Businesses may be starting to reopen and offices beginning to fill up again, but that doesn’t mean remote work is going anywhere anytime soon. Even if employers are ready to resume normal operations, their teams may not be: Buffer reports that some 98% of workers are interested in working remotely for at least part of the time for the remainder of their careers.
People in all types of roles need to adjust to remote work, but the urgency to do so is greatest for those in sales. No company can afford to see weakened flow in its sales pipeline, so the long-term transition to a remote sales job needs to be a seamless one. Here’s how you can make that happen yourself:
Know which medium of communication to use.
Business is communication is business — got it? Knowing how to communicate both within and beyond your company is crucial in every sales role, but navigating this remotely can be particularly challenging. Between Slack, email, Zoom, and talking on the phone, it can be next to impossible to know which conversations mandate which methods of communication. Making sure you have a broadband connection that can handle the volume you take on calls is important to good communication as well.
The key here is to keep track of which media work best with each of your contacts. While you may not be able to gauge a lead’s preference before you’re acquainted with them, make it a point in your first meeting to ask how best to get in contact with them. If you find that consistent communication becomes an issue later on, try incorporating automation into your processes through a document automation software like PandaDoc. Tools like that allow for a seamless pattern between operations, something particularly useful in a remote environment.
Sales isn’t just about what you say to potential clients; it’s also about how you say it to them and in what manner you choose to do so.
Establish a routine.
The office generally does a good job of creating and enforcing its own set of routines: it’s easy to arrive, depart, and eat lunch at regular times without hardly ever thinking about it. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for working remotely — it can be difficult to get into the groove of things when your commute is just a walk down the hallway.
One of the most powerful solutions in a routine establishment is keeping a schedule. Making a hard and fast schedule for yourself can simulate the office environment just about anywhere, and resources like HubSpot’s guide to creating a remote work schedule can help you do so. Even though sales can be highly dynamic, some additional structure can go a long way towards putting the “office” in your home office.
Create a “sales den.”
Once you’ve got a firm routine in place, it’s time to create a base of operations. While most salespeople will be comfortable engaging with clients just about anywhere, it’s still crucial to prevent your entire home from becoming part of your sales process.
Sales is a mindset as much as it is anything else, and so you need to be able to turn that mindset on exactly when it's required. Designating a specific room or part of your home as your “sales den” allows you to compartmentalize your work, preventing it from bleeding into your personal life and vice versa. Muddled sales work is bad sales work, so sequestering your space the right way here is crucial.
Manage your calendar.
In an office, missing a meeting or losing track of deadlines is no simple task — you’re surrounded by people following the same timetable. Once you take your work home, however, things can start to get jumbled. The last thing a salesperson needs is to skip an important call, making remote calendar management all the more crucial.
The first step is to sync all of your calendars together; you simply cannot risk overlooking something because your calendars are decentralized. It may sound difficult, but Apple, Google, and even LinkedIn all make it surprisingly easy. Beyond this, use tools or platforms that allow potential clients to select available times from your schedule to chat. By incorporating these times right back into your calendar, you’re maximizing flexibility with your clients and efficiency for yourself.
Take consistent breaks.
You know how easy it is to fall into the sales vortex: you feel like you’re on a roll, and so you start to massively overcrowd your plate with responsibilities. This may work in spurts and starts, but it’s light years away from sustainable.
Remote work can make intense over-investment much easier to fall into, but taking regular breaks can help prevent this from happening. The timing and length don’t matter as much as consistency does: forcing yourself to cool off a few times a day will afford you the time to step back and ensure that you’re doing your best work at no expense to your wellbeing.
The stakes are no lower in remote work than they usually are, meaning that you need to be prepared for the additional challenges that come with it. By striving for balance and consistency, you’ll be able to do just that.