How to onboard and coach your fully remote sales force?

Abhishikha Chatterjee
November 8, 2021
 mins read

Last modified on

November 8, 2021
Table of Content:

Managing a remote team is no easy task. Think about it!

Even with all the available technology at our disposal, managing remote teams and expecting quick business results is unfair and complex compared to earlier days.

While a few parts of the business and customer behavior slipped out of our hands, there’re many aspects of it that we can control. 

Did you know, only 20% of B2B buyers say they want to return to in-person sales?- Sales Hacker

You can imagine the future; we’re moving from in-person sales to virtual selling or hybrid selling.

Which means- remote sales is here to stay, and we’ll be forced to make peace with it. 

But let’s jump to a more critical question.

How to build a remote sales team delivering stellar results?

Is it even possible?

Then here’s something you don’t know-

Groove conducted an interesting survey with 765 sales representatives. The survey intended to evaluate the changes and impact of remote selling on B2B sales teams in the last 12 months. The research tries to add the aspect of new normal and automation post-pandemic on B2B sales and how technology has helped them adapt to a remote-selling environment. 

According to the study, over 81% of participants reported having either “delivered or outperformed on their goals.” Not to forget that a group of 17% found the phase difficult; only 1% were unable to hit their sales goals. 

Despite all the technical hiccups and arrangements, remote selling has shown outstanding results for many B2B sellers. 

That concludes it’s possible to recruit and coach salespeople to achieve better results. 

And one solution can ease this journey, and that’s a call recording software such as Convin.

What’s Convin?

Convin records, transcripts, and analyzes all sales calls and demos automatically. The solution offers easy coaching techniques, sales playbook, call splitting capability, and advanced feedback & analytics to evaluate calls and identify risks and improvement areas.

Using training software such as Convin makes remote coaching and training with team members easy and convenient. Call recording software has shown tremendous success in a range of use cases other than coaching-

  • Cold calling, 
  • Following up with customers, 
  • Logging call data 
  • And sending out reports of their day-to-day activities. 

Let’s see the above solution and other sales best practices in two scenarios- Sales onboarding and Sales Coaching.

To start with, let’s see how you can onboard sales guys remotely and expedite the ramp-up time.

Sales onboarding plan for new remote recruits 

Organizations with a standard onboarding process see 50% higher productivity from new hires and increased employee engagement.

A sales newcomer two years back is not the same as a newcomer in the present day. 

The budgets companies spent on hosting induction parties, offsites, happy hours, hotel stays, etc., have been redirected to purchasing meeting gadgets and collaboration tools. 

Yet, making onboarding seamless and comprehensive is the responsibility of the manager, whether in-person or remotely.

So, let’s run through a quick yet comprehensive plan for the first 30 days that can be relayed over and over again. 

The first 30 days must cover three parts of the ramp-up:

1. Introductions

Acquaint your rep with the company. Although the HR team will be functional in introducing the corporate details to the candidate, you can give an overview from a sales person’s perspective. 

Here’s what you can help them with:

  • Corporate culture, vision, mission, and core values
  • Walkthrough the company history & organization structure, timelines
  • Sales team introduction, team structure, and roles & responsibilities
  • Meeting and casual sessions with the marketing and customer success team
  • Casual breakout time with the team and the manager 
  • Product, service, and market introduction

Friendly advice: Now that 90% of sales reps are working remotely, it’ll be better to schedule collaboration sessions on video calls with the team once a week.

2. Organization strategy and goals

Now comes the part where the onboarding process gets challenging and intense. Your rep must understand what the company is trying to achieve strategically.

Give a quick overview on:

  • Market segment & customer persona
  • Understand the industry and its nitty-gritty
  • Identify and access current customer details
  • List of business goals with timelines 
  • Give clarity on goals & targets of sales and marketing
  • Schedule meetings with department heads and managers

3. Sales Process and Coaching

Now comes the most relevant section, where the rep gets to learn and perform. So, at this stage, your reps must acquaint to:

  • Sales processes in the organization
  • Acclimatize to sales tech stack- CRM, Collaboration, Email tool, Dialer systems, Call recording software, analytics solution, and more.
  • Access all the sales assets- including videos, presentations, e-books, one-pagers, etc.
  • Practice sales scenarios on mock calls
  • Receive detailed feedback mock calls
  • Participate in role-plays and quizzes
  • Understand customer-focused approach
  • Start networking internally and externally

You must not forget, the first month is crucial. Reps and their respective managers must ensure productive use of the first 30 days. To ensure the best for your representative kindly add a few quick suggestions to your checklist:

  1. While you spend time on the 1st and 2nd points, don’t spend more than 40% of the ramp-up time on them. 60% of the time should be spent on understanding the sales process and coaching. 
  2. Another thing to note is, make all the sessions tighter and to the point. Let’s respect the time of your new reps even though they are working from home. The more productive the meetings would be, the better impression it leaves on the new candidate. 
  3. Record all sessions before onboarding and distribute and share the recordings. (Asking representatives to read and check first, ensures they are accountable and go through the material religiously.) Once the rep completes reviewing the session, it’ll be easier and more productive for both parties to engage on a call.
  1. Last but not least, quick advice coming from a sales expert.
"They gotta fail hard and fail fast"- 🔥 Tom Slocum, Co-founder and CRO at Outbound SOS

You SDRs must start early, get on cold calls, and get their hands dirty in the market. In the process,  they’ll make mistakes, experiment, and gather information valuable to them and the company. Isn’t this practically correct?

Sales coaching tips for your fully remote sales team

Picking up from the previous section. 

Once onboarded, it’s all a bed of roses for the rep. 

They sell, achieve targets, bring business, and shout cheers on a Friday eve. 

Is selling that simple? 

Quick reality bite:

Many companies are operating 100% remotely with more than 200 sales employees located across 3 continents. These sales employees are unlearning and learning new tricks to penetrate the market in the new normal, and that’s not all.

While some industries such as healthcare, chemicals, pharma are looking bright, others in the automotive, hospitality, etc., saw a significant drop in sales. 

Considering the difficulties reps face with the dynamic market circumstances, sales coaching can keep the process going. To make your learning experience easy, stick to the following best practices of sales coaching:

1. Ingrain Technology

“Sales teams that employ technology see an increase in revenue by up to (58%) sales opportunities by (54%) deal sizes (44%) and conversion rates up by (38%).”

Sales managers must encourage and implement the use of technology in all coaching sessions. Coaching itself should use a sales call recording software that reduces duplicate sessions and answers frequently asked queries. 

Managers must pull out time for recording demo(detailed walkthrough) sessions on helpful tech stacks such as:

  • Sales collaboration tool,
  • Call recording, 
  • Sales analytics, 
  • Training software,
  • Lead Generation,
  • Email Automation,
  • And CRM  

Tip: Only cater to additional questions on the tool; the first high-level demo should be accessible on a sales training software/ sales playbook.

2. Implement and reinforce sales processes

67% of lost sales resulting from sales reps not properly qualifying potential customers before taking them through the entire sales process.

Without a pre-defined structure or method, sales reps often find themselves directionless.

As recommended by sales gurus, work out a sales process highlighting areas like; 

  • Sales cycle
  • Lead Generation 
  • Negotiation
  • Customer Success
  • Deal closing exercise

And implement the process by reiterating and re-introducing the methods in the coaching sessions. Don’t let sales reps lose track of the sales process.

3. Encourage accountability and autonomy 

Can we deny the famous statement by management guru Peter Drucker - “What gets measured, gets managed.”?

Companies must invest in KPIs and goals, not just any measurable metric but one that’s thorough and offers clarity to your reps. 

Once goals are declared and announced, sales managers should spend time with reps to relay the goals and KPI’s in the right way. Managers should familiarize each rep to their goals and simultaneously draw a picture of goals at the top and bottom( to help them understand their value in the business growth).

Goal-oriented sales teams perform better and work autonomously. Teams are accountable as KPIs and goals are transparent across the organization(or across sales teams).

Quick Tip: Remote teams must meet daily/weekly for standups and discuss the achievement so far. The idea is not to punish them for low-performance but to identify bottlenecks to nip the problem in the bud.

4. Time utilization

According to Microsoft, Team chats have increased over 200% on weekends since the pandemic. 

Time utilization has been a concern area since ancient sales days. Yet, the rising waters of the pandemic have brought a unique kind of time management problem. Don’t you agree?

Yeah! The struggle is real and here to stay…

Or, at least for a while.

However, sales managers must attend to reps and solve a few issues, if not all. 

The first notable point is how good you are at sieving out opportunities off your plate. Managers must insist on good qualification practice during coaching sessions to ensure time utilization on the high probability sales accounts.

Considering the pressure and competition surrounding sales teams, training and learning take a back seat, and especially, new reps get slack in investing time on learning & development. Time utilization on learning and training activities should be communicated 365 days and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

And, finally, discourage work after work hours and instill more productive habits during the week. 

5. Regular feedback sessions

Periodic feedback on sales performance and subsequent improvement sessions is another essential aspect of sales coaching.

Managers can get a little relief with first-level feedback by leveraging the advanced feedback process of conversation intelligence software. 

The software offers call quality statistics such as talk ratio, interactivity, etc. And on the other hand, customizable feedback questions provide an intelligent way for sales managers to add their feedback, post-listening to call recordings. 

6. Sales playbook or repository

Design a sales playbook that captures sales best practices for a variety of potential sales situations. 

The playbook will be your rep’s only go-to material for all sales queries and assets. The good news is that not just sales but each customer-facing and other teams can use the sales playbook for reference and customer insights.

We’d recommend creating a digital call recorded playbook on the cloud and accessible to the entire organization.

Gather information from veterans, sales managers, senior sales management, top-performing reps, sales influencers, marketing team, and secondary research insights. 

Did we forget anyone?

7. Execute roleplays

One sales simulation technique that has proven to be successful and gathered a lot of attention in the last few years is sales scenario role play. Have you been part of one?

Managers must spend time executing scenario-based role-plays to give a taste of reality to the rep. 

Create role-play scripts around; 

  • Discovery, 
  • Elevator pitch, 
  • Virtual selling, 
  • Product/Service demo, 
  • Objection handling, 
  • Pricing discussion,
  • Negotiation, 
  • And Storytelling

Sales reps with good onboarding and coaching experience are better prepared to adapt to their new work environment and learn new systems. 

Staying invested in their career enhancement motivates them and controls the churn rate in the company.

From a solid onboarding process, salespeople can be confident. That builds leaders of tomorrow. In addition, a good onboarding and coaching process can act as a magnet for talented sales players in the market.

Did we leave an essential point?

We did!

Sales coaching and onboarding is no one-hit-wonder. You need to carry out similar sessions every month and sometimes weekly. 

Don’t just give feedback; receive feedback on your program. See what you could have done better or differently for your sales team.

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