Communication is key for any business, but especially if you have a remote sales team. Here are some tips for boosting communication that will ultimately boost business.

A recent Gallup poll shows that 31% of Americans are working remotely for 80-100% of their work days. That’s a lot more time than people spent out of the office even just five years ago.

A remote sales team may be one of the biggest reasons. We always say that sales is about building relationships, and you can build a more effective relationship out in the field than you can from a cubicle.

And with the advent of so much new technology, many companies have at least one remote sales team that spans national or even global networks.

However, relationships within a remote sales team are just as important as the relationships they build with their clients. And good relationships are founded first and foremost on communication.

Let’s look at some ways that you can foster greater communication amongst sales teams that sit in different parts of the country or world.

remote sales team

6 Ways to turn your remote sales team into a powerhouse

1. Virtual meetings

Ten years ago, virtual meetings were a nightmare. Video feeds lagged, audio feeds cut out, conference dial-ins were mismatched. Much of that has changed. Technology exists now that enables virtual meetings to happen almost as smoothly as a group meeting in the boardroom. Take advantage of this technology and hold weekly catch-ups with your remote sales team. This not only helps to put everyone on the same page strategically, but it also allows everyone to interact and see each other’s faces, which is more significant than it may seem in fostering healthy communication.

And when the temptation comes to cancel a meeting for something else, make it a different meeting! Consider this one indispensable.

2. In-person interactions

While virtual meetings are great, a remote sales team will do even better if each member has a chance to meet the others face-to-face, even if only for a meal. Whenever one or more of your team will be in the same city as another member, arrange for them to have lunch or dinner, even if it’s a vacation for one of them. If the company pays, most won’t mind a social get-together, and you’ll probably find that they’re even eager to meet if they haven’t already.

3. Interstate/International buddy system

Another idea for remote sales team communication is to pair up team members in different locales and ask them to have a weekly 15-minute catch-up over the phone or webcast. They can talk numbers, new clients, difficulties, or even about things unrelated to work. Doing this improves the relationship between them, which should naturally translate to improved communication.

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4. Team technology

Systems like Slack, Skype, and Google Hangouts are ideal for facilitating greater remote sales team communication. Slack in particular features things like searchable file sharing and collaborative subgroups, which makes it an excellent tool for sales people on-the-go.

Slack also comes optimized for dozens of useful and entertaining bots that you can use for everything from task reminders to privacy checks and more. While most are intended as serious applications, some of the bots can create a bit of fun in the office without steering everyone off the course of their jobs.

5. Annual outing

While not always possible, an annual outing is a great way to build relationships between distant team members. If the entire remote sales team can spend a weekend doing team building activities, like rock climbing, white-water rafting, or simply enjoying one of the cities or towns a team member works from, you’ll not only nurture cohesion, but you’ll also make the team members more relatable to one another. Expose members to the different places where they live and work, and each one will gain a new perspective of their distant co-workers—and they won’t feel so distant anymore.

6. Performance driven contests

If there’s one thing that all salespeople have in common, it’s the desire to achieve. Competition can be a healthy and fun way to facilitate achievement, especially if you get the whole team involved. Hold a monthly performance-based contest, with ongoing results sent to team members on a weekly or even daily basis. The differences in numbers are bound to breed conversation, which will get members of a remote sales team talking across state and country lines.

The trick here, of course, is to make the contest innocuous enough that it doesn’t foster hostility, but with salespeople, that’s not usually a danger. Most of them enjoy the competition and find the process more entertaining than the result, even if they win.

lead-managerlead-managerSearching for the ideal tool to manage customer relationships? Blitz has you covered. Schedule a free demo and we’ll show you how!

Have you managed a remote sales team? What advice would you give for improving communication? Tell us your ideas in the comments below.