crisis. With travel bans and quarantines forcing a shift to remote operations, this tactic includes the need to develop creative virtual sales presentations to present your solutions and demonstrate their value. This could include solutions like webinars, virtual office tours, or live product demonstrations using remote access tools or videos showing your product or team in action.

“Going virtual” can also apply beyond direct sales interactions. Virtual sales training has been a growing trend, well before the pandemic hit, with companies discovering a wealth of benefits to taking their training operations online. Virtual training has been shown to increase reps’ effectiveness, and outperform live classroom training in areas like increased pipeline and greater rep confidence.

2. Create Effective Sales Playbooks

A huge productivity killer is a daunting “to do” list that amounts to little more than a jumble of disparate tasks waiting for the next action. Reps get busy, actions slip into the “do it later” pile, and all the valuable time spent on prospecting is lost because they didn’t follow up in a timely manner. Having an effective sales playbook can help eliminate this common problem.

Playbooks are one of the most powerful tools in your sales team’s arsenal. They clearly outline your sales process, and arm your reps with all the content and strategies they need to navigate the sales cycle and close a deal. Operating without a well-defined playbook puts your team at a disadvantage, and can encourage a chaotic sales process that greatly reduces your ability to improve and scale your operations.

A playbook helps give your rep a comprehensive understanding of the entire sales journey, and allows your reps to clearly see the appropriate next action to take at every stage. This can help eliminate decision fatigue and ensure that your reps are making the right moves, at the right times, to move their sales conversations forward.

This is especially important in a remote sales environment when sales managers are not able to stand over their rep’s shoulder listening to calls and demos, and helping them take the appropriate steps to close the deal.

3. Use the Right Platforms and Tools

Rather than operating as a standalone tool, an effective playbook should be integrated with your CRM system and productivity tools, to help further automate your sales process and improve your team’s efficiency.

An effective CRM allows sales teams to automate tasks like meeting invites, email follow ups, and prospect monitoring. This is a key step in ensuring the next action dictated by your playbook is executed effectively.

Industry-leading CRM platforms, like HubSpot or Salesforce, also include productivity-boosting features like task sequencing, communication tools and templates, and call planning. These systems can be integrated with other productivity apps – including calendars, and prospecting tools – to create seamless sales operations and allow your team to operate at peak levels.

CRMs also offer remote dialer tools that will allow reps to automate the process of logging call notes, recording calls, and tracking their call activities, providing managers with full visibility into their team’s productivity despite being remote.

Expert Insights Help Move Your Team Forward

At HireDNA, we offer a range of solutions and services for businesses looking to scale their sales organizations. From sales performance evaluations and virtual training, to playbook development and CRM integrations, our team of experts can help you propel your business to success and accelerate your growth.

Contact our experts to learn how we can help you equip your sales force with the tools they need to improve their productivity and achieve peak performance.

Keeping Your Reps Sharp With Virtual Sales Training

As we’ve pointed out in previous blog posts, experienced sales leaders know that the best way to improve your win rate is to improve your reps’ effectiveness. Increasing sales activity is one piece of the puzzle, but it must be combined with greater effectiveness to be successful.

Your single greatest tool for increasing your reps’ effectiveness is your training plan. Ongoing training and coaching keeps reps’ skills sharp, and keeps them on top of the latest tools and techniques needed to generate successful sales conversations.

While the current coronavirus pandemic has put traditional in-person training sessions on hold, smart leaders are embracing virtual sales training – and are seeing huge benefits as a result.

Virtual Sales Training Can Outperform Live Sessions

One of the biggest myths surrounding virtual training is that online training is a pale imitation of live classroom sessions. A recent industry survey found that while 65% of companies plan to increase their investment in virtual training, only 10% believed that virtual training could be as good as live, instructor-led classroom events.

