Long before the first lockdown, organisations had sales teams out in the field. Those responsible for their management faced - and still face - a unique set of challenges. National sales managers with teams scattered around the country - and even in overseas locations - have always had to deal with issues such as a lack of in-person communication and difficulty in creating a cohesive team culture. The good news is that with the increasing rise of digital transformation, it's getting easier to harness purpose-built technology to meet those challenges.
Discover how Opmetrix helped Gulf Western Oil increase team efficiencies with ABM ERP and our CRM
As part of their growth strategy, Gulf Western Oil aimed to increase their field sales by a quarter, but this goal was hampered by a sales team long-used to manual, old-school processes. So, they engaged ABM (Advanced Business Manager) ERP and Opmetrix to help them discover and implement a more modern, business solution. Read the case study
"Both ABM and Opmetrix have integrated so well into our business, and we would struggle to drop either of them. There are so many intricate details to both programs, we use it every day. It has become more than just a tool for reporting, it has become a strategic tool for us."
If you're struggling with managing remote sales teams, or you're new to the job, your first step is to fully understand the challenges you'll be facing. The more you know about them, the better placed you'll be to handle them.
The biggest roadblock you'll face is communication. Even with all of today's modern communication tech, remote teams can still wind up in silos. And when they're not sharing information, they're likely to lose sight of the organisation's overarching goals.
Then there are the problems of daily supervision and accountability. Of course, every individual is different, but some people benefit from being in an office setting where it's harder to procrastinate.
If you don't have clear processes and expectations in place, your teams will find it harder to focus and their productivity will dip. They need to know what's expected of them, and that you trust them to live up to those expectations by following company procedures.
And of course, you need the right tech on board; these key challenges can't be met without investing in technology designed specifically for remote working.
Opmetrix an essential business tool for Hellers
Discover how Hellers has transformed the face of its sales and merchandising by enabling admin to manage field workers by reviewing activities such as call time, tracking deals and distribution, as well as setting targets. Read the case study
"I’d say the number one thing about Opmetrix is they understand our business and especially FMCG."
Fine-tune the onboarding process
We mentioned processes and procedures earlier; the people on your sales teams need to be trained in them from the get-go, so build that training in to your onboarding process. By doing so, you're setting each team member up for success. Make use of multiple teaching styles with video, text and interactive content. Ensure they're comfortable using technology and systems. The Opmetrix solution has been designed for reps and managers to hit the ground running. Interactive training sessions and step-by-step videos are just some of the tools the solution provides.
Set clear expectations and KPIs
When managing remote sales teams, there's no such thing as over-communicating. Remote teams need to be clear at all times of their day-to-day functions and team goals, and they need to know the hours that other teams are available.
Since you can't be everywhere at once, use KPIs to measure how team members are keeping up with their specific tasks and targets .Obviously, KPIs will vary based on different members of the team, but you should establish some core team KPIs. Focus on metrics that play a direct role in your organisation's success as a whole to begin with, then as your teams grow, create additional KPIs that are specific to each role. When it comes to specific tasks, Opmetrix provides managers with a tool to quickly create and distribute them.
Check in regularly
It's important to have weekly check-ins, and getting your teams together on a virtual face-to-face system - like Zoom or Teams - is a great way to foster team spirit and cohesiveness. Video calls that allow shared screens are essential for building relationships with remote teams. You can do little teambuilding exercises each time - like a quiz - that help teams feel more connected to each other. When you're on these calls, it's important that your teams can access the information they need swiftly and easily. Opmetrix has been designed so that your field teams can access customer call notes, contacts, photos, sales history and current opportunities.
Align your CRM and other sales enablement tools to streamline the sales process
We mentioned communications silos earlier; well, the same is true for sales data if your teams are using different systems and sales tools. Things can get tangled pretty darn quickly, and this can lead to misunderstandings and often, costly mistakes. Not only that, but if they're using different tools they can't share tips, tricks and information with each other. Aligning your CRM and other sales tools is the way to overcome this. Opmetrix's specialised CRM empowers your field teams with everything they need to focus on selling and exceeding targets - call notes and contacts, tasks and auditing, and document management.
Ask your sales team for feedback
There are several ways of doing this:
· Ask your sales team for feedback
· Encouraging them to contact you directly
· Setting up short surveys
· Creating an employee engagement form
· During regular performance reviews
Your goal is to make sure that everyone on all teams feels comfortable providing feedback, good or bad. Emphasise that their responses help you to make their job easier by providing the tools they need, and that you can't fix something if you don't know it's broken.
Opmetrix– a positive impact on K&A Foods management and field teams
Read how K&A Food’s teams now have the flexibility to manage their working day more effectively. Read the case study
"You guys are 10 out of 10! I believe that if companies aren't using a sales automation system they're actually missing out on opportunities. Having information at our fingertips is very important for our sales representatives and staff."
Successfully managing a remote sales team requires coordination, time, and effort. These tips, alongside innovative tech designed specifically for field teams, will help you to build strong relationships with your teams, leading to more sales, business growth, and increased profitability.
Keen to learn more about the role of tech in sales? Check out this blog on how technology is transforming retail execution.