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August 12, 2016

Telecommuting: How to Train a Mobile Sales Force

Business

Jeff Cochran

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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.

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