Here at Do You Convert, we were virtual before virtual was cool. We say that jokingly, but it’s true. Even before the whole world went virtual, it has been our model. Since 2009, we’ve been implementing, hiring, training, and coaching online sales specialists virtually. We also hire our own team for talent first, no matter where they’re located, and we manage them remotely.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with our friendJeff Shore to discuss managing remote salespeople. We explored how leaders can do more than just endure managing salespeople in a remote working environment. With a strategic hiring process, the right metrics, and proper accountabilities, your leadership and teams can thrive within a virtual model.
Online sales specialists, especially those who work remotely, require some specific skills to succeed. They should be hungry, self-directed, and highly responsive. When hiring an online sales specialist, leaders can use the actual hiring process to look for the skill sets needed for success.
At Do You Convert,we call it an audition. When we’re assisting homebuilders in hiring for the role, we use a step-by-step process that includes things like questionnaires and other tasks that require a prompt response. We put applicants through the gauntlet, and the hiring process has served us well.
We’re reviewing candidates primarily over email, phone, and video because that’s how they’ll be communicating with their customers. In the hiring process, they must be responsive, follow up quickly, get back to us, and complete the activities we send them. If not, they don’t make it through our process.
In addition, our fast-start training becomes their second interview, and we’ve had some people who wash out. If they don’t complete the self-paced course on their own or won’t provide us the feedback required, we hit eject early instead of dealing with it six months down the road.
Leaders can set up their online sales specialists, particularly new hires, for success by focusing on the behaviors and metrics that matter most in the role. If you only look at the outcome, which for online sales would be appointments, and not how they got there, you’re relying on a result that could be supported by outside forces such as a hot community or a hot market. You could incorrectly assume the online sales specialist is succeeding in their role, but if they aren’t following the specific things that get us to that outcome, changes in the community or market could affect everything.
In the online sales world,we look at metricsthat include call answer rates, response times, open or overdue activities, and conversion metrics, including conversions on lead to response, to appointment, to conversion, to sale, or to kept appointment. We look at those indicators like gauges on a car.
As leaders, we have way too many leads to go through one by one. We have to start first with a quantitative analysis, and then deep dive into the qualitative side of things if we see issues with any one of those metrics.
We can’t always rely on face-to-face interactions with our team to understand how they’re doing on a more personal level. How are your team members holding up mentally? Are they overwhelmed? Are they engaged and performing at a high level? The CRM can serve as a powerful indicator of where your employees are, and we can learn to leverage those indicators.
If you’re finding that leads aren’t making it into the system and the CRM isn’t being utilized, that’s an immediate indicator that you either have too many people coming in or your online sales specialist is distracted or has some other issue in the role. If traffic looks slow but sales are where they need to be, you need to dig deeper and address the issue.
We often talk about CRM obedience. We’re looking at what happens when someone walks in the door or calls you. Is the online sales specialist complying with what we’re asking them to do? They should be accountable for inputting leads and complete details in the system immediately–without challenge or complaint.
Sales leaders need to assess whether they have CRM obedience from their team. In today’s market, we don’t always have that. Those things are quick indicators that you can analyze on a daily or weekly basis.
Leading a remote team comes with a unique set of challenges, but when you use a strategic hiring process, analyze the right metrics, and set proper accountabilities, your virtual team will thrive and exceed expectations.