No matter if your company has a three-person sales team or you’re 3,000 strong, all leaders need to use different strategies to manage a successful sales team. However, leaders of field sales teams have some unique considerations.
Managing a successful sales team takes a lot of effort. You’ll need to be able to support your outside sales reps as they work hard to convert prospects to customers. This support can range from how you provide feedback to choosing the right field sales software. Let’s make sure that you have some tips up your sleeve to help you lead your sales team.
Difficulty of managing a remote sales team
Sales teams can vary from being an inside-based team who works out of an office, or a field-based team that primarily works remotely. In order to ensure that your remote team is successful, make sure they are set up for success and don’t feel isolated from the rest of the organization.
When managing a remote sales team, provide them with the right tools to complement their role. These can vary from software to hardware to established forms of communication. Also, You need to be as present for your remote sales reps as you would be for the rep that sits next to you in the office.
Something crucial to remember when managing a remote team is that you need to trust that they can get their job done. No one likes to be micromanaged, let alone from hundreds of miles away. Have faith in your reps.
7 strategies to managing a successful field sales team
1. Clear communication
Communication is crucial for managing any team, especially one that’s constantly on the road. In order to ensure that you are managing a successful sales team, establish an open line of communication between the team and yourself. Make sure that this open line of communication is also clear and concise. You don’t want to confuse your reps by providing conflicting information.
Additionally, your reps don’t want to feel left in the dark. Communicate all expectations and changes that may occur. Make communication a two way street on your team. In order for your team to be most successful, your reps should feel just as comfortable coming to you.
2. Give feedback often
An important strategy that you should implement to manage a successful field sales team is to give feedback often. You need to create a system of providing feedback in both formal and informal settings. Smaller feedback topics can be provided through instant messaging or walk-and-talks with your reps. If something is a bigger area that needs improvement, set up a one-on-one meeting to discuss this with your rep. Make sure your feedback is constructive and praises them for what they do well.
You should also be openly asking for feedback from your reps on your leadership style. This will help you identify what works, where you may be lacking in your leadership skills, and ideas that you can implement going forward.
3. Make use of project management tools
Organization is key for managing a successful sales team. It’s important to make sure that you have the tools and a system in place in order to ensure your account managers are staying on top of their expectations. Different project management tools can allow you to have greater visibility regarding their progress on tasks that you have assigned. Additionally, these tools can help make collaboration between different team members easier. Use technology to help simplify your rep’s experience and allow them to be more productive during their day.
4. Choose the right software
Your reps need to have the right software in order to be prepared for their role. Software impacts everything in a sales rep’s role, from appointment scheduling to customer relationship management (CRM) to time tracking. You’ll need to make sure that you are choosing software that aligns with the goals of the team and simplifies your employee experience. Good software can simplify your team’s experience, but bad software can lead to frustration within the role.
The most important software decision to make is what CRM program you’ll use to help your sales reps. CRM tools can help manage contact strategy and help reps prioritize accounts within their pipeline. In order to manage a successful sales team, choose tools that are designed with field-based teams in mind to your reps stay organized. This way, they can focus on selling and not the details behind the scenes.
5. Hire the right people + create relationships
Sales is all about choosing the right people who can turn your prospects into clients. When hiring new talent, make them aware of expectations, goals, and the details of the role. Additionally, hire people that have soft skills that you can’t teach. Choosing the right sales team is crucial for the growth and success of your team and organization.
Whether your sales team works together in the same office or your team works remotely, it’s important to foster relationships between the team. Have outings that encourage bonding. Sales is usually a competitive and individual-based career but, in order to have a successful team, your reps need to work together to reach quotas.
6. Consistent training
The best way to encourage improvement is to provide your sales reps with regular training. Training should be a regular part of the schedule so that your team can perform to the best of their ability.
Provide sales specific and company-specific training. Your reps need to be at the top of their game with product knowledge in order to best sell to different prospects. When they are up-to-date on industry-specific knowledge, help refine their selling techniques with sales-based training. The combination of these two will help lead to a more successful sales team.
7. Reward your reps
Everyone loves to be rewarded for doing a good job. When managing a successful sales team, reward them for achieving and surpassing their goals. This will lead to greater satisfaction in their role, and they’ll know you’re seeing the work they do.
How you reward your team is up to your discretion and based on your budget. Rewards can vary from small to very large. You can offer additional PTO, a free team lunch, or (if your budget allows) even a president’s club trip. See what leadership will allow you to offer and what motivates your team in order to best choose a reward.
In order to manage a successful field sales team, you want to empower them with tools and guidance to get the job done. Your team needs clear communication on goals and expectations, and be motivated with a competitive spirit needed to reach the goals. Push your team to be their best and you should see the results of their hard work.
Anastasia Masters is a Content Marketing Associate at G2.com. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in history. In her spare time, Anastasia enjoys eating her way through Chicago's different neighborhoods, exploring new places to visit across the globe, and watching college basketball.