Motivate your sales team to thrive in a remote world

Posted September 4, 2020

Imagine standing at the summit of your favorite hike — and all of a sudden, you feel the soil beneath you begin to shift. What used to feel familiar is now completely different and uncomfortable.

B2B sales leaders are facing this reality right now. They're leading teams on new and unfamiliar terrain while still striving to achieve ambitious sales goals.

To help navigate these changes, we recently invited Dan Gottleib, senior sales analyst at TOPO Research, to join a virtual fireside chat with Victoria Grady, our VP of product marketing at Outreach. The two discussed what leaders can do to motivate their people in this new digital selling environment.

We know the impacts of the pandemic on B2B sales structure will be long-lasting, so now is the time to implement positive changes. Read on for some conversation highlights.

Managing virtual teams with empathy

As many of us can relate, Victoria started at Outreach soon after the office shut down. With over 20 years of team-leadership experience, she onboarded remotely for the first time in her career, and she's now managing her team (who she's never met in person!) from a distance. Her top advice to others going through this experience is to bring empathy into every conversation and prioritize meaningful one-on-one meetings to build trustworthy, personal connections.

She's also been open with her peers about how challenging the remote environment can feel. Sharing perspectives like this creates cohesion among teams and ensures everyone is learning and adapting to change in real time.

For B2B sales leaders, pivoting processes quickly is crucial. It doesn't matter how big their teams or industries are — their reps are under tremendous pressure, and they're looking to management for support. They are no longer relying on quarterly meetings to assess what's working and what's not. Now sales leaders need a panoramic view into their teams’ performance, every single day.

Front-line sales managers are no strangers to discussing performance with reps and getting to the core of best practices across teams. Our digital landscape has given leaders the opportunity to conduct a birds-eye view of what the sales pipeline looks like each day, so they can better share information with their teams.

Through Dan’s comprehensive research of the sales industry, he found a team that created a Slack “newsroom” to showcase success stories and productivity tips. Reps use the newsroom as a center of excellence for sharing their individual learnings with the rest of the team. Posts include messaging proven to resonate with potential buyers, how to empathize and bring a human aspect to sales calls, and what is striking out entirely. The entire org pitches in to help reps have the best possible conversations with prospects.

It’s never been easier to take insights from buyers and pass them on to a seller who may be struggling. Sharing best practices and personalizing coaching leads to higher revenue, while fostering a healthy corporate culture and team camaraderie.

Room for corporate culture to change for the better

A company's culture is traditionally established through the collective norms and values we see in an office or at in-person events, such as going out for a meal or a drink after work. Today's climate means we need to build it in a different way — and we need to recognize the role it plays in boosting employee satisfaction and motivation.

Many leaders are committed to keeping morale and well-being at healthy levels. And that includes making sure everyone has what they need to comfortably work from home and maintaining open channels of communication.

We’re long past the point of screen fatigue. Every day, we're virtually invited into colleagues' home offices, kitchen tables, and living rooms. It’s not uncommon for a dog to bark or a cute kid to run by in the background. How can we let our people know we support all parts of their lives?

Leaderships needs to rethink how it maintains a digital corporate culture built on trust. Rather than awkward happy hours with no direction, invite people to "show and tell," like the team Dan recently saw where everyone had exactly three minutes to share their favorite vacation memories.

Leading from afar is not easy — but we also know now that things will never return to the way they were. As we transition into a future where remote working is the norm, ask yourself how you can help your teams (and customers) change for the better. Lean into creative ways to strengthen relationships despite the distance.


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