Three Do's and Don'ts of Coaching a Remote Sales Team

by Alex Eckhart- Sales Roads | October 2, 2020

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Synopsis

When it comes to sales coaching not all work environments are made equal, and with remote work here to stay in one form or another, sales leaders are being forced to adapt.  Here are Three Do’s and Don’ts of sales coaching in a remote environment. 

  • Don’t Forget About Body Language 
  • Do Take It Live 
  • Don’t Provide Late Feedback
  • Do Use The Right Tools
  • Don’t Wing It

Remote Work

The sudden, mass transition to remote work has emerged as a highly-debated outcome of the COVID19 outbreak. The magnitude of the transition is underscored by a recent survey on the SaaS industry which was reported by Business Insider

 

The survey, conducted by Lead Generation Service, SalesRoads, found that 60.2% of respondents reported at least half of their sales team was working from home. In addition, another 78.7% thought at least part (26% or more) of their sales team would work remotely on a permanent basis. Finally, the same survey found an overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) are more likely to consider remote work in the future. 

 

Put together, the results of this research strongly suggest remote selling, in one form or another, is here to stay. Although the implications of a broad, permanent shift to remote selling are wide-ranging, a clear and immediate area of concern is sales coaching. Regardless of your individual preferences for office or remote work, there is ample evidence to suggest that a portion of the sales force will continue to work remotely. With that in mind, here are three do’s and don’ts of sales coaching in a distributed environment. 

Don't Forget About Body Language

If you’re coaching an inside sales rep who sells predominately over the phone, it may not immediately occur to coach body language — Even more so if the rep you are coaching isn’t in the same room, or is in another part of the country altogether! 

 

But just because it isn’t visible doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Body language has a major impact on communication regardless of whether it can be seen by the listener. 

Do Take it Live

It has been demonstrated that immediate reinforcement creates stronger behavioral changes in people. In other words, providing immediate coaching is more likely to create positive change than providing delayed feedback. Although delayed coaching is better than no coaching, experts agree, the sooner the better

 

So, if you want to provide the most impactful coaching session you can, it has never been easier to use live video conferencing to listen in on a call and provide the immediate feedback your reps crave.

Don't Provide Late Feedback

Notwithstanding the strong evidence shared above to support immediate coaching, there are other,less scientific reasons to avoid delayed coaching sessions. For one, an inside sales reps who places 100 or more calls a day is likely to forget the specifics of a singular call from two weeks ago. Likewise, providing significantly delayed feedback communicates a lack of urgency on behalf of the coach which will negatively affect agent participation. 

Finally, and perhaps most damagingly, your sales rep may be repeating the same mistake over and over, increasing the likelihood it becomes an ingrained habit. 

Do Use the Right Tools

For too long there has been a popular misconception that “sales can’t be coached.” Fueled by a lack of transparency into the sales process and the individual conversations that comprise it, we now have the tools to take a data-driven approach to sales coaching. 


Wouldn’t it be great to quantify seemingly subjective feedback such as talk speed? Well, now you can. Especially true for remote sales teams in which the reps spend significant time working on their own, investing in the tools that can supplement live-coaching is a must.

Don't "Wing-It"

Would you consider buying from a salesperson who showed up to your appointment unprepared? Probably not. This rings true for your coaching sessions as well. Showing up late, unprepared, or without something substantive to coach sets an entirely wrong example for the rep. 

 

It might be common sense, but showing up prepared takes on extra importance for distributed teams as you won’t have the benefit of seeing your rep around the office to build trust or reinforce positive techniques, so, make every minute count. 

 

At the end of the day, sales professionals everywhere are beginning to express an interest in working remotely and as technological advancements make it increasingly possible, investing in quality remote coaching techniques is a sure-fire way to stay ahead of the #WFH coaching curve. 

A nationally leading SDR as a Service Firm, SalesRoads, provides unparalleled sales research and demand generation support for its partners. SalesRoads’ research and thought leadership has earned major media attention with recent coverage in publications such as Inc.,Entrepreneur, and Business Insider.