I have more remote sales experience than most (I started working from home as an individual contributor in 2003). I’ve also managed dozens of remote sales reps over the years, and I’ve learned some valuable lessons about what works and what doesn’t. The good news is that research shows that remote work makes you more productive: businesses lose $600 billion a year to workplace distractions, and that remote workers are 35% to 40% more productive than their in-office counterparts. But if you manage your time, space and expectations, you can grow your productivity (and overall wellbeing) even more.
Here of some of my top tips for working in a remote sales job:
Have a dedicated workspace.
If possible, have a dedicated workspace free from the distractions and noise of the everyday household. I even know some people who work out of their closet because it’s the quietest place in the house. If you don’t have a door that you can close, assign an area of the house to be your workspace during certain hours of the day. It’s important to carve out office borders that you can call your own so that when you step into this space, you get into a work mindset.
Communicate with everyone in your remote workspace.
In a remote sale job, it’s important to tell everyone who lives or spends time in your direct workspace what your schedule looks like. Some spouses who work from home will create an online calendar with their schedule (and the kids’ schedules) so they know when the other absolutely cannot have distractions or interruptions. A little advance planning will go a long way.
Develop a routine.
It’s critical to develop a routine and stick to it. When you work from home, it’s easy to slip back into the office for a few more emails, but how does that impact time with family or significant others? Time can seem to go by in a flash in a remote sales job, so be sure to structure your day accordingly. Create start and end times for specific projects, lunch breaks, call blocks, etc.
Over communicate with everyone on your sales team.
It’s hard to develop and foster professional relationships over the phone, so when working remote, you have to go the extra mile. Productivity improves by 20 to 25% in organizations with connected employees. This starts with over communicating with your colleagues. Take the initiative to schedule a virtual happy hour and coffee break with your sales team. If you’re a sales manager, gamify your team’s day by scheduling regular contests with your sales team. Schedule group training sessions to discuss best practices, new sales tools, and other updates to help your team thrive.
Listen in on other calls and demos.
When you’re in remote sales, it’s easy to get used to your own “best practices” and stop growing as a sales professional. Since you are working remotely, you don’t have as much ability to learn from others and evolve your practices. Go out of the way to listen in on your colleagues calls or call recordings. You will pick up talk tracks, competitive differentiation, objection handling, and other skills that you would otherwise miss.
Don’t skip training sessions.
Training is critically important to sales professionals. It’s tough to train remote workers, and it’s very tough for remote workers to pick up new training (that’s why organizations with a robust onboarding process improve productivity by more than 70%. So if your company is offering remote sales training, be sure to participate on the calls and demos.
Set small goals.
It can be hard to stay sharp throughout the day. Setting small goals is a good way to break up the monotony of the day at home (something the commute, coffee breaks and lunch breaks typically do at an office). Small goals can be something as simple as, “I’m going to make 20 calls before 11:00am, and then I’ll step outside for some fresh air.” Studies have found that small goals also add up to big success. setting goals increased performance and productivity 11 to 25%.
Finally, if you work in a remote sales job, don’t forget take breaks. Reward yourself. It’s not a waste of time; small rewards can actually be the best use of your time.
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