In modern sales organisations, it's often that managers don't have daily face-to-face interaction with their sales staff. In fact, it's becoming increasingly common for teams to be distributed, and even in retail, regional managers may operate from one place while overseeing a number of store locations. But leadership and management is still as important as ever - so how do sales managers tackle the task of being everywhere at once and truly be able to lead their teams? They only need look to technology for the answer.
Be everywhere at once
Before the advent of technology, sales managers responsible for distributed teams spent a lot of time traveling between office locations or retail outposts. This added up to hundreds, if not thousands of wasted hours that could be spent on truly beneficial growth activities.
Thankfully, we now have ways to be everywhere at once. Inter-office communications platforms like Fuze or Slack have allowed efficient and effective meetings and check-ins with distributed teams without the need to be physically present.
Additionally, manual reporting used to be the norm for sales organisations, with physical print-outs or in-store programs being the only way for sales managers to see and keep track of performance data. Now, programs and platforms in the cloud allow for sales managers to analyze metrics - down to each team or location, or even individual results. The ability to handle data more easily and quickly is one of the best ways sales managers can use modern technology to understand their different teams' strengths, weaknesses, and needs.
Coach and make improvements from afar
Sales managers have the distinct challenge of needing to make sure their teams are excelling, and that's often done through goal setting and coaching. But while these activities seem so personal and distinct, how can you possibly achieve them while being remote? You just need the right tools.
Just as data tracking and analytics platforms can help you evaluate performance, the right tech can help you understand individual achievements and opportunities for inspiration and training for continued growth. Better yet, remote managers can use tech for actually facilitating coaching and training. It would be a mistake for remote leaders to avoid these crucial things simply because their teams are widely distributed.
Build trust and transparency - the stuff of leaders
It's shown that staff on the lower levels of hierarchy tend to lack trust of upper management when those managers spend little time within their actual associate ranks. With lack of transparency - and face time - organisations find it tough to show their sales staff that upper management actually cares about them as people. But real leaders know that trust and transparency can help improve workplace satisfaction, and is equated to true leadership.
All of the tools mentioned above - telecommunications, data analytics, and performance management and coaching platforms, help with trust and transparency - but so does having a tool that your staff is tuned into. It's all well and good for managers to understand performance behind closed doors and talk amongst themselves, but perhaps one of the best ways to improve long-distance leadership is by getting your staff involved too.
At the end of the day, sales managers of distributed teams are in a better position than they ever have been before. Thanks to technology, there's no excuse not to truly excel at leadership, and be able to be everywhere at once, facilitate improvements and coaching, and establish trust and transparency with all staff.
Want a tool that incorporates all of these important remote-leadership needs in one place? Request a demo of Goalplan today.