A young, smiling woman uses a computer to participate in a virtual meeting.
Listening to your sales team and practicing with new tech tools will set your remote sales team up for success. — Getty Images/Vadym Pastukh

Now more than ever, B2B sales teams are working remotely. Companies are integrating hybrid work settings, as well as offering more flexible remote working options for their employees. These initiatives are changing how businesses conduct sales meetings and close deals.

Businesses with a remote sales team need the right B2B sales tools that give them a competitive edge and keep leads moving through the pipeline. Here’s an overview of ideal B2B sales tools for remote teams and how they can support your sales efforts.

[Read more: Roadmap For Rebuilding: Growing Your Sales]

B2B sales tools for remote workers

A solid sales team uses many tools to increase their chances of boosting their numbers. With today’s remote workforce, investing in sales tools that help you provide your prospects a personalized, engaging experience is worth the investment. If you haven’t already, consider investing in these types of sales tools to help your remote salespeople thrive:

  • CRM software. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is the most vital investment a business can make for their sales team. CRM software is simple to use and can house your customer and business data, track customer interactions, and integrate many vital sales tools — such as your website, social media profiles, emails and other marketing materials — all in one place. Some of the best available CRM software are HubSpot CRM, Salesforce CRM and monday.com CRM.
  • Marketing automation software. Marketing automation software helps companies streamline the marketing process by managing daily tasks — such as sending emails, creating social media posts and tracking B2B lead generation activities — and creates targeted marketing strategies based on the performance data of previous marketing efforts. Some marketing automation software options available include Marketo, HubSpot Marketing and ActiveCampaign.
  • Video conferencing software. Video conferencing software makes it easy for team members to connect and have virtual interactions; however, with so many options, it can be a challenge to know which works best for your team. Some of the options available include Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet and Skype.
  • Scheduling apps. Rather than wasting time emailing back and forth with prospects about meeting availability, a scheduling app can streamline the process by creating a scheduler link you can send to prospects so they can choose the date and time that works best for them. Scheduling software like Calendly and Chilipiper can integrate with your calendar and be embedded easily on your website.
  • Social media selling apps. Social media is a great marketing tool that can increase awareness of your products or services and connect with your target audience. Now, social media has a new use for your sales team: social selling. With the right strategy, social media selling apps — such as Nimble, LinkedIn Sales Navigator and IFTTT (If This Then That) — can help your sales team convert your company’s social media followers into customers.

Listen to your team and to feedback on meeting frequency. Make space in 1:1s and team meetings to understand what balance looks like for your team, but also have opportunities to solicit anonymous feedback.

Colin O’Neill, director of sales at Textio

Training and managing your remote sales staff

Once you’ve chosen your B2B sales tools, use these tips to get everyone on the same page with your remote sales process.

Develop and practice virtual pitches and sales processes

Practice makes perfect, and a vital part of training your sales team should include having your salespeople run “practice” video pitches to hone their virtual sales skills. This is especially important if your sales team is used to pitching in person.

If your company sells a product, Miranda Yan, founder of VinPit, advised preparing a virtual product demo that your sales team can easily customize to use to reach customers effectively.

“The process will involve personalizing [the demo],” said Yan. “This can be done by sending welcome messages with different offers. This should be followed by a proper follow-up call, message or mail. Providing the prospect with enough knowledge is also an excellent way to grab their attention.”

[Read more: Using Sales Prospecting to Grow Your Business]

Host regular meetings to get everyone on the same page

Like any remote team, communication and collaboration are the keys to ensuring everyone on your sales team understands the expectations, goals, challenges and procedures involved with remote selling. Connect with employees on a regular basis via video check-ins so your sales team can stay up to date and track their progress.

“You have to stay on top of your team with daily check-ins and Zoom meetings,” said Zoriy Birenboym, CEO of eAutoLease.com and eAutoCollision.com. “Not everyone can function from home like they can in an office environment. They have to be monitored and motivated to make this work.”

That being said, it’s important to check in with your team to ensure you’re hitting the right cadence of communications and not contributing to “Zoom fatigue.”

“Most of the work we do in sales is already through Zoom, so understanding what the meeting threshold is for your team is tough to determine,” Colin O’Neill, director of sales at Textio. “Listen to your team and to feedback on meeting frequency. Make space in 1:1s and team meetings to understand what balance looks like for your team, but also have opportunities to solicit anonymous feedback.”

Establish boundaries for work-life balance

Most members of a remote team will be working in their homes, which means the lines between personal and work time will likely get blurred. Yan noted that maintaining work-life balance was the biggest challenge for her team when they first went remote.

“We were unable to define our working hours precisely and it ended up making most of the team members working all day long,” she told CO—.

That’s why leaders of a remote team must set clear boundaries from the beginning. Make sure employees know when they are expected to be active and working, and when they’re off the clock, respect those boundaries. If, as a leader, you are not sending and responding to emails or questions after hours, it sends a message that your employees are not expected to, either.

Recognize and empower your team

Authentic, meaningful employee recognition can be challenging in a fully-remote environment, but it also opens up the door for multiple avenues of recognition, said O’Neill.

“Figuring out a balance of rewards that can be enjoyed privately and as a team is important,” he said. “Create opportunities for free coffee, food/beverage delivery or expensed meals allows reps to enjoy at their own leisure. Additionally, doing team events … [like] group Zoom lunches, dinner/cocktail making classes or games while you're all together on video should be a priority.”

These types of activities can build the rapport and trust that are essential for a sales team's performance.

“A disinterested sales staff is a loss-making one,” said Stacey Kane, business development lead at EasyMerchant. “Managers must demonstrate trust in their teams by minimizing micromanagement. Employee autonomy provided by flexible remote work is an opportunity for managers to show that they are empowered to execute their tasks without micromanagement. Employees will feel empowered despite the distance as a result of this.”

[Read more: How to Build a Strong Sales Team for Your Business]

Remember the basics of good selling

No matter what tools your sales team uses to connect with prospects, it’s important to always remember the basics of good selling: listening to your customers and prospects. It’s important to understand how your customers are adjusting to post-pandemic life and what their new pain points are.

After listening to their concerns and deeply understanding the issues they face, explore how you can support them moving forward. The key is to understand when to listen, when to sell and how to transition between those two states smoothly.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published July 27, 2021