March 11th, 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 shutdowns. Soon following the shutdowns, many businesses in nearly every industry resorted to remote work to protect their employees and abide by social distancing guidelines. Many organizations quickly saw the benefits of remote work and have opted to keep this through 2021 and for the foreseeable future.
This transition has been a difficult adjustment for many salespeople. As we know, sales is a very communicative role that often requires in-person conversations to build relationships and read body language. And having business development calls or sales team meetings from the kitchen table while family members are whirling around isn’t an ideal work environment.
By now your sales team has likely adjusted their virtual sales set-up to be a little more constructive, but there are several ways for them to make their workspace a productive and engaging sales hub so they can close deals while working remotely.
Upgraded Home Office and Equipment
Developing a custom workspace at home will help your team eliminate potential distractions during selling hours. It will also help keep work and personal life separate, which can help increase productivity and protect employees from experiencing burnout.
Creating a space that is specifically dedicated to work will make people feel like they are in the office or out selling because it separates them from personal living space and eliminates distractions.
The custom workspace doesn’t need to be located in its own specific room—it’s unrealistic to assume that all remote employees have extra office space lying around. Encourage them to carve out their workspace wherever it works best — and working in the same location every day will help train our brains to enter “work mode” as well.
If a daily remote work environment isn’t comfortable and convenient, it can be extremely difficult to sell effectively and consistently. It’s recommended that your sales team has:
Ergonomic Office Furniture
Consider investing in an ergonomic office chair and a computer stand. An ergonomic chair will support your back, neck, and shoulders while working to minimize physical discomfort throughout the day. Similarly, a computer stand lifts the computer to match your height so you aren’t slouching or leaning forward toward your screen. These combined will help any employee stay comfortable and make them look confident and collected in video conferencing meetings.
Blue Light Glasses
The transition from in-person to remote work eliminated the downtime from screens that employees once had in the office or out selling. Now, salespeople are constantly on their smartphones, computer, or tablets, tracking metrics, reviewing contracts, and meeting with clients. Employees have been experiencing worsening symptoms of digital eye strain as a result of increased engagement with digital screens.
Digital eye strain can cause headaches, eye irritation, and mental or physical fatigue, which can slow down sales productivity. If your sales team is engaging with screens more often since working from home, I recommend having them invest in a pair of blue light glasses. Blue light glasses have anti-glare coated lenses, which block out the harmful blue light that is emitted from most digital screens. Wearing blue light glasses can also reduce risk of macular degeneration later in life, improve sleep as a result of a normalized circadian rhythm, along with reducing symptoms of digital eye strain while working.
Having natural light surrounding the workspace is also very important. Salespeople should be in a well-lit area where clients and co-workers can see them clearly, professionally, and engage with them during video conferencing meetings. Second, when interacting with digital screens, the surrounding light should match the brightness of the screen. This can help lower the risk of eye strain as well because eyes will be well adjusted to the light.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Block out any background noise that could distract you by upgrading to a pair of noise cancelling headphones. These will also be beneficial during video conferencing meetings as employees will be able to zero in on what clients and co-workers are saying for maximum communication and engagement.
Ensure Tech is in Order
With remote work continuing, now is the time to ensure home technology is up-to-date and ready to support daily sales activities. Below are some technology investments that can help.
High Speed Internet Connection
Most people have internet access in their homes already—but is the connection stable enough to support client video meetings and other activities? Check and make sure sales employees have a fast and reliable network so they never drop a call or have a lagging connection. The faster they can connect and deliver to their prospects or clients, the more successful they will be at virtual selling.
Video Conferencing Service
Next, make sure your team has an accessible video conferencing tool that is compatible with the majority of your clients’. They will be using this to connect with and attract new clients, demonstrate products, build relationships, and close deals. Today, this form of communication is more personal than a phone call or email—especially since we can’t travel to close a deal in person for the time being. Consider using Zoom, Google Meet, or UberConference to conduct your meetings as they are a few of the most well-known and versatile video conferencing options available today.
Continuously Ask for Feedback
As CEO, it’s critical to always be thinking about how you can improve the sales process for employees. You don’t need to micromanage, but be in-the-know about obstacles your employees are facing while working remotely. Are they having trouble reaching out to the support team when a potential client has a technical question? Are there too many internal meetings taking time away from sales leads? Look for ways to optimize and increase selling-time for employees so they can focus on what they do best.
Virtual selling is a major adjustment to make from years past, but it’s far from impossible. If you help your sales team establish a comfortable and professional workspace with the right tools and support, they will be able to thrive selling from home.