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How to manage field sales teams

Tips & Advice - March 31, 2015

Managing a field sales team can be a challenging task. Field teams have different needs than in-house staff and efficiently managing a team that is geographically dispersed can be tough for even the most experienced bosses. How do you ensure that all employees are equally heard, and that they have ways to communicate with you and their teammates? How do you prevent feelings of isolation and increase productivity from a distance? How do you get sales reps to stay on track at all times and meet goals?

Here are a few tips to help you manage a field sales team in the best way possible:

Hire the right people: Step one is to ensure that you have a good team on hand. Best management practices only go so far when your salespeople are poor performers. Field sales reps should have three characteristics — they should be flexible, thrive on independent work that requires self-regulation and be masters of communication. Find out the interview stage if potential employees can handle the stress of working on the field. Can they deal with situations they did not plan for? Are they quick-thinking and creative? Adaptable, independent workers make great field sales reps, because you can be sure they will work will in any environment, whether a supervisor is peering over their shoulder or not.

Give them the right tools: Once you have a trustworthy team in place you need to provide them with the tools that will help them do their work efficiently. Field sales reps, in particular, should be confident that they can overcome any challenge they encounter because they have the skills and technology available. Field sales software has a number of features that ensures that reps aren’t burdened with excessive paperwork, don’t have to check in with managers repeatedly and aren’t required to wait for authorization from the main office before closing deals or making sales. When everything they need is in the palm of their hand they are more likely to be able to solve their own problems and fulfill their responsibilities.

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