The Selling Factory

Office or Remote Selling – Managing Effort and Effectiveness

Written by Adam Grossman

An ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development, he is a cofounder and the Chief Development Officer at The Selling Factory.

Originally published in the Adaptive Business Services Blog on July 8, 2020

In the last few weeks, many sales managers are deciding whether their teams should return to the office or stay home. No matter today’s decision, tomorrow brings new information that completely alters yesterday’s point of view. Professionals each have an opinion on what to do. Some are itching to get back on the floor with their teams. Others find the benefits of being at home more valuable. However, when we look at the data, this should not even be a choice.

Current research says that remote teams are more productive and more cost-effective than their in-person counterparts. A study from Airtasker showed that “on average remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 days every year, than those that worked in the office” (Airtasker). Even though this is the case, many managers resort to monitoring technologies. They are concerned about whether an employee is at their computer at a specific time. Yet, as sales managers, is the team’s goal to sit at their desks or meet their sales targets?

Returning to the data from Airtasker, they also found that one of the main distractions for teams is their managers, especially when in-person. According to the research, “Nearly a quarter of office employees said their boss distracted them from doing their work. Sixty-five percent of office workers said it was because their boss was too talkative, and another 52% said their boss stressed them out. Only 15% of remote workers, on the other hand, said their boss had distracted them from work” (Airtasker).  Too often, sales managers let a lack of trust guide decision-making. This leads to more distractions and a decline in production.

Whether in person or remote, many managers throughout the day loosely check in with each person every morning, randomly jump into coach someone, and schedule multiple training meetings. While we think this is supporting our teams, it is counter-productive. Internalizing that we are more of the problem, rather than the solution, is not easy. However, when we take ownership of this situation, we can increase team engagement, remove unnecessary distractions, and grow revenue – which is our goal. As opposed to making a decision between the office or home, how can we, as sales managers, take this time to better guide our teams for increased production?

To ensure quality support, a sales manager must be more intentional about their management. No matter the location, high performing sales teams are deeply engaged. Sales managers work to accomplish this by building trust with their team, supporting the team’s development, and empowering teams to solve problems. This involves being available to them. To communicate, empathize, train, and coach each person when needed. While certain technologies can show whether a team member is at the computer, it is more imperative to formalize a plan to best support a sales teams’ effort and effectiveness. Here are four principles to consider when developing a strategy.

  • Connection: Build relationships with your teams to learn who they are, what they are learning about, and what motivates them. Instead of only discussing business in group meetings, offer space to learn about each other. Begin each group meeting with open-ended questions, such as “what is one new thing you learned during the pandemic,” “what object near you best represents who you are,” or “where would you like to be right now”. This vulnerability cements trust with the team and enhances team bonds. It also directly models valuable sales techniques like listening, vulnerability, speaking confidently, and asking open-ended questions.

  • Clarity – Determine the measurements for effort and effectiveness. Effort is fully in the control of the team member, while effectiveness adds outside variables. Layout the expectations with each team member. These can be individualized or standardized. Each has its advantages, yet it is essential to focus solely on objective markers. For effort, this might be the number of calls per week, while for effectiveness it might be the number of demos or closes.

  • Oversight – With team connections and clear expectations in place, the team knows what to do. The manager’s role in oversight is to manage up rather than tear them down. Ask yourself, where is a team member deficient in effort and effectiveness? Based on the answer, devise an individualized plan to intervene on that specific issue. For a team member struggling with effectiveness, lay out the exact days and times to sit on calls and support them. It will take more than one time. Plan on a minimum of 5 to 6 reoccurring times and add to the plan if needed.

  • Intervention – A sales manager’s success is measured by helping a team member overcome the challenge. Be transparent with team members. Show them where you are seeing problem areas based on the expectations. Train this specific area for an extended time frame then continue to monitor whether that challenging area improves from week to week. While there is a tendency to fix every problem at once, focus only on the core issue during the planned intervention time.

It is much easier to randomly engage sales teams to set up ongoing training and to ensure they are working at specific times. It is harder to be intentional about one’s management. Yet, planning accordingly leads to more trust, ownership, production, and revenue from sales teams. And, it allows team members to concentrate on their job – no matter where they work.

References:

[i] “The Benefits of Working from Home,” Airtasker, March 31, 2020  https://www.airtasker.com/blog/the-benefits-of-working-from-home.

[ii] “The Benefits of Working from Home,” Airtasker, March 31, 2020  https://www.airtasker.com/blog/the-benefits-of-working-from-home.

Kira Baker

Campaign Manager

Kira is a recent graduate from the University of Florida where she received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hope to visit all of the National Parks one day!

kira@thesellingfactory.com

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

jared@thesellingfactory.com

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

ian@thesellingfactory.com

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

damien@thesellingfactory.com

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

brendan@thesellingfactory.com

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

savannah@thesellingfactory.com

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

zack@thesellingfactory.com

Josiah Blakemore

Campaign Manager

Josiah has over 8 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

josiah@thesellingfactory.com

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she led a psychology research lab on goal achievement and life satisfaction and took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. Through her creative and methodical vision, she engages both students and entrepreneurs to help them find their version of success.

sueming@thesellingfactory.com

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led Slingshotfund.org to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

adam@thesellingfactory.com

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.

brad@thesellingfactory.com