Four Ways To Lead Your Sales Team Remotely

by | Mar 29, 2020

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” – Mike Tyson

The above quote is one of the most true sayings ever. You can have a plan set, you can have routine, and then one day, you can get punched in the face and your plan isn’t relevant anymore.  At this point one of two things happens; you realize you’re going to be fine, or you can get caught flat footed and stagger.

The business world across the country just got punched in the face. Our lives have been uprooted by a virus that’s faceless and spreads like wildfire. This has forced our business work to react quickly. Literally, overnight, office spaces went from full to empty. Businesses went from having employees working collaboratively face-to-face, to working remote full-time.

Working remote isn’t a new concept but due to social distancing, to help flatten the COVID-19 curve, many companies are now having to navigate working remote full-time. This article will go over four simple tactics we believe every sales leader should implement while leading their sales team remotely.

Setup MTO Goals For Your Sales Team 

Honestly, I could probably do a full article just on this topic. More companies, and specifically sales teams, need to run off what I call MTO goals. I wish I could tell you I created this type of goal method, but that’s simply not true. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I heard about this method, but it’s the ONLY goal metric system I set my clients and companies up with.

Setting sales goals is an easy thing to speak of, but setting tangible sales goals is a craft. You tend to get two extremes from Sales Managers. They either have extreme goals that are unattainable and the team knows it, or they are way too broad and gives your sales team little direction or clarity on the overall accomplishment.

Having an MTO goal system in-place allows you to have a simple approach to your goals, but also shows exactly what metrics need to be hit for the team to celebrate success.

So, what exactly does MTO stand for? 

  • M- Minimum 

  • T – Target 

  • O – Outrageous 

That’s right. Whatever your “end goal” is, now make three of them. Ask yourself what your “minimum” required metric is for success, what your “target” metric is for success, and lastly, what your “outrageous” goal is. This gives your team three perspectives when looking at overall goals. They now understand what quantifies your team’s goals and to what extent.

So how does this help you lead a remote sales team? Simple. Give them what your MTO goals are as a TEAM for the entire month. Then give them the autonomy to go achieve that. You no longer have the ability to work side-by-side with them, so give them the freedom to achieve the team’s overall goals.

This will allow you to monitor how well your team works while working independently. Are they achieving the minimum amount of success, are they hitting company targets, or are you starting to think remote efforts are best because of the outrageous success your sales team is having?

Quick 15 Minute Standing Meetings 

Just as if you were in the office, the best way to keep a strong pulse on your team is to touch base with them daily. Conducting quick 15 minute daily meetings might sound simple or ineffective, but there’s more thought and strategy that goes into a 15 minute meeting than you might initially think.

Make this a required but quick 15 minute standing meeting. These meetings shouldn’t be for smalltalk and should get to the point. It should give each of your sales reps a high overview on the weekly priorities, and more so, any burning tasks that need to be accomplished that day.

We’re 100% against micromanagement, but having an early “start of the day” check-in can hold your team accountable to be on the call every morning. This is also a great time to give some insight into your current funnel, discuss prospecting ideas or just give them some good ole’ sales inspiration. Here’s the deal though – YOU HAVE TO LIMIT THESE MEETINGS TO 15 MINUTES – no longer than that.

You can conduct these calls via Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. You name it, there’s a way to connect your entire team once a day for a quick early morning check-in.

Quick story that makes me laugh – Way back in the day when I did door to door commercial art sales we would do these quick hit meetings every morning and it always played as a nice check-in. My Sales Manager at the time would yell “JUICE” at the top of his lungs, and all the sales reps would yell back, “FIRE UP” (for some reason.) Still makes me laugh, but it worked, and got me fired up to sell. So, there you have it, be sure to bring the juice for your morning sales team meetings!

Create Remote Work-Flow Routines

I recently listened to a wonderful podcast by Harvard Business Review on the best strategies to implement while leading your team when working from home. They dive a little deeper into mental health and the emotional challenges one might face, but one of the BIGGEST takeaways is the fact that you need to set a standard of remote routine right off the bat. Working remotely is a learned skill, and implementing a work-flow routine will help your crew harness this remote skill quicker.

I’m a big believer in routine, but more so, having a set remote routine for your team in place. For instance, the quick 15 minute standing meetings I suggest you conduct daily would eventually become a routine. Routine helps all of us stay the course. This is especially helpful when you have a new team that’s not used to working remotely.

Having a great remote work routine in place for your sales team is critical to your team’s efficiency and success. As we know, routine and good habit is crucial for any leader to create amongst their teams for optimal performance.

Keep It Human. Call Your Team. Create Water Cooler Topics. 

As leaders, we always need  to keep the human element amongst our team. This becomes even more important when you’re not having everyday in-person contact with your crew.

Just like we’re big believers in picking up the phone to generate sales, I’m a bigger believer in picking up the phone to check-in with your team vs just sending a simple text or slack message.

I ran my former company 100% remotely for nearly five years. At our peak, we had five team members working remotely at all-times. When I look back on my time leading my team, what stands out most are the phone calls. To this day, I miss talking to my former employees. Yeah, we discussed work, but more than anything, we talked about life. It was a good way for us to “keep it human” with each other.

My last note for leading your sales team is keep it fun and create “water cooler” topics. I used to create fun water cooler topics in Slack every Friday for my team. One week we’d discuss 90’s music, the next Friday we’d share bad sales memes, etc. This was a simple but fun way to engage everyone and make them feel connected while working remote.

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Author: James Harper – Founder, AgencyFlare