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Telecommuting: How to Train a Mobile Sales Force

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Technology is steering our personal lives, but it’s also bringing big changes to the business industry. Telecommuting is more popular than ever, and experts expect it to increase. Although firms will never phase out traditional employees completely, making a living from remote locations is the future of work.

Mobile sales teams can be much more cost effective for a business, but they present their own challenges. Training, in particular, is harder to perfect. There are ways to ensure that your instruction is the most effective, however—even from thousands of miles away.

  1. Double up on training and testing. Use the orientation period to gauge potential employees’ compatibility with your company. They should be able to pick up on rules and procedures quickly. Provide ample time, of course, but note applicants who excel. Chances are that they’ll do better in production if the material is more natural to them.
  1. Monitor activity during initiation. Videos and other presentations should include prompts to continue, ensuring that employees are spending time in front of the screen. Tech giant Apple reportedly uses software that tracks mouse movement during training and may even call the applicant if monitoring detects no change within a time frame.
  1. Keep potential employees engaged. Starting the day asking personal questions can make each candidate feel valued. This is especially useful in video conferences at the beginning of group training, allowing prospective hires to build bonds with each other and their instructors.
  1. Create a company Wiki. Keep all the resources your new hires will need in one place. They can quickly reference training material, which should include sections explaining performance reviews, working style, role-specific information, tools, and FAQs.
  1. Go mobile. Most training for those in telecommuting positions is via a computer. NASA is taking a different approach. Using slideshows and tablets, the company is providing maintenance walk-throughs on undersea projects. This is a rather extreme version, of course, but sales teams can benefit from the flexibility as well.

A potential employee may be able to take your instruction to a baseball game or while traveling. Potential employees will be able to learn wherever they go and can have information right at hand when dealing with clients. Instant information in the field—doesn’t get much more efficient than that.

Telecommuting produces happier, more productive, more dedicated employees. It’s also smarter for the environment and the safety of others, since it reduces fuel consumption and vehicle accidents. With the right training program and tools, your mobile sales team can efficiently and effectively cover more ground than ever.

Staying Motivated Before Weekends and Holidays

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Most employees know about the midweek slump. After all, there’s a reason Wednesday is called “hump day” – it often feels like jumping over a big hump. Yet motivation doesn’t automatically pick up on Thursday or Friday. If anything, workers often feel less motivated than ever on Fridays or the days before long holiday breaks. If this describes you, there are ways to stay motivated and turn in quality work during this time.

Keep Yourself Interested 

If you feel bogged down with difficult or boring assignments, your energy and enthusiasm will flag. When possible, do difficult Friday or pre-holiday assignments as soon as you arrive. Many people feel more enthusiastic in the morning, and with the whole day ahead of you, you won’t feel like you’re racing to meet deadlines. In the afternoon, do the assignments that will be finished quickly or are the most fun. For instance, if you’re an elementary teacher who loves science, save a fun experiment until after lunch.

Chill Out 

The end of the week is stressful because people want to get out as early as possible, but deadlines and unfinished tasks still loom. This can overwhelm the most dedicated employee. If your brain feels cluttered, take a few minutes to meditate or do some deep breathing. Take a brisk walk at lunch to replenish energy. If you can, try to sneak in a 10-15 minute power nap, or simply close your eyes for short rest periods throughout the afternoon.

Bring Your Kids or a Pet

If the office allows it and if school schedules permit, Friday afternoon is a good time to bring your kids to work. You can look forward to doing something special with the kids when work is over, such as going to the park, out for ice cream, or to a favorite store. This can become a reward for everyone. Additionally, many offices are now allowing pets, everything from dogs and cats to fish and iguanas. Having something dynamic to watch or interact with can increase motivation.

Laugh More

Laughter increases morale, burns calories, and replenishes energy. People who laugh are also less likely to complain at work and more likely to thank coworkers for a job well-done. Some offices host “month-end laugh-a-thons” to facilitate more laughter. These can be as simple as watching funny (appropriate) YouTube videos, or as complex as inviting a local comedian to come in on Friday afternoon. If you’re an employee, bring your favorite jokes and funny stories to work and share them.

What Are Sales Enablement Tools, and How Do They Work?

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Automation software can be greatly beneficial for sales and marketing professionals. Not only does it make sales processes and marketing campaigns easier to design and launch, but it can enable a sales team itself. A variety of sales enablement tools exist, each offering a different way to manage your sales and marketing team. Here’s how a bevy of sales enablement tools can help you gain real insight into your customers and empower your teams to sell.

Go Beyond Leads

Most sales and marketing departments use sales enablement tools for generating leads. Some go beyond that and use these tools to follow up with prospects, as well. But sales enablement tools have the potential to do more. In fact, using their data collection capability, you can gain insights on your buyer and mitigate a lot of legwork.

Gain Insight 

Sales enablement tools let you collect deep pools of data for developing buyer insights. You can find out who has buying power in a certain company, what their company challenges are, and what industry trends are influencing their behavior. This type of data, paired with market research, gives you the information you need to empower your sales team. Enablement tools like Amacus automatically collect and analyze data like this and display real-time sales analytics.

Stay in Front of Your Customers

Following up with your prospects and providing them with valuable content keeps you in the forefront of their minds. Content marketing is a great way to do this across a variety of channels. You can keep your customers up to date with social media, e-mail newsletters, and blog posts. However, some busy sales teams might not have time to dominate all these channels.

Platforms like LogicBay help you create and optimize multiple sales channels and manage individual leads. Likewise, Eloqua by Oracle is marketing automation software that optimizes both sales and marketing efforts. It analyzes prospect behavior and delivers it in a way you can use to launch new campaigns and improve old ones.

Manage Your Sales Team

Some enablement tools put everything you need to manage a sales team right in your hands. Help your sales team perform like they are meant to with coaching tools, best practice policies, call management, and playbook development. The PlayBoox platform, and other platforms like MindMatrix, let you manage the processes and tools you use to run your sales team efficiently. These platforms offer insight as to what material you need at any given point in the sales cycle, and they then help you develop them.

Using a combination of these tools, you can manage every step of the sales cycle. From lead generation to prospect nurturing and follow up, and even managing sellers themselves, sales enablement tools give you full control.

Sources:

http://www.docurated.com/all-things-productivity/top-54-sales-enablement-tools

http://www.customshow.com/sales-enablement-best-practices-solutions/

https://salesenablement.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/work-in-progress-list-of-sales-enablement-vendors/