All employees experienced extended WFH — a unique experience that allowed them to face the challenges (and joys) that were familiar to remote salespeople for many years. Remote sales jobs have an advantage over their office-bound counterparts by being able to master behaviors that may seem strange to them. Don’t panic if you are newly freed from your cubicle. You can survive and thrive in this new environment.
Here are some tips to help sales reps succeed remotely.
You may have heard the saying “No man is an island”. However, if you’ve ever worked in remote sales you know it’s false. Selling is by its nature lonely. Even if your support team is there, the final decision is up to you and the client. You should always be able to rely on your support team and accept all the help they can offer, but you also need to be able to provide your own support. This means mastering your sales process and becoming a digital kung fu black belt so that you can track your sales funnel, find and manage your online tools and, unless you are the lucky recipient of a strong lead-gen operation, find your targets.
Perhaps your “office” only consists of a phone and a laptop. Doesn’t matter. It is important to have a designated space for work. You can make it a small corner in your apartment. You might have a large walk-in closet you can repurpose. If you do have a spare bedroom, you should set it up with work tools. An ergonomic chair, a desk, and shelves for filing or holding notebooks. You’re working when you’re there. Don’t work if you aren’t there. This allows you to distinguish between personal and professional, and signals your brain to start rumbling when you enter the space.
A wise man once said that “All things being equal”, I would rather work next to my fridge.” Remote working usually means working remotely, with all the perks and pitfalls that comes with it. The first priority should be to reduce distractions. This is more difficult than it sounds. Our world is distracted by tweets, twangs and emails. Remote work can only increase the volume of emails, tweets, twangs, and messages. There are dogs barking at postal workers, doorbells ringing for deliveries, and children crying.
You should plan when you will be working, create a schedule, and follow it. It’s fine if it’s from 7 AM to 3 PM. It’s fine if it’s between 10 and 6 pm. You can make a commitment to stop making personal calls and emails during those hours. Also, you should not spend any time on social media or use the TV. Do not make playdates for your children or yourself during these hours. You can also be “off” when you aren’t there. Separate your professional and personal life. You’ll find it tempting to let work get in the way of your personal life. You can turn off the computer and go away if you have mastered the art of walking away from your desk. The laundry will be done tonight, when you return to the office.
At the same time, your cell phone can be both incredibly helpful and a major hindrance to your ability to get things done. Although it is convenient to have all your messages sent to one device, it means that you must at least glance at the screen whenever it bings. You might consider adding a work-only number to your phone and training everyone to call that number. You can set a unique ringtone or alert sound for this number. Train yourself to respond only to calls, texts, or emails sent to this number. You can manage the things that come to your personal phone during breaks, just like you would in an office environment. A majority of cell phone providers will add a line to your phone for $10 per month. This is a great way to increase your productivity.
The perfect process is the key to success
You don’t have to be dependent on others for the structure or process of your sales. Take control. You can only concentrate for a long time, probably over a weekend. Turn off all your devices. Take a seat on the outside patio. Take a notebook and a pen. Think about how you sell. Learn to maximize the potential of your CRM, such as Salesforce or Outreach. It will likely keep track of prospects, their progress in the sales funnel, and send out alerts. You can subscribe to it for $25/mo (Salesforce offers a single-seat option) or you can use another workflow tool to formalize the process digitally.
Stock the Shelves
Things are essential to your job. These include presentations, price lists and sell sheets. You can create your own central repository for these items if your company doesn’t have one. It could be a GoogleDrive folder or a shared DropBox. This will save you countless hours searching through random folders looking for the updated product specification sheet.
Multitasking is a myth: Master a single task
You should set aside time each day for the tasks you are involved in. While it is true that people may return calls made earlier in the day, don’t let this stop you from prospecting.