How to Manage a Remote Sales Team Without Losing Your Sanity

Charley Mendoza
August 28, 2023
 min read

Let’s face it, managing a sales team is challenging enough with the quotas and different selling styles each team member brings. 

Add working remotely – or outsourced SDR – and it becomes much more challenging. 

As a sales manager, you’ll see your team less, have less contact and less oversight with their day-to-day work.  

While many sales managers think working remotely is a disadvantage in an industry that relies on socializing and in-person meetups, well-managed outsourced sales teams can be just as productive as on-site teams. 

Question is, how can you manage outsource sales efforts? How will it be different from a regular team of sales agents? 

The Zen Guide to Managing a Productive Remote Sales Team

1. Set Clear Expectations 

Making sure your remote sales closer or outsourced inside sales (whichever the case) knows exactly what's expected gives them a clear standard to follow, even if they’re not at the office.

To set your sales goals, start from the end of the sales process. 

How many deals does each team member need to close? What percentage of meetings lead to deals? From that number, how many cold calls, emails, or pitches do they need to make to book a meeting?

Expectations wise, it’s pretty much the same for an in-house sales team to a remote sales team or even an outsourced sales agent.

Once you have this information, you can set a goal for the number of inquiries each team member should make every day.

Build Trust

Good communication is crucial to build trust but it's twice as hard to do when you don’t see each other all day. 

Sales managers should arrange work hours so that they overlap, especially if your in-house and outsourced sales teams are spread out in different time zones and geographic areas. 

For instance, your work hours could overlap in the morning or late in the afternoon for a quick meeting or so that you can share progress, ask questions, and get real-time feedback.

Provide a Clear Sales Process for Remote and In-Person Selling

Regardless of industry, the typical stages of the sales process looks like:

  • Prospecting or researching leads
  • Connecting
  • Building rapport/relationships
  • Initial consultation
  • Presentation or demo based on uncovered needs
  • Addressing objections
  • Following-up
  • Closing

The specifics will vary depending on your company’s strategy and target clients, but the key point here is to define the steps included in each stage. 

Specifically, what does connect to a prospect mean for your outsourced SDR or remote sales representative? Is that a cold email, a LinkedIn invite, or connecting with someone you saw at a webinar? 

Next, is there a sales script that works with certain types of clients like a CMO or CFO for B2B? 

Lastly, which is more effective in your situation, a sales proposal or an online demo/presentation? 

Be very specific with the process they need to follow but don’t micromanage your sales agent to the point that it stifles creativity. 

Welcome suggestions on new tactics to try or allow them a certain leeway with a marginal number of leads. 

Many outsourced sales companies have multiple strategies that have worked for their own clients, so ask them about these too. You never know which tactics might work for your own team. 

Conduct Weekly 1-1 Meetings with each Sales Associate

Schedule regular one-on-one sales meetings with each of your team members as a regular part of your routine. Don't only schedule them when you see an issue.

Prepare specific topics for discussion that both you and the team member can contribute to, but also leave some time for casual conversation. 

Why weekly and why does it have to be 1-1 when you have weekly huddles with the whole team? 

This encourages individual team members to share their challenges and ideas with you, especially if they’re not confident enough to share with the whole team just yet.

These meetings will also build trust with your team, help you understand how they're doing with their work on an individual level, and know when they might need some extra help.  

Prevent Communication Silos with a Collaborative Atmosphere

Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work report showed that despite having online meetings, 52% of remote workers feel less connected to their team. 

managing outsourced sales teams

So while many companies incorporated technologies to help their remote sales teams, many fell short when it came to fostering frequent collaboration amongst team members. 

Walking the balance of encouraging collaboration, while avoiding micro-managing is hard but here are a few tips.

Create a multi-department channel

Prevent communication silos from forming with a multi-department messaging channel, to encourage people from sales, marketing, customer service, and even the product team to ask questions and get feedback for their initiatives. 

Yes, you need to include your outsourced SDR here too. Otherwise, you might have differences in protocols between your in-house team and your outsourced sales teams.

Doing this allows data and experience sharing and prevents loss of valuable feedback, such as when a remote sales representative doesn’t see the frequent problems new customers bring to customer service. 

Create a safe space

Nobody knows everything, even your most tenured sales agent. So make sure your outsourced SDR feels comfortable enough to ask questions to you and their co-workers. 

You can encourage this by posing questions yourself and asking even the new recruits to weigh in on the challenges of their team members. 

Don’t let anyone in your remote sales team get steamrolled, else they won’t feel like sharing next time. 

Let’s Build You a Remote Sales Powerhouse

The average salary to hire sales reps in the United States is about $51,000, while a business development associate makes about $73,000. 

Outsourced inside sales or outsourced SDR in the United States will cost roughly the same. 

Alt text: Average salary to hire sales reps or outsourced SDR

And that’s even if you hire outsourced sales teams working remotely from the comforts of their home. 

But what if you don’t have to spend that much without sacrificing your sales in the process? Learn how you can outsource sales by delegating to our experienced business development and inside sales representatives. 

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