Without the right products and services, knowledge sharing can be a bit difficult for any sales team. I’m going to shed some light on distributed sales teams in particular, simply because they’ve become increasingly popular over the past several years.
Distributed teams are appealing for a number of reasons. Some of the main advantages include better recruiting opportunities, little to zero commute time, and the ability to hire reps near some of your larger customers. But despite these major advantages, distributed teams can be a challenge, mainly due to the communication challenges of not being face-to-face in the office. While plenty of tools out there such as Slack, Trello, and more are alleviating these key pain points for remote teams, your sales team needs more than just chat or task management tools to close deals.
At Guru, we focus on providing a sales enablement solution that gives your reps instant access to your sales knowledge , so let’s take a few minutes to dive deeper into the issues that a remote sales team faces especially in regards to sharing knowledge across your team.
When reps don’t have access to a centralized knowledge base, speaking the same language from the same sales playbook becomes nearly impossible. One of the biggest challenges of managing a distributed team is communication. When reps start delivering different messages to prospects and customers, the representation of your brand becomes distorted, and before you know it, your customers have unrealistic expectations that can cripple your long-term relationship.
Even worse, it’s not only your sales team that is affected by inconsistent messaging from your reps. Your marketing team will be frustrated because in all likelihood your reps will be sending out of date content, or not even send content because they don’t know where to find it amongst the multiple different knowledge bases your team might leverage (Slack, email, Google docs, Box, etc). And the stats back it up: a report by Sirius Decisions found that 60-70% of content produced by marketing teams goes unused. Your reps need a single source of truth that they can go to in order to find the information they need to close deals.
Finally, your customer success team will also be frustrated by the lack of consistency in messaging for your reps. Sales and customer success should have a unified voice and your sales team should be doing everything it can to manage expectations for prospects so that your customer success team will blow prospect’s away with their level of support. But inconsistencies will only give your success team more work to do and a potentially poor first impression that will make it tough to build the trust necessary for a long term partnership.
If your reps are in different time zones, they certainly don’t have ability to immediately reach out to a team member for help at any time. That leads to another key challenge facing remote sales teams: trust. When everyone is in the office, even if you don’t know an answer you can usually find someone in the office, tap their shoulder, and eventually get what you need. On a remote team, that isn’t a luxury.
Most sales enablement solutions don’t have a way to measure trust. But in today’s world knowledge changes everyday, your reps need to know in one glance whether the information stored in your knowledge base is up to date.
In a remote team environment, having instant access to trusted information can be the difference between answering a prospect’s question while on a call versus getting back to them the next day as you wait for an answer, which can have a huge effect on your sales cycle times.
Let’s not forget about the most costly challenge for most businesses: onboarding. As we mentioned previously, on average it takes 7 months and almost $30,000 dollars to recruit and onboard a new sales rep.
It’s especially hard for new remote reps to get up to speed as they can’t have those quick “water cooler” discussion with other reps that can help fuel the onboarding process. Remote teams are seemingly at a disadvantage due to the lack of face time and hand-holding you can do in person. But, luckily there’s the 70:20:10 model for learning which states 70% of learning comes “on the job” while only 20% comes from interacting with others and 10% from studying materials.
That 70% of on the job learning is what your sales enablement solution must be able to provide your remote reps for them to onboard quicker. Of course, this is not possible without trust and without establishing your enablement solution as the single source of truth as mentioned earlier. But, to truly take it to the next level and maximize on the job learning, find a sales enablement solution that pushes relevant knowledge to your reps based on what app they are in.
As the gif above shows, relevant case studies, data sheets, and positioning points are being surfaced in Salesforce based on fields in the opportunity record. By pushing that information to reps in context, not only is it keeping all of your reps consistent, but it’s also reinforcing and teaching them the appropriate document or talking points to say to your prospects.
So what are you waiting for? Ensure your remote sales team is selling to the best of their ability by implementing a sales enablement solution today.
Have any other tools or techniques that are great for remote teams that we should include? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter.