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Why your CRM is the secret weapon you need to keep coaching your sales team remotely

Why your CRM is the secret weapon you need to keep coaching your sales team remotely

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, remote work was the only way to keep employees safe. Snap decisions were made in thousands of companies, and in an instant, the remote workforce grew beyond anyone’s expectations.

As a sales leader, that meant you suddenly went from walking the sales floor and coaching your reps in real-time to watching their floating heads in Zoom once a week.

This sudden, rough transition to remote work came at a time when few were prepared for it. But these snap decisions to move the workforce online may just be the start of something new.

In May, Facebook, Twitter, and Square all announced that employees who wanted to stay remote permanently would be allowed to do so. Shopify and Coinbase have both stated that post-COVID, they will be remote-first companies. And this trend is only gaining traction. (We at Close btw have been a partially remote team since 2013, and became completely remote in 2014.)

So, what does this mean for your sales team?

As a sales leader, are you currently working on ways to coach your sales reps from afar? How can you manage your time and theirs successfully? How do you know what’s happening with your remote sales team so you can coach them in the right direction?

Guess what: You already have a secret weapon in your sales arsenal that can help you do all those things.

It’s your CRM.

How can your CRM help you coach your team remotely? Let’s dive into three main areas where your CRM can help:

  • Understanding your team
  • Communicating and coaching
  • Motivating your team

While these features should be available in any self-respecting CRM, we’ll be showing you how to coach your remote sales team using Close CRM as an example.

How a CRM helps you understand your remote sales team better

Before you can coach your team, you need to understand where they are, what’s working for them, and what they’re struggling with.

But how can you do that without working together in an office setting?

Here are three ways your CRM software can help you understand what’s happening with your remote sales team:

See how your team works within their assigned pipeline

Using the pipeline view in your CRM, you’ll be able to have a clear overview of the deals that are currently in the works, and how your team is working on them.

In Close, for example, you can filter your pipeline view by user.

Then, you can see how reps are working within their individual pipeline. For example, does a certain rep seem to have more deals toward the end of the pipeline? While they’re getting closer to closing deals, they may need to balance their time between selling and prospecting so their pipeline doesn’t dry up.

Or, does a certain rep seem to have a lot of deals stuck at a certain stage in the pipeline? Are deals not moving past the demo? Then, maybe they need more sales training around that particular stage.

Know what your team accomplishes during the day

Your CRM should integrate with the tools your team uses every day to sell. Whether they’re calling, emailing, running video calls, or texting, it should be done within your CRM.

When all these activities are linked to one central hub, that information is stored automatically.

So, how many calls did your reps make today? How much time did they spend on the phone? How many emails were sent? How many demos were done this week?

In Close, sales leaders can customize their analytics dashboards with precise output statistics. They can analyze exactly what each rep accomplished during the day, week, or month, and even compare it to other timeframes.

By customizing your own reports or dashboards within your CRM, you’ll have a real-time view of what your team is doing. As a remote sales leader, you’ll be able to keep track of your team with their sales activity metrics. That means you’ll be fully aware of the work they’re accomplishing, even though they’re not in the office with you.

Watch and listen to recordings of your sales reps on calls and in meetings

If your CRM integrates with your calling and video tools, like Close does, then you’ll be able to automatically record all the calls, meetings, and demos that your team runs remotely. Then, you can watch back those recordings to learn what’s working and what’s not for your reps.

For example, let’s say you notice a certain rep is losing a lot of deals at the ‘demo’ stage. Why not jump into some of the recordings and see how they’re running those demos? Are they making a common demo mistake that’s leading to lost deals?

On the other hand, imagine you have a rep that’s closing deals left and right after running a great product demo. What methods are they using to win at demos? Can you coach other reps to use those same methods to improve their demos?

With automatically recorded demos and meetings, you can watch how your reps are selling and gain the right insights to coach effectively.

How to use your CRM to communicate and coach remotely

Now that you’ve gained the right insights, can your CRM help you communicate with your team and coach them as individuals?

Yes! Here are three ways:

Compare what your reps are doing with the results they’re seeing

Using the information you’ve gathered above, it’s time to compare activity with results.

In Close, this can be done easily with the Activity Comparison Report. This breaks down each rep’s activities during a specific time period, with over 50 sales activity metrics to choose from.

Using this report in your CRM, you can check what kind of activities your reps are doing (calls, emails, SMS, videos) with the results (opportunities won/lost).

Which reps are winning more deals? Can you link certain sales strategies to an increase in opportunities won? For example, do the reps who focus on SMS and calling end up winning more deals?

You can also use this report to find weak spots in your individual reps’ selling styles. For example, if two reps made the same number of calls but one has a much lower number of opportunities won, you may want to check in with that rep to see why their calls aren’t successful. Are they focusing on the wrong leads? Or do they need to improve their cold call skills? If on the other hand a rep isn't making enough calls in the first place, maybe it's time to identify the bottleneck and help them to call more prospects in less time. The built-in predictive dialer that comes with our CRM for example helps reps spend less time manually dialing numbers and waiting for prospects to answer the phone, and instead reach more prospects with less effort.

