For many companies, remote work in the sales department is everyday reality. However, it does not mean that shifting from a classic model of work to work where a team operates remotely is easy. This requires commitment not only at the logistics level, but also both at the communication level and a motivation of the sales team. The basis of each sales department is its structure, and, first of all, the sales process. Regrettably, many companies undertake to create the sales department while beginning this process from a recruitment of the salesmen, and not from developing the entire process. Regretfully, this is a very inefficient and dangerous manner of operating. The sales team must operate according to specified rules. Even the most advanced and experienced salesmen require an appropriate work model, communication standards, explicit objectives and specific rules. This situation is even more demanding when we do not have a possibility of direct cooperation and the entire sales team works remotely.
So, is remote sale even possible?
1. What the sales process is for?
A lot of the Salesmen have a natural instinct that enables them to support the customer/client at every stage of the purchasing process. From the first conversation with the customer/client, through the submission of the offer, ending up with the negotiation and closing a contract. All activities take place naturally and for the benefit of the company. Unfortunately, not everyone has this natural sales skill. For this reason, well-functioning sales departments implement a deliberate sales process, along with the actions planned in order to support the customer/client in their purchasing process.
The sales process is nothing more than designing a group of actions, principles, rules and guidelines, on the basis of which the entire sales process is monitored and managed. The implementation of such a process allows to standardise work of the sales team, and makes it easier for the supervisors to monitor and manage the sales department, too.
The sales process is not only the sales stages, but also a work culture and communication with the customer/client. An organisation that does not have the established sales process is exposed to a decrease in efficiency, a chaos in communication with the customer/client, a loss of a great deal of the sales opportunities. The sales process also allows you to maintain the proper stamina in the sales department. It also indicates many components that are repeatable, which enables to automate them in the next step, and thus improve efficiency of the sales team. In each organisation, the sales process will be the foundations of the activities taken by the sales team, and its enforcement should take place from the CRM system level.
2. How to implement the sales process
The sales process must be developed while accompanied by persons who work with this process on an everyday basis. Therefore, building a new sales process should be done in a cooperation with the whole team. Its final shape certainly depends on a director and a head of the department. Nevertheless, it is the Salesmen who are able to identify in the best manner what components are included in the process and why they are so critical to it. The process itself must serve the team, so the more time its members invest, the more likely that it will be effective and respected by the entire company
A development of the sales process is really quite simple. All you need is a piece of paper, on which we will design the successive operations that are the same as the actions actually carried out as part of the communication with the customer/client. In the sales process, the following components are most frequently distinguished: lead, prospect, needs analysis, qualification, submission of offers, negotiations, closing of the sales.
In this manner, the developed components of the sales process should be expanded by adding the advanced situation descriptions, actions to be performed at the concerned stage, requirements for the salesman, as well as the objective for each stage. The sales process developed in this way should be reflected in the CRM system. This means that you should use such a solution that not only allows for aggregating business contacts, but above all allows you to reflect the sales process. This solution must also be mobile in order to make it possible to provide the remote sales. A configuration of the sales process in the new class CRM systems is quite easy. Most of these systems have a special overlay in which the whole process is included, divided into the stages.
Each manufacturer offers an option of editing these form fields, which means that we can easily prepare and reflect our sales process. When this type of the process is implemented, it is best for the organisation to conduct an internal training to teach the team how to work in compliance with the process. This training can easily be done remotely.
At this stage, it is also worth discussing with the team members what is still missing in the process, and what can be useful to make them as effective as possible.
3. How the sales process affects the remote work
The sales team consists of many individuals who are often exposed to a high level of stress. The salesmen are often colourful characters, and taking control of them all and providing them with the optimal environment for the most effective work is a difficult task.
Some salesmen even need to be supervised and work together, while others love a total freedom. From the perspective of the sales director who has to manage such a team in the remote work mode it can be a real challenge. The sales process can be a common denominator here. While comparing the activities of the Salesmen, taking into account their individual character traits and individual work models, as well as referring to the sales process, the director can measure their effectiveness without having to work under the same roof. Managing a team in a distributed structure, having a well-designed sales process, we should not feel virtually any difference working remotely from a situation where all employees are in the same room.
Another very important asset of the sales process consists in enabling to provide scaling of the organisation and expanding of the sales department. While not having the sales process, we are not able to monitor, and thus draw conclusions. If we are planning an organisation that operates on the international stage, we must accept a fact that a part of our sales team will most probably work in other countries.
In this case, the model of remote work is something like a normal course of events. The only difference is that it is not work from home, but work in the different regions of the world. In this model, each team member, regardless of where they are, works in compliance with the process and what the company requires.
4. How to monitor remote sales
Implement very explicit and legible KPIs, i.e. measurable values on the basis of which you will evaluate whether a given salesman performs his/her relevant activities.
Build a process that reflects the activities, principles, rules of salesman’s work with the customer/client. If you notice that your salesman is not adhering to the process – respond promptly. This process should indicate how many commercial activities or actions the aforementioned person should perform in respect of a concerned customer/client at the given stage. Implement the proper commercial communication that will make the work more coherent.
Manage sales from the CRM level. Implement the rule – what is not in CRM, it does not exist.