The Remote Revenue Team Playbook

March 30, 2020

Sara Howshar

We know that teams everywhere are doing what they can to adjust to a new or expanded remote culture. We’re doing the same at Chorus, and we’re excited to share with you our best practices and what we’ve learned from customers, prospects, and friends in the field.

On Thursday, March 26, we hosted a webinar to discuss this very thing: How To Manage Remote Revenue Teams.

Natalie Severino, Chorus VP of Marketing, sat down with (or “Zoom-ed in” with) Randy DeHaan, Chorus RVP Sales, and Jeramee Waldum, Mavenlink VP of Global Sales, to give their playbook for managing remote revenue teams.

1. Put an Empathetic Lens on Your Pipeline Review and Process #

As COVID-19 and the global response evolves daily, our processes must evolve as well. Longstanding pipeline goals may not change, but the way that we approach them or move towards them must adapt as companies become more uncertain.

When revenue teams make a call, the person on the other end of the line is dealing with a new set of worries.

So, how do you shift your processes to be more empathetic, even if you still need to hit pipeline goals?

Here a few ideas:

1. Prioritize tracking interactions overbooked discovery calls.

Asking your teams to lead with empathy starts with understanding their greatest worry. For many companies and prospects, it’s going to be the company-wide transition to remote work. Make sure that your conversations reflect this, and offer support and value where you can.

Jeramee Waldum suggests that revenue teams provide real-life examples of how they have transitioned when they are talking with prospects.

“Mavenlink was quick to make the shift to remote working and I feel as if our team is able to provide a lot of help to our potential clients,” Jeramee explains, “We have a lot of tangible experience. We’ve been doing a lot of late night research looking into Chorus calls and emails to help us navigate this.”

At Chorus, we encourage our customer facing teams at every stage of the funnel to shift to “Wellness Checks”. Randy DeHaan adds, “Call with no business ask. See how they and their teams are adjusting and explore ways to support them.”

2. Hyperfocus on long term, relationship-building in lieu of short term pipeline goals.

Consider moving from “Did you schedule a demo?” to “Have you reached out and do they feel supported by you?”

Like the majority of sales leaders, Jeramee is expecting that most businesses will be in a holding pattern or a slow down on spending in the next few weeks. “Leading with relationship building is critical.”

Randy coaches the team at Chorus to do their research. “Review all outbound cadences and messaging. Be mindful of the business you should perhaps not target right now.”

Essentially: Know your audience.

If your service can truly be helpful right now, support your prospects and customers. Give value now. “If your messaging is authentic,” Randy added, “it will come across.”

3. Empathy in practice: Humanize your experience.

Everyone may have unique challenges facing them right now, but we have a lot more in common as everyone hastily transitioned to fully-remote teams. We’re in the same boat.

To make sure that his team leads with empathy, Jeramee recommends starting with a “Safe Harbor” at the beginning of calls. Open with the reality of your working situation and background noises you may hear! It humanizes it and most of the time our prospects open up about their families.

Lean into the natural interruptions of an unplanned remote work setup. “I have two toddlers at home,” explained Randy, “working from home with my kids was never part of the plan. So I call it out and let them know that they will definitely hear my kids in the background.”

The point is: Make it relatable, not heavy.

We’re all learning. “Ask about the silver-lining,” suggested Randy, “What have they learned since this transition? Ask for their perspective, and see if anything has actually proven to work better for them or their team.”

Our creativity, spirit, and resolve are being tested right now. Keep perspective on what progress looks like day to day.

2. Use Creative Motivational Strategies to Keep Your Team Engaged & Connected #

It’s easy to lose sight of the goal and an individual’s role in achieving it. Here are tips Jeramee and Randy provided to make sure your teams continue to fuel the engine together.

1. Invest in your team

  • Give ownership of new projects to team members to engage them in something new, with heightened responsibility.
  • Create a mentorship program so that your teams stay more closely connected.
  • Set up structures to overly communicate as we adapt to seeing each other less around the sales floor
  • Give the team hourly, daily and weekly goals that are collaborative. “Try to align your team around doing things together, for example scheduling a dedicated hour that everyone makes outbound calls with a shared goal of some amount of conversations,” suggested Randy.

2. Continue to develop and expand growth opportunities

At Chorus, we talk a lot about how reps and AEs aren’t simply “coin-operated”. Salespeople are highly motivated to grow professionally, no matter what industry or company. That shouldn’t change now that we’re remote.

Communicate more than ever. “Clear career paths and more regular conversations with our teams is critical,” explained Jeramee, “now more than ever.”

“If this situation isn’t a growth opportunity I don’t what is,” Randy said. “Our creativity, spirit, and resolve are being tested right now. Keep perspective on what progress looks like day to day.”

Looking for motivation or professional growth inspiration? Try to find the silver lining.

  • For the C-Suite Executive: Use this time to listen to customer feedback and listen to messaging in the field. Market intelligence has never been more important.
  • For AEs: Sharpen your skills to build authentic relationships digitally.
  • For Reps: Hone in on your craft. Learn organization skills, time management, and other key components that will follow you into any career path.

3. Put Daily and Weekly Structures in Place to Keep Your Team Aligned #

Communication is a key theme for remote teams - and any team, really. But what about tactically? How can revenue teams put communication structures in place to ensure their teams are in sync?

Jeramee and Randy offered a few suggestions:

  • Don’t assume anything. “You don’t want your teams to come to their own conclusions,” advised Jeramee, “Spend time evaluating your current process for both the current situation and beyond.”
  • Be clear on your objectives for the next 30 - 60 days. Is it business as usual? Is it lower the barriers for entry and creating a COVID-cohort of opportunities? Is it an adjusted talk track? Don’t leave them in the dark.
  • Again, continue to train, enable, and coach. Invest in your people and their development.

Here’s the highlight of the structures Jeramee and Randy have implemented for their teams:

Daily Structures

  • Standups & Standdowns
  • Email from CEO
  • Leaderboards

Weekly Structures

  • 1:1s
  • Team Film Review
  • Forecast Call
  • Company All-Hands
  • Creative Programs (People Ops)

Not everyone has access to a home office, so you have to improvise.

4. Keep It Professional And Human #

Again, we’re all in this together. It’s important to balance professional obligations with the realities of working from home.

Here are some suggestions on how to thread the “professional, but relatable” needle:

  1. Live by your calendar. Block off all necessary time you’ll be dealing with kids or when you’re simply not available to be online.
    “We created a 60-day policy for unlimited PTO to accommodate anyone who needs to take time off,” Jeramee explains.
  2. Get equipped. Make sure that your team has the right setup for their WFH office.
    “Not everyone has access to a home office, so you have to improvise,” explained Randy.

    In fact, Chorus found that almost 30% of all calls were made with poor audio quality. Make sure that you’re supplying your team with the best headsets (sorry, Airpods) so they are heard on the other side of the line.

    Jeramee’s team went a step farther. “Our IT team joined video calls to see what each person needed to have a professional setup.” Better lighting? Check. Better camera/headset/laptop stand? Check. Even so far as suggestions on what to place on the wall behind them.

    In the webinar, you can see what Randy did to make his home office professionally “pop”! (Hint: Also has to do with what’s behind him while he’s on a call.)

    Green screens are also a huge hit for the Chorus now-remote team.
  3. Connect people. Have some fun with it! Start contests over Slack with daily prompts about the remote-work life, host Zoom lunches/happy hours, randomize coffee dates across the entire company.

We’re all trying to figure out how to do the best we can with what we have. Watch the webinar to catch the discussion. We hope you find these insights useful!

Happy (remote) Hunting!

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