How Virtual Should Your Sales Team Be?
In a world in which a sales team can be entirely virtual, a hybrid mode of the virtual sales team is popping up everywhere. On any given day, reps could be working from home, on the road and in the office. Sales teams aren’t restricted to their offices and their office phones anymore; they can do their jobs anywhere with a tablet and a phone signal. But logging office hours encourages camaraderie amongst teammates and forces reps to stay informed about what’s happening at home base. Measuring a salesperson’s performance via in-house metrics and tracking programs is vital, and it’s difficult – but not impossible – to do when they’re at home.
However, recent research demonstrates that sales people waste most of their time in the office managing internal communication, such as emails and voice mails, and checking in with their managers. (Not to mention the precious time lost on gossip, the ultimate time waster, although sometimes a juicy time waster.) In fact, time spent on pre-sale and post-sale activities increased by 15 percent and time spent on administrative work jumped 20 percent in the past five years, according to the Harvard Business Review. Is being in the office 9-5 every day decimating our productivity? If so, is there anything we can do to make that time in the office more productive?
So what should the balance be? We recommend a combination of the three: home, road, and office.
For starters, move your sales teams out of the office every once in a while. Reward them for hard work with team activities so they have a designated time to catch up on office gossip and build camaraderie. If the only time they interact is when they’re in the office, they’ll use that time to catch up.
And when your reps have to be on the road? Make sure they understand the company’s strategy for maintaining brand and sales process and best practices. Streamline your sales strategies and the data you use to back up a demo or a deck into an easy-to-read database. Solutions such as Box.com can give you an easy place to upload sales collateral so your reps can find it wherever they are, and on whatever device they use.
According to the Harvard Business Review, your reps will waste less time at home than they will at the office. A WFH day every once in a while may boost your productivity, so make sure any remote reps can easily check in. Sales tracking software, such as social customer relationships management apps, allow your sales team to virtually check in wherever they are with leads and potential sales. Take advantage of new software and apps that take in a multitude of data from your sales team and streamline that data into simple trends and meaningful findings.
Every sales team operates differently, and every individual has a different work ethic. Accounting firm PWC recently collected some data about millennials’ work habits and expectations. They found that less than 29% of millennials expect to work regular office hours in the future. So if you’re keen on keeping a young office, flexible hours may help you land the best talent – even more than desirable compensation.
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