By comparing activities with results, you’ll have the right data to back your coaching efforts.

Curious how else you can use this data to coach your team? Check out our free book: Leading Sales Team Through Crisis. It includes expert advice from sales leaders who are continuing to coach their teams remotely during this crisis.

Keep the whole team up-to-date on what’s happening with every single deal

When your team is working remotely, communication can be made more difficult. If multiple reps are working on the same deal, efforts can overlap. These slip-ups make your sales team look unprofessional.

How can you avoid this chaos when working remotely?

Your CRM should act as a hub where communication is centralized. In Close, four channels of communication are logged automatically and organized neatly into one clear timeline for each lead.

That means your whole team has a play-by-play view of each touchpoint with a specific lead. If multiple reps are working together on the same deal, they’ll all have full context on where the deal is currently at and can pick up where another rep left off.

Collaborate and assign tasks so deals keep moving forward

Since you can’t just walk out of your office and talk to your reps, it’s essential for you to set up regular remote communication with your sales team.

Before, your team collaborated by walking over to each other’s desks and asking a question. You assigned tasks by calling out to a rep from your office. While this was easier in a way, sometimes it was also messy and disorganized.

Thankfully, your CRM allows you to keep up with easy communication and task assigning, even when you’re not together. In Close, all you have to do is tag a rep in a comment in your lead view, or write up a quick task attached to a certain deal and assign it to one of your reps.

Once you get into the habit of collaborating and assigning tasks through your CRM, you may find that it’s even easier and more efficient than doing so in person.

How using a CRM can help motivate a remote sales team

Now, you have the right data and insights to coach your team effectively and collaborate seamlessly, even though your team is remote.

But, with everyone working from home and dealing with the current situation, how can you keep your team motivated?

Here are three ways you can use your CRM to motivate your remote sales team:

Encourage friendly competition with a leaderboard

A little friendly competition never hurt anyone.

Since the buzz of the sales floor is now locked away in a closed office, keeping that energy alive is even more difficult (but even more important).

Using a bit of healthy competition amongst your sales team, you can motivate your reps to get busy and keep selling.

This is easy to do when your CRM includes a built-in leaderboard, like Close.

In Close, you can set your leaderboard to rank reps based on the activities they complete, such as calls made, emails sent, call duration, SMS, and more.

Based on which activities you want to push, you can encourage your reps to work a bit harder and rank higher on the leaderboard.

Keep each sales rep focused on their immediate tasks

When home-life and work-life collide, it can be even harder to organize your day and prioritize the tasks you need to complete.

If you set up your CRM correctly, you’ll be able to help your team focus on the tasks that will produce the most value.

In Close, every user gets their own personalized Inbox. This is one centralized place where reps can view inbound communication, such as calls they missed, emails they received, or voicemails they didn’t hear, as well as tasks that are assigned to them or reminders for the day.

As a sales leader, it’s your responsibility to make sure each rep has a clear understanding of what’s expected of them every day. Keep your CRM tidy, and make sure tasks and reminders are assigned to the right people.

Especially during this crisis, make it a habit to assign tasks, make sure tasks are completed, and remove tasks that outdated. When you do this regularly, it will be easier for your reps to stay focused on the right activities.

Make sure leads are prioritized correctly

Most CRMs have a way to prioritize leads that are hot.

As a sales leader, you need to make sure these lead lists are up-to-date. Otherwise, your reps could be focusing their time on prospects that aren’t going to buy.

When you make it clear which leads are a priority for your team, you’ll help them sell more effectively. That’s a surefire way to motivate them.

In Close, you can create customized Smart Views. These are lists that help you divide and prioritize leads based on criteria that you set. This allows you to divide leads by their activity, their location, time zone, attached opportunities, and more.

This way, you can set up lead lists according to your team’s workflow and sales process, allowing reps to quickly move to the next lead without having to wonder where they are in the sales process or how they should reach out. It also allows you to set up your leads for the right reps based on location or other criteria.

By prioritizing leads, you’ll be setting your team up for success.

Wondering what other sales leaders are doing to motivate their teams during this crisis? Check out our free book: Leading Sales Team Through Crisis.

Use your CRM to coach your sales team from a distance

If you’re a sales leader who is suddenly dealing with the challenges of leading a sales team remotely, remember this: you are not alone.

First, you have your secret weapon: the CRM. This mighty tool is exactly what you need to understand, coach, and motivate your team from a distance. And it works even better when your CRM is made for remote sales teams.

And second, you have the help and advice of other sales leaders who are in exactly the same position. Sales leaders around the world are sharing their tips and tricks online as the sales community works together to help one another.

In fact, we’ve compiled the advice of 30+ sales and startup leaders in our latest book: Leading Sales Teams Through Crisis.


This book includes over 500 pages of proven advice from the people who understand your situation better than anyone. We have tips from sales directors and managers, startup founders, CEOs, mental health experts, VC firms, and more. They explain how the current crisis has changed their businesses and their sales processes, and what they’ve done to overcome the challenges.

Want to hear the world’s best advice for sales leaders right now? Download Leading Sales Teams Through Crisis for free!

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