Digital remote sales became more important than ever last year as small and medium businesses (SMBs) shifted to work-from-home models while navigating the pandemic. But many SMB salespeople reported having difficulty succeeding while working remotely. The vast majority of reps (79%) say they’ve had to adapt quickly to new ways of selling, and more than half of sales reps (58%) think their job has changed forever since the pandemic — both according to the Fourth Edition of the Salesforce State of Sales report.
Turns out digital-only selling is a skill that takes time to develop. But even as restrictions on in-person gatherings ease and the economy opens up, digital remote sales will remain important as businesses consider a new work model: the hybrid office.
The hybrid model combines working from home, the office, and the field. Many employees want to continue working from home at least some of the time, and many employers are happy to oblige. Throw in a return to face-to-face client meetings in the field, and you’ve got a hybrid model that SMB sales teams can work with.
Skills and strategies for remote sales
While hybrid work has a lot to offer, it still hinges on developing remote sales skills and strategies that work. What can you do to set salespeople up for success as they continue to work remotely?
Let’s look at three secrets to remote sales team success that our own SMB sales teams have used to stay connected and on top of their goals:
1. Set goals to keep remote sales teams focused
Goal setting is a tried-and-true technique for motivating teams and keeping individuals focused. Cloud-based tools make it easy to turn the iconic sales leaderboard into a set of digital dashboards customized to pinpoint exactly what your team needs to focus on. Salesforce’s integrated dashboards are easy to use, and infinitely customizable — perfect for uniting teams and motivating reps, wherever they’re working from.
“When you’re away from the office and team infrastructure, missing that external motivation being around others, your sales dashboard grounds you,” said Mishka King, an account executive with Salesforce in Chicago.
If you’re ready to go a step further, start building a virtual sales culture. Pilar Schenk, vice president of Global Sales Operations at McAfee, explains how building a strong virtual culture starts with understanding your sales team’s needs and leveraging technology.
2. Connect systems to streamline information flow
Information overload was a real issue when we all worked from the same office. When laptops and phone screens became our only way to stay connected last year, the art of Inbox management became all the more important. Add to that the newly critical skills of managing video call burnout and administrative task overload (seriously, think about how working hours have stretched and work/life boundaries blurred since we all went remote), and we’re all left screaming, There’s got to be a better way!
Fortunately, there is a better way. Connect your systems and platforms, where possible, to streamline information flow and cut down on redundant tasks. An easy example is automated management of your email and calendar. You know how great it is when you get a text with a date and time in it — maybe you’re making plans with a friend or scheduling an appointment via text — and the text is actually a link that creates a new event in your calendar?
Business tech like Salesforce Anywhere takes that sort of automated information flow and turbocharges it, connecting not just your inbox and calendar, but all of your key data across email, chat, files, and shared docs. As Matthew Warnicke, an account executive with Salesforce in Denver put it, “Virtual collaboration across internal teams on a centralized platform like Salesforce created a constant for my customers.”
With Salesforce Inbox, for instance, your team can add deals right from their inbox to your customer relationship management (CRM) system. They can instantly update sales data, and log customer interactions automatically. All without leaving their inbox. Integrating your inbox into your CRM helps data flow between key people, teams, and orgs — like sales and service — so everyone in your SMB who needs information can access it, anytime and from anywhere, to collaborate, make decisions, and close deals in real time.
3. Learn to prioritize your customers
Working multiple deals at once requires a knack for knowing which customers to pay the most attention to at any given time. This can get tricky in the world of digital sales and virtual meetings.
The right technology can help identify the signals consistent with positive momentum in a deal, and surface those signals via automated alerts and notifications to teams, reps, and sales leaders. Sales automation tools like Sales Cloud with Einstein Opportunity Scoring are great for faster lead scoring and organizing deals by priority. Alexandra Kuznowicz, an account executive with Salesforce in Toronto put it succinctly, “Opportunity scoring was able to help me stay ahead by prioritizing deals to close more faster.”
Sales automation software helps businesses prioritize the highest-potential customers and make sure your teams make the right moves at the right times to nurture leads and close deals.
Get started on remote sales success
Ready to boost your SMB’s digital sales efforts? Learn more about the 3 Secrets to Our Sales Team’s Success and how to apply them to your growing business in our free webinar.
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