But in a controlled field test comparing reps who participated in live classroom training and online-only training, the results were abundantly clear:

Sales teams who completed online training delivered 23.2% more pipeline than similar teams who received live classroom training

Sales reps who completed online training experienced twice the boost in confidence levels when engaging executive decision-makers, compared with those who attended live classroom training

This field test demonstrated that the self-paced, flexible, and personalized experience of virtual sales training can present drastic advantages over a live-classroom setting. When the reps deeply engaged with the training content in a virtual setting, they not only learned critical new skills, they also gained confidence in their ability to apply those skills to the real-world sales environment.

How Virtual Training Benefits Your Sales Team

In addition to improved performance, virtual training offers your organization several key advantages over live classroom sessions, including:

Reduced Costs – Virtual training eliminates the need for travel and classroom costs, and can reduce opportunity costs associated with time out of field. This can reduce your overall training costs by up to 50% without reducing the training itself.

Scalability and Accessibility – With travel coordination eliminated and scheduling concerns simplified, virtual training can be implemented quickly and effectively to address strategic needs. Large-scale training rollouts can be completed in a matter of weeks rather than months, and can be immediately accessible to all members of your sales team, regardless of location. This is particularly crucial when travel concerns – such as those created by the current coronavirus pandemic – might otherwise hinder your organization’s training plans.

Targeted Training – The agile nature of virtual training allows for highly targeted programs, tailored to either individual, team needs, or acute strategic objectives. Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach, virtual training provides greater flexibility to created targeted content that addresses specific skill gaps or performance indicators, like decreasing pipelines, diminishing close rates, declining sales activity, etc.

It also allows for the rapid creation and deployment of training based on time-sensitive strategic needs, such as product launches, price changes, industry developments, supply chain disruptions, or other timely communications.

Deeper Learning Opportunities – A self-paced online training environment often allows for added depth of engagement with training material versus in-person training. Live classrooms can create limitations, as both participant and instructor attention may be divided and time constraints may prevent every attendee from participating. Online training can give participants more opportunity to practice and complete assignments to demonstrate proficiency.

Leveraging Virtual Training Expertise

Not all virtual training is created equal. The right approach and training curriculum can make a significant difference in the success of your training program. Maximize your investment in sales training with curriculum that targets your team’s specific skill gaps and sales DNA, and a platform that simulates the real-world environment and keeps reps engaged with the right combination of content, implementation guides, and personalized action plans.

The sales training and coaching experts at HireDNA can help you navigate the learning curve, deliver high-quality training that works within the workflow of your sales team, and feel confident knowing you’re going to deliver the same or better results as an in-person classroom.

HireDNA was recently recognized as an emerging leader in corporate training and coaching. Our experts can assist with any questions about building first-in-class, on-demand sales training tailored specifically for remote sales forces.

How to Connect with Key Prospects

Connecting with decision makers is always a core challenge for sales professionals. In an uncertain environment, like the one we’re currently experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic, connecting with prospects can become even more difficult – and even more important for your bottom line.

Establishing a meaningful connection with prospects is a critical first step towards becoming a trusted advisor for your prospects – a move that can ensure your team will prosper in times of crisis.

With the right skills and know-how, sales reps can focus their outreach activities to foster more productive engagement with leads and continue to generate successful sales conversations. In this post, we’ll show you the most effective ways to continue reaching out to key prospects, even in the most difficult of times. 

At HireDNA, our training experts can help your sales team learn the crucial skills needed to perform at the highest levels. Learn more.

Target the Right Prospects at the Right Time

It’s no secret that your sales calls will be significantly more successful if you’re talking to a prospect who has an immediate need and an immediate interest in your product or service. But how can you determine when that’s the case? 

Effective CRMs, such as HubSpot, include tools that help you understand how your leads are interacting with your web site. You can see which leads are visiting which pages, and use that data to gain insight on what is currently top of mind for a particular lead. Rather than having a generalized discussion about how you might be able to help your prospect, you can now open the conversation with information that is specifically tailored to their needs and interest. 

For example, if the prospect is viewing a page devoted to X and Y, your sales rep can begin the conversation with a statement like, “We know that many of our clients are struggling with how to do X or Y. Are either of these an issue for you right now?” This approach is designed to immediately capture a prospect’s interest and increase your rep’s likelihood of demonstrating value, which is critical to closing the sale.

Social media is also a valuable resource for understanding who is talking about your product, and what, specifically, they’re looking for. Recent studies suggest that 75% of B2B buyers use social media to research vendors, and social sellers can realize 66% greater quota attainment than those using traditional prospecting techniques. Knowing what your prospects are looking for on social media can help you turn cold outreach into warm and hot leads. Encourage your sales team to monitor social media for potential buyer mentions of your company name, your product or service, or a hashtag aligned with your value proposition.

Make Your Calls Count

Although some sales reps prefer to move away from phone selling, voice calls are still one of the best ways to create meaningful, memorable connections. They bring a personal warmth and likeability to the conversation that is hard to replicate through email or social media alone. 

Typically, sales reps who use cold calling rely on contact details from company web sites or directories. With a majority of prospects working from home during the global pandemic, office switchboards are less likely to connect you with key decision makers. Even direct work numbers are not always effective, as many companies were ill-equipped to set up call forwarding when the pandemic hit, and are instead relying on employees to check their voicemails.

Ideally, you’ll be able to find a prospect’s cell number by searching , or by purchasing sales data from a service like SalesIntel that can provide these numbers. Reps may be hesitant to use a mobile number out of concern for “bothering” a prospect at home. However, while the occasional prospect may have this perspective, many reps are also finding that prospects are more willing to connect on their cell phones during this virus outbreak. Not only do they understand the need to circumvent the traditional office phone tree, but many are also open to the added interaction during this isolating time – provided your rep can effectively demonstrate your product’s value in helping them through these difficult times.

Many sales reps also report that they are struggling with productivity, particularly if they are not accustomed to the rhythm of working remotely. Prioritizing and keeping track of who to call next is often a sticking point for reps who are prospecting. Call queuing can help eliminate the uncertainty of deciding on the appropriate next actions, and can help reps keep an effective cadence of activity throughout the day. 

An effective call queue targets hot leads first – those who are opening your emails, visiting your site, and engaging on social media. As noted in the beginning of this article, these are the leads who have an immediate interest and need for your product or service. Prioritize them and make a connection while this particular need is top of mind. 

Your reps should also leverage your CRM to know where the leads are in your sales process, and what touches you’ve already made with them, so they know precisely what messaging should be delivered next, regardless of the channel being used to reach them.

Use Email Effectively 

Experienced sales reps know that email outreach must be well-crafted and highly targeted to have any hope of being opened. your email outreach and ensure that your messaging is optimized to address your prospects’ specific needs. Demonstrate your business value by showing that you understand the key issues your prospect is currently struggling with, and that your product or service has helped others like them achieve specific, measurable results. 

Including relevant, personalized videos in email outreach has also been shown to drastically increase sales reps’ ability to connect with prospects. HubSpot recently reported that adding video to email can boost click-through rates by 200-300%, increase the number of meetings booked by 500%, and strongly influence prospects’ purchasing decisions.

The timing of your email messages should be carefully considered as well. Sales email tracking tools that integrate with your CRM can allow you to monitor your email campaigns and receive alerts when a lead has opened or clicked your emails. By capturing prospects’ attention while they are actively engaging with your emails, you can greatly improve your response rate and effectively secure follow-up meetings. 

Set Your Sales Reps Up for Success

Developing top sales talent is an ongoing need, regardless of the current sales climate. HireDNA provides expert, virtual sales training and coaching perfectly suited for remote teams. We use a modern, cloud-based micro-learning platform for maximum efficiency and productivity, and partner closely with our clients to create custom training content that is proven to keep reps engaged and performing at peak levels.

HireDNA was also recently recognized as an emerging leader in corporate training and coaching. Our experts can assist with any questions about building first-in-class, on-demand sales training tailored specifically for remote sales forces.