4. March 2021 Blog

Get your remote sales team ready for 2021 with this checklist

A New Year means new challenges and opportunities. Learn from this checklist what you should focus on in 2021 to make your remote sales team unbeatable in the next months.

The last months were full of challenges and uncertainty. We’ve all had to change our daily habits and submit them to the new demands that have been put in front of us.

Not only individuals, but businesses too are hoping for a bit more calm in the following year. It would be an understatement to say that 2020 was harsh for many companies. Switching to remote work was just one of the main trends forced on brands by the new reality, yet probably the most important.. 

Thanks to sufficient support from software systems and onboarding workshops, the transfer could be smoother. It seems that a hybrid workflow is here to stay with us.

What are some other predictions for 2021, and how can your team get ready for the coming year?

How 2021 might affect the sales industry

Before we move on to things that you can do as a remote sales team leader, let’s harvest the most probable predictions for the following year. In 2020 some companies have shrunk in size, while others that were able to adapt to the new reality have maintained their positions. Some of them even took advantage of the situation.

We’ve carried out thorough research on new methods businesses can follow in the coming months to make the most of such possibilities. You can read these forecasts in a nutshell below.

A future-faced approach highlights remote and hybrid work

First and foremost, you should prepare yourself (and your whole company) for the fact that the distanced work models will remain.

According to Forrester’s guide, remote work will increase permanently, even up to a whopping 300% of the pre-pandemic level. This change will influence hiring systems and reshape talent acquisition.

Companies will have the possibility to focus on talent poaching, as the distance will no longer be a barrier. 53% of those who maintained their job positions during the pandemic also support the idea of more work-from-home days.

Key insights for inside sales teams

What exactly are inside sales? They occur when company reps take end-to-end care of leads and convert them into customers from a distance, instead of face-to-face. This selling method might be dominant for your remote sales team, so it’s worth learning from the tactics of such a business model.

Forrester’s study shows that automation and Artificial Intelligence solutions will be implemented in many companies. 35% of brands will double down on these options. This will put sellers on a path to fulfilling their consultative destinies and focusing more on clients than formal processing itself.

Online as a new habitat

The fact that the Golden Days of offline shopping are over is probably your most significant advantage. Consumer behavior wouldn’t return to the past again either, as many clients have shifted to digital stores and services.

The role of a call center is becoming more significant than ever. Customer service in terms of consulting and support is an essential part of any users' online activity. As people are getting used to shopping from home, they won’t lose interest in online purchasing even after the pandemic eases.

More customer service and sales online handled by remote teams

That's not the end. Both of those upcoming trends relate to the development of changes that have already been made. It means that, with a rise in demand for online sales meetings and remote customer service solutions, remote tools will become increasingly necessary.

Platforms that help both your team and client make collaboration seamless are master keys. They allow you to automate processes and focus on the strategy. That's why if you're not using one yet, it's high time to carry out research and choose one that best fits your needs.

Sales teams will expand strategies for communicating with prospects. With more process automation, automated data collection, and highly integrated CRM systems, remote sales teams will be able to dedicate more attention to each lead.

Is there a better time for new solutions than the beginning of the new year?

If the prevalence of universal agents and more complex content marketing strategies continue to expand, highly integrated CRM platforms that marry the customer journey throughout the sales cycle could become essential. 

To help navigate some of these complex trends and changes with online sales and marketing, consider going through this expert marketing guide for businesses. Success in business often depends on staying ahead of the curve and jumping on to new trends before the competition.

The ultimate checklist for remote sales team leaders

Keeping in mind predictions for 2021, there’s nothing left to do but dive deeper into the topic of call center agents and leadership.

As a business owner or manager, you’re probably planning to incorporate improvements for the new year in advance. We hope to inspire your work with this checklist.

#1 Make a 2020 recap and learn from your own mistakes

No one likes to do this, but it’s the best way to improve your business. Advice from experts is handy, yet nothing helps your team more than identifying issues you encountered during your own work.

Analyze the guidelines and plan you prepared for the past year and think about each step meticulously. It's not for feeling you were wrong about things that didn't turn out as intended. It's about learning and improving the essential points to enable your team to evolve.

Last year was extremely challenging, so keep in mind that managers in most companies weren't able to achieve a hundred percent of their goals.

Define a few things you think are worth improving and work on them with your remote sales team in 2021.

#2 Strengthen the bonds with remote agents

Build strong bonds between your team members to make sure you can rely on each other during remote work. Try to keep in touch with every member and be open, try to help them, and answer their questions.

You can think about organizing after-work activities from time to time, during which your agents would be able to get to know each other a little better. A strong team produces better results.

Take care of the employee experience. 

#3 Update KPIs to make them more relevant

Define and track relevant metrics and support your employees to work on their effectiveness. It's a necessity not only when leading a team from a distance, but in the world of remote it is more critical than ever.

Monitor remote sales teams’ effectiveness with specific KPIs.

#4 Hold a brainstorming session with your employees to learn their aspirations and concerns

Besides making your own 2020 summary, organize a meeting in which each agent can speak freely about their experiences with your company. If they would feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts anonymously, carry out a survey to collect their opinions.

A meaningful factor when leading a team is to listen to your employees' needs. If you want them to work efficiently, you have to be aware of their hopes and worries. Thanks to that, you can build a career path for them and prevent problems, instead of only reacting when they finally surface.

Collaborate with your remote sales team to help them feel satisfied being a member of your company, and thus achieve better results at work.

#5 Do research on upcoming trends to use them for your advantage (before your competitors do)

Although we’ve prepared a shortlist of essential predictions in this article, we strongly encourage you to carry out your own research. You might find information that is more relevant for your personal purposes and which could determine your actions in 2021, or just inspire you with a fresh approach. 

Go beyond your niche. Also look at what the forecasts are for inside sales teams and draw conclusions for your own company. 

Maybe you can implement new tactics to close more deals this year at your call center?

#6 Use the right tools to boost your remote employees’ workflow

Make a list of tools that your team needs to take comprehensive care of every customer. Always consider whether it's worth the money, but don't neglect the power of software systems that are essential during remote work. They might help you run your business more effectively in terms of both your employees and your customers.

Such tools can give you ROI quite quickly if they are chosen appropriately.

Here are a few types of tools that you should try out for your remote sales team: 

  • An appointment scheduling app - to make sure none of your team will forget about a meeting. 
  • A CRM platform - an essential tool for every call center to be able to handle every issue of each customer. Keep in mind that the CRM you choose should have integrations with your call center software. That’s important because it can help you with providing omnichannel support. You can use, for example, SalesForce, HubSpot, and 10 other tools with which CloudTalk is fully integrated. 
  • An online video meeting tool - we all know how important internal contact is, so to keep in touch with your team and build strong bonds within, you should invest in a video conferencing platform. 
  • Call center software - it’s beyond obvious, yet we couldn’t omit this from our list. Such a system is fundamental for any call center. To see more of the benefits of using a tool like this, you can read other articles that are published regularly on our blog. And, obviously, we can recommend CloudTalk here, as we believe it’s a robust product. 
  • A data-gathering tool - this one might turn out to be unnecessary if you choose a robust CRM and call center platform with many integrations to offer. For example, CloudTalk collects your data automatically and all of the information is logged into your helpdesk. This makes it easy for your agents to find the right data for a particular customer, all at their fingertips.

#7 Emphasize specializations within your team

Consider dividing your team into a few groups responsible for particular types of customers or client issues. Make a sub-team of universal agents and other sub-teams consisting of more specialized experts. 

You can be sure that clients will be redirected to the right people thanks to solutions like preferred agent, Automatic Call Distribution, and of course Skills-Based Routing.

As you can see, there are many possibilities to choose from.

Lead an unbeatable call center team in 2021

Last year has drained many of us of energy, but we hope that you’ve had a nice rest during the Holiday season. You’re going to need your batteries fully loaded to confront your competitors and seize any upcoming opportunities. However, remember that you’re not alone.

With backup from tools and your co-workers, you can truly leverage your call center strategy.

To make it handy, you can read a wrap up of the most important checklist points:

We hope you find our checklist useful and that it will help you make 2021 your best year in business so far!