How to Get Your COVID-Remote Sales Team Through 2020’s Home Stretch

5 Quotes From Remote Working Pros

Frank Matticola

CRO - August 14, 2020

It might feel like March 235th, but we’re fast approaching Q4, the last mile of an emotionally, economically wrought year. This year, sales floors emptied as white-collar workers were sent home to work. Suddenly, managers struggled with how to motivate and celebrate their teams without the buzz of the sales floor or the ring of the gong.

As the world makes uneven progress in the fight against COVID-19, it’s clear that sales leaders will have to use what they have learned about remote management during a crisis moment and turn them into longer-term strategies that help their people succeed. After all, nearly 50 percent of executives who had never worked from home before the COVID crisis now plan to do so more often, according to global consultancy McKinsey.

So just how can we apply our lessons learned? We asked leaders at five top SaaS companies how they’re applying their experiences to the rest of 2020, and compiled them into a thorough report: Navigating the New Normal. Here’s a sample of what they said.

If you support your sales team, they’ll support their clients

In the immediate wake of the COVID pivot, GumGum’s Chief Growth Officer Ben Plomion knew his team was hurting. “Most sellers are outgoing, they are extroverted,” he said. “For them to be stuck at home was really difficult. I saw it in their eyes.”

So he opted for radical empathy and asked sellers to—wait for it—stop selling. Instead, they used their break to collect themselves, be with their loved ones, and pen notes of support to clients. Later, when the company unveiled new packages that accommodated clients’ uncertain circumstances, they knew GumGum was committed to a great partnership, not just the next sale.

Plomion was not alone in his decision to do good: According to new research from Quartz, 53% of surveyed employees said their companies had become more supportive, while 51% said their companies will become kinder. Going forward into Q4 of 2020, managers will have to hone their emotional intelligence, set expectations within a framework of empathy, and ask sellers to do the same with their clients.

Know when your Zoom meeting could be an email or a Slack thread

In-office life has a lot of perks—but endless meetings aren’t one of them. At the outset, teams in many departments turned to video meetings to recreate a team atmosphere. But too many meetings undermine productivity no matter where you’re working, and as it turns out, they don’t do a great job of bolstering chemistry or improving knowledge-sharing.

“There is very much a buzz on an active sales floor that you cannot replicate over Zoom,” said Josh Allen, svp of inside sales and international at Drift.

To keep teams productive, limit group calls and social events over video and make sure those scheduled have a discreet agenda, ideally held by an individual contributor, not just the manager. When sellers are responsible for sharing what they’ve learned, their peers are more likely to engage, said Erin Cullen, vice president of sales at Brightcove. “They’re learning things they can use themselves.”

A gift card just won’t ignite your sales team

The SaaS companies we spoke with were hitting their goals, but struggled with how to recreate in-office competitions and celebrations.“For the past three weeks we keep debating: how do we bring life back to the sales team? We just haven’t had any good ideas,” Cullen said. The SaaS companies we spoke with were hitting their goals but struggled with how to recreate in-office competitions and celebrations.

At Chargebee, global svp of sales Germain Brion had already been thinking about how to rally his distributed team. “We weren’t very good at that. We had an email thread by region, but that’s it. And I’m not a very big fan of gongs.” He signed on with SalesScreen.

Like Slack for communication or Salesforce for insights, SalesScreen is built to fill a specific need. It taps into and rewards sales teams’ competitive spirit. Leaders can customize contests to help their organization meet and exceed specific goals like driving more stage one pipeline, improving customer renewal rates or closed deals, and improving adoption of their other sales software tools, and ensure stronger forecast updating.

We’re almost there!

While some sales teams have begun a phased return to the office, others are operating by remote indefinitely. What’s most likely is that the COVID-era pivot to working from home will result in hybrid teams that need leaders skilled in managing for a variety of circumstances.

The direction we have provided here is just the start. To learn more about how SalesScreen can motivate your team by remote, and hear more insights from the sales leaders we surveyed, download our report now.

Read more of these tips from remote working professionals in our guide Navigating the Next Normal: How 5 Top SaaS Companies are Motivating and Celebrating Sales Teams Now.

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