Sales Operations plays an essential role in growing companies. In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, Sales Operations is expected to help their organization make data-driven decisions and find solutions to optimize sales processes. Sales Operations leaders are responsible for using the best methods and technology to build a structured workflow that will help Sales reps succeed and drive the company’s revenue and growth forward.
There is an obvious business case for building remote sales. Primarily it reduces the overhead costs of running a larger office space, such as real estate, equipment, supplies, and parking.
Research from Harvard Business Review also states that the recent trend of ‘open plan’ offices has created a deficit in productivity, meaningful interaction, and employee enjoyment.
The clear upside for building a remote sales team is that you can employ expert sales executives who don’t necessarily live within your commuter area. Your company is able to cast a wider net, and support not only inside sales but also outside sales that can operate across a range of customer time zones.
7 Pillars of Building a Remote Sales Team
When building a remote sales team there are core building blocks that you need to consider and establish. Here are 7 pillars that you need to build an effective remote sales team:
- Sales Process SLA
- Effective Guided Selling
- Sales Content and Resources
- Deal Collaboration
- Buyer Engagement Tracking and Insights
- Overcome the Challenges of Legacy Sales Stacks
- Use a Deal Acceleration Platform to Unify Sales
Sales Process SLA
In the digital age of the Experience Economy, the way that we make a buyer feel at every step in the customer journey is more important than before. In fact, B2B can take a great deal of learning from the experience economy of B2C Brands like Amazon lead the way in personalization and remember all of your buyer preferences and interests so they can provide relevant recommendations.
Your buyers are purchasing from multiple vendors across multiple product categories at one time. You are competing against product competitors as well as ‘experience competitors’.
These 4 sales process best practices should be present in your sales process and practiced by every member of your sales team:
1. Fast Response Times
In Inbound Marketing it has been established that an SDR needs to respond to an inbound lead in less than 5 minutes to give your sales organization the best chance at progression. As this image shows 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first. With this understood, you can see that responsiveness should be ensured at every stage of the sales cycle, all the way to close. Your win rates depend on this.
Marketing sets the precedent for delivering personalized content, and the sales team is expected to continue this level of personalization throughout the buyer journey. To be most effective, you must have a scalable method for guiding reps in segmenting their content for their specific buyer use-case and vertical.
3. On Brand
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions reports that a company that invests only in acquisition will achieve a marketing conversion rate of 0.2%. A company that invests in brand and acquisition will achieve a marketing conversion rate of 1.2%.
We know that current B2B buyers fall into three generational archetypes: Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. While each of them is motivated by different drivers, the common ground is that they expect a consistent experience when buying from your sales team.
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The best way to control that Brand experience is to create a sales proposal process that is guided, controlled, and measurable. The more familiar and consistent the brand touchpoints are the more someone is willing to pay, according to research by Niklas Persson on people’s willingness to pay more if they have a strong brand experience.
4. Include a Complete Sales Proposal
Companies typically send out a new email for each and every sales stage in the funnel to update the buyer with the necessary sales collateral to move forward. In some cases, if there has been a lag in email frequency, or the email is unclear, the buyer will respond back with parallel breakout threads. Then the onus is on the buyer to consolidate that story into one document that can be shared with the stakeholder committee which consists typically of 5 to 7 people.
Compare that to the ‘new way’ of sending a sales proposal, where every asset from qualification stage to close is included in one personalized DealRoom which includes Configured Price Quotation, Contract Redlining, Personalized Sales Content, Terms and Conditions, Forms, and e-Signature. When you are competing on buyer experience this is a compelling differentiation between you and your competition.
Effective Guided Selling
To ensure that you quickly ramp up all of your sales team and new hires, you need a Guided Selling Playbook embedded within your CRM to standardize your sales process and make success repeatable.
Essentially this guides each salesperson through a series of qualification questions with conditional answers. For example:
- Are you selling in multiple geographies?
- What is the size of your company?
- How many years would you like to subscribe for?
The advantage of guided selling as a method of effective sales enablement is achieving faster time to market, and reducing all of the associated costs of continuous training. The secondary benefit of guided selling is the sales automation doing the repetitive tasks for the sales executive, which reduces the administrative burden and returns focus to the sales relationship.
Sales Content and Resources
The sales content that you select and include in your sales proposal should achieve two primary goals:
- To give your buyer a consistent and complete narrative as to why your solution is the best fit for their needs.
- To enable your buyer to share your value proposition in context with their stakeholder committee, who may have very limited context as to what is different or better about your offering. This may be the best time to include a customer testimonial, and reaffirm that other companies with a very similar use-case have already bought from you and thrived as a customer.
If your company features on leader Grids like Gartner or G2 Crowd you can also position that achievement in your sales proposal as a benchmark. As Marc Benioff once said, “eventually great features will be copied and the only thing that can truly differentiate you is ‘trust.’”
When you create sales proposals it requires the input of multiple business stakeholders.
✅ Marketing curates the content
✅ Sales Operations manages both the connectivity between multiple pieces of technology and the process
✅ Sales approves the margins, contract, and overall proposal document
✅ Finance approves the margins
✅ Legal approves the contract redlining and the terms of commitment
The most efficient way to gain workflow approvals quickly is to segment the permissions from each area of business outside of sales so that they only receive the information that is subject to their approval.
If you have used sales engagement software then you know that it is possible to track email open rates, etc. This is not the same as Buyer Engagement tracking for the deal closing process. The type of Buyer Engagement that we are referring to here is more sophisticated than the ability to track the engagement of hidden stakeholders in the buyer committee and get real-time alerts when a sales proposal is actively moving forward.
As soon as the sales proposal is e-signed this will automatically update the sales opportunity in your CRM to reflect the new closed/won status. Marketers use Buyer Intent as a means to lead generation. It stands to reason that sales professionals equally need to track buyer-intent signals for opportunities so that they can forecast with confidence – a confidence that is rooted in real-time engagement to close.
If you were delivering a proposal in field sales you would read the body language of the buyer. In the digital economy, you are able to read the digital body language of each buyer by using real-time alerts to gauge their engagement.
Overcome the Challenges of Legacy Sales Stacks
If you have inherited a legacy sales stack that has multiple sales tools – then you are probably duplicating your spend on tools that overlap. The fundamental issue is that not every tool is designed to work with your remote sales workflow.
When to Invest in a Deal Acceleration Platform for Your Remote Sales Team
Go through this mental checklist to determine whether it’s the right time to invest in the most innovative platform to enable your Remote Sales team. Here are 10 reasons why now is the right time:
✅ Consolidate sales stack spend by retiring unnecessary legacy tools
✅ Reduce sales rep administration
✅ Reduce sales cycle duration
✅ Control unnecessary additional margin discounts
✅ Improve win rates
✅ Improve buyer experience
✅ Control your brand identity
✅ Synchronize all documents and quotes into your CRM
✅ Differentiate yourself in a competitive market
✅ Leverage buyer intent signals to improve forecasting
Watch this one-minute video to see exactly what this looks like: