Prior to COVID, 17% of US SaaS sales reps worked from home five or more days per week. After COVID that number more than doubled to 44%.
While a portion of salespeople are transitioning back into the physical workplace, managing reps remotely has become the new norm for many SaaS companies. In fact, many now have teams that are 100% remote.
If this is the position you’re in, here’s how to manage reps successfully, improve communication, and maximize productivity.
The number one thing people struggle with when working remotely (along with loneliness) is collaboration/communication at 20%.
And this is understandable. At the end of the day, it’s hard to achieve the same level of collaboration and communication when your team never meets physically. Besides sharing project details and passing along general info, there are a lot of subtleties with tone and body language that you miss out on when managing a remote team.
But that’s okay. Assembling the right mix of SaaS sales software can cover all aspects of communication and ensure your team stays on the same page. Here are some suggestions:
Another vital aspect of fluid communication is nailing the timing. It’s important to establish some ground rules so there’s a basic schedule and structure in place — one that allows you to stay in close contact with your SaaS sales team but without creating distractions.
“Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for their teams,” explains The Harvard Business Review. If, for instance, it’s a daily check-in where you’re exchanging notes and debriefing a rep, you might communicate through Zoom at the end of the day. But if it’s something urgent, you could ping a salesperson through Slack to get in touch with them right away.
“Also, if you can, let your employees know the best way and time to reach you during the workday (e.g., ‘I tend to be more available late in the day for ad hoc phone or video conversations, but if there’s an emergency earlier in the day, send me a text.” This should help keep everyone on the same page and minimize distractions so your team can focus more intently on selling.
Whenever you’re dealing with a team that’s spread out across different states and even different countries, it’s easy to lose track of who’s done what and when they did it. As a result, critical deadlines may be missed, or multiple salespeople may accidentally complete the same task twice. In short, things can get messy in a hurry.
To prevent miscommunications, you need to have a detailed activity documentation system that automatically logs when:
Sales CRM and pipeline management software, Pipedrive, for example, tracks lead progress from the moment they first enter a sales funnel to when they ultimately make a purchase.
Not only does an activity documentation system like this provide a single point of reference, it spares everyone from a lot of manual data entry, allowing them to focus on more pressing tasks.
The Harvard Business Review also mentions that “newly remote workers are often surprised by the added time and effort needed to locate information from coworkers (and sales leaders). Even getting answers to what seem like simple questions can feel like a large obstacle to a worker based at home.”
That’s the last issue to address, and something that can often be remedied by having an on-demand training hub.
Say you need to get new hires up-to-speed, have them fill out documents, and learn your product. Or, maybe you need a place for existing SaaS salespeople to brush up on their skills. An on-demand training hub creates a single digital resource where you can provide your entire team with 24/7 access to training to position them for success and ongoing development.
Here are some examples of content you could include on your training hub:
You could even create a forum where your SaaS sales team can hold active discussions and veteran reps can share advice with those who are just learning the ropes.
Whether it’s due to COVID or simply because you want to take advantage of the benefits a digital sales team provides, many SaaS companies are making the shift to 100% remote. And while there’s certainly a learning curve when it comes to managing this type of team, it’s something that can be done with the right approach.
Mainly it boils down to leveraging helpful software, establishing clear rules for communication, diligently documenting activities, and providing reps with adequate training resources.
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