Managing a team in an office environment was challenging enough. With social distancing, many companies have transitioned to full remote work, for as many employees as possible. Maintaining a low density of employees on the premises may be inconvenient, but it also helps to insulate the business.
Protocols during the pandemic may be difficult, but it is far better to send your employees home to work than it is to risk infection of your whole team. And businesses are putting the health and wellbeing of their employees first. While also protecting operations from being impacted by a catastrophic loss.
The technology was always there, to facilitate remote work. The concern for business owners was always determining whether an employee was a suitable fit. While everyone likes the idea of working from home, the reality is that not everyone is suited to it. And businesses must figure out which members of their team can remain productive at home.
The good news? Technology is definitely the solution for businesses and employees. Improving productivity for employees who work from home, however, requires an investment in new software, training, and onboarding time. And new processes to recreate the natural flow of data, information, and social connection between team members.
Mapping Workflows and Reporting Systems
Process maps are essential to productivity, but many SME’s do not use them as a productivity tool. It takes time to review, document, and then evaluate every step in the sales administration process. But once a formal workflow has been created it, it can provide many benefits for your business.
Some companies hire a human resource consultancy to create accurate job profiles for every work function in the organization. The process involves interviewing each employee, and documenting activities, procedures, daily responsibilities, and identifying obstacles to productivity. From the data collected, the organization can progress to creating a formalized workflow map. And begin to optimize workflows to reduce costs and increase productivity.
Nintex is a popular workflow development and management system that approximately 40% of Fortune 500 companies use. They also have industry-specific software solutions for marketing, finance, legal administration, human resources (HR), sales, operations, and procurement and I.T. departments.
Automating Administrative Processes
Another advantage of creating process maps is that they can quickly identify administrative processes that can be automated. As your business grows, finding opportunities to automate certain operational functions can improve accuracy. It also removes more administrative burden from your team, allowing them to focus on performance deliverables that create more value for your company.
Repetitive steps in departmental workflows can be easily automated with the right software. If your business relies on Salesforce for administrative and sales management, there are several ways to automate processes using Einstein Next Best Actions.
Automations that can be customized for your sales team using Salesforce include:
- Email alerts for appointments and follow-up calls. Email automation in Salesforce also allows teams to develop standardized templates for prospecting, follow-up, appointment, and scheduling of demonstrations or web meetings.
- Field Update to add notes and track the progress of sales nurturing by individual customers. This allows management teams to review important information about progress and next steps. Field update in Salesforce can also include important authorization and approval processes, generation of contacts and service quotations, and more.
- Flow Trigger allows management teams to develop automated updates and next steps. This allows your sales team to easily follow the workflow that you have created, from initial customer contact to the execution of a contract or final sale.
- Outbound Message in Salesforce can provide automated email updates to a customer. For instance, the customer can receive a confirmation of the completion of sale or shipping status.
Companies like Amazon have optimized their workflow processes using Salesforce, and an estimated 225,000 businesses use the platform to optimize productivity. Salesforce is considered the leading enterprise software solution provider.
There are two barriers to useability for businesses. A Salesforce certified consultancy is usually required to set up the platform and automations. The second barrier for small and medium-sized businesses is the cost of set-up and ongoing use.
Other affordable options that can provide CRM and automated process building frameworks include:
The expense and investment of time required to set up automated workflow processes provide long-term cost and productivity savings for businesses over time. Automating administrative processes reduces waste, improves accuracy, and allows Managers to monitor workflows and sales growth.
Creating Secure and Seamless Communication for Your Team
When your sales team is outside of the office, working from home or traveling, do you provide a secure and easy-to-use messaging platform? Sales professionals may need to ask for authorization or need a quick answer regarding a product or service to provide additional information to prospective customers. They may also need to request or share collateral over a secure network, including contracts, purchase orders, and other forms.
For many companies, SLACK provides an affordable and versatile SaaS. Managers can create private messages to communicate directly with individual employees, or channels for different departments, to facilitate group messaging to the team.
One of the benefits of using SLACK is that it can seamlessly link to procedural documents and secure folders with URL sharing. There are also productivity apps that can be added to SLACK including:
- Sidequest Task Tracker
- New employee onboarding and knowledge base for FAQs, from SaaS providers like Kipwise
- Google Drive integration
- Hubspot CRM
- Troops (to manage sales pipeline team conversations)
- Google Hangouts integration (to switch from text messaging in SLACK to a video call)
- Tomatobot, a productivity tool that sets timers for uninterrupted work sprints and breaks
Many sales teams use Google Hangouts for instant messaging to team members or groups. However, if you have to go back to reference details in a conversation, it is less convenient to scroll through pages of instant messages. Platforms like SLACK make it easy to search by topic or keyword(s) to find information.
Screenshare and Teleconferencing Tools
How many companies and professionals use Zoom? In Q1 of 2020, Zoom had more than 300 million subscribers. The company doubled its customer base in less than one year after going public for $36 per share in 2019. At the time of writing, Zoom is now trading at $494 per share, after becoming the go-to resource for educational and business teleconference communication this year.
Teleconferencing platforms are not new, and apps like Skype have been around since 2003. But what makes Zoom intuitive for education and business communications is functionality. Professional subscribers in Zoom can record meetings to the cloud and get an automatic link to share with attendees.
Screensharing is easy in Zoom, and you can quickly authorize other participants to share. Zoom also provides tools to allow teams to annotate on-screen, for training and collaboration with whiteboard functionality. The mobile version of Zoom only allows four (4) participants, while the desktop version permits up to 49 people in a virtual meeting.
While organizations implement team meetings at a regular cadence, do your departmental manager schedule one-on-one meetings with individual staff members? If your team is working remotely, personal meetings can help boost morale and productivity, by resolving problems and encouraging feedback.
When you are managing your sales team, build in automated processes to reduce the administrative burden where possible. Use technology to make communication seamless and allow your sales professionals to focus on revenue growth by eliminating redundancