Maybe COVID-19 turned your sales team into a remote sales team. Or maybe you were working remotely, to begin with. So why isn’t your sales playbook a remote-friendly one?
Even before the pandemic, the remote work trend was on the rise. The number of people working remotely at least once a week grew by 400% since 2010, says a report from Slack and Hubspot, and a full 99% of people say they’d choose to work from home at least some of the time if it were up to them. Supporting remote employees is more than meeting a short-term need. It’s preparing for a long-term shift.
Remote selling is a different game, though. It requires different skills, different tools, different communication, and different goals. Still, it can be just as effective – and your team can be just as productive – if you support your team the right way.
Build a playbook that’s truly remote-friendly
So what is your current sales playbook missing? What does your remote sales team need from it most? Ask yourself these five questions to find out if your current playbook is up to snuff.
1) Is your playbook in a remote-friendly format?
Goodbye, physical binder that sits on someone’s desk in the office. So long, massive PDF document that never gets updated. Sayonara, disorganized shared drive stuffed with files no one can actually find. The best remote playbook is one where everyone on your team can access your sales knowledge equally, when they need it, on the device of their choice.
Technology is a big part of that puzzle. Cloud-enabled software means reps don’t need to be in the office to pull up your sales process or customer stories. But going deeper than a shared drive, your remote playbook also needs to make that information fast easy to find, because it’s just not as easy to ask around when everyone’s working from home.
Our advice: Look for something cloud-based that integrates with the systems you have to pull it all together in one source.
2) Does your playbook include remote selling techniques?
Not every rep on your team will start out as a remote selling superstar – perhaps not even your top performers. After all, building a relationship face-to-face just isn’t the same as building a relationship virtually. For some, it’ll take a bit of time and work to master the skills of the work-from-home trade. Support those skills in your playbook, though, and you give all your reps a strong starting point.
Check to see if your playbook is missing topics like these, or if they could use some shoring up now that they’re an everyday reality:
- Social selling: On its own, it’s a powerful selling tool. Now, however, it’s more important to tap into social networks and messaging apps as in-person opportunities and events are at a standstill.
- Video selling: Show your reps the ins and outs of using video conferencing to sell in place of in-person settings, and how to make video recordings a vital part of their prospect outreach and communications.
- Email communications: Your reps probably use email on the daily anyway, but remote teams rely on it more often, usually with specific cadences and templates.
- The virtual buying process: Just as your reps aren’t selling the same way, your prospects aren’t buying the same way. Put yourself in their shoes and align your selling process to the new buying reality.
- Remote selling examples: Ask your top remote reps to record their demos and calls, and share their templates and videos, to inspire and guide others on your team.
Our advice: Make sure to incorporate these tactics into every stage of your sales process so reps know how they fit into your overall strategy.
3) Is your playbook fully collaborative?
Social distancing shouldn’t mean reps are socially clocked out. You’re probably already using a chat platform like Slack to stay in touch with your remote team, and maybe even booking a little time in your calendars for a team coffee break or happy hour. But how are reps connecting with each other for sales tips and sharing resources? Probably chat or email.
The problem with that: email is closed off to the rest of the team, and chat conversations get lost (or forgotten). By enabling and encouraging reps to share their best ideas, content, and experiences directly in your playbook, though, you give them space to make a direct impact on your team’s success – plus the satisfaction of personally contributing to the best playbook you can build.
Our advice: Sharing is easy once it’s part of your team culture. Lead the way by setting an example yourself, and find some early adopters on your team who are excited to do the same.
4) Does your playbook measure what works (and what doesn’t)?
When you’re together on the sales floor, it’s easier to gauge what sales tactics are working and which are falling flat. Those impromptu conversations, even listening in on the activity, can give you some valuable insights. Unfortunately, there’s no remote equivalent, so you’re left either asking your reps directly or waiting for them to tell you.
Now imagine your playbook can tap into their experience to measure which should stay and which need some revamping (or need to go entirely). What templates actually work? What tips are reps actually using? A PDF document won’t tell you that. Neither will your shared drive. A smart remote playbook, however, can provide insights into which specific pieces get the most mileage, and which reps love the most.
Our advice: Full analytics can take your playbook from good to great, so look for a platform that can give you the insights you need to enable your reps’ success.
5) Does your playbook help your team make the transition?
How does remote work actually… work? Balancing work and home when work happens at home is hard, we know. If your reps are struggling with the tough realities, consider creating an entirely new section of your playbook that includes tips like:
- How to set a schedule and maintain a routine
- How to organize your at-home workspace for distraction-free productivity
- How to kick the sweatpants cycle and dress up for work-from-home
- How to take breaks and stay social with a remote team
- What your company’s work-from-home guidelines look like, and what your team expectations are
Our advice: You can create an entirely new “tips for working from home” playbooks to help your reps cope with the transition to remote work – and we’ve seen it work wonders!
Remote selling FTW
Remote work can be challenging at first. But through the support you give your reps and the playbooks you create, you can stay connected as a team, keep collaborating as a team, and – most importantly – grow as a team.