There is a lot of conversation about sales management, and some of it is sales leaders expressing their angst. “Do I have the skills needed to manage a virtual sales team? What do I need to change or improve to be effective with a team that is now remote?”
Sales managers, I have some good news.
Remote sales management has been around for a long time. Twentysomething years ago, I managed a remote sales team. We didn’t know to call it that.
We simply called it “people management.”
And with people management and sales management, there are some things that don’t change. I call them the “Three “C’s of Effective Sales Leadership”:
- When you meet with your seller, you ask, “How are you?” And the answer you might hear is a drawn-out “I’m F---I---N----E.” Now, the emotionally tuned-in sales leader knows the seller isn’t fine and follows up with a second question: “So, what’s going on? That fine didn’t sound fine.” The sales leader doesn’t just check in; they also tune into the seller’s emotional state.
- Here’s where it gets interesting. Sales leaders often think they are providing coaching. But research shows that most sellers don’t believe they are receiving enough coaching or the right type of it. One reason for that is sales managers confuse deal review with deal coaching. Deal review is reviewing the sales pipeline and forecasts. It’s not coaching. Deal coaching is actually engaging in role-plays and practice sets, and observing sellers’ sales calls. Sales leaders, where are you investing your time?
- The pandemic has taught us that we all value being around people, and not just those on a videoconferencing call. Now, a lot of pundits say people are not going back to their offices and instead will continue to work in remote offices. They like working at home. That is true. And it’s also false. I’ve heard many sellers say they miss the comraderie of an office, the energy of colleagues and/or the hallway conversations. As companies figure out their future work environments, consider the importance of community. A one-size-fits-all approach may not work for your sales team.
Connection, coaching and community are required to manage a remote sales team. And that’s a best practice that has been around for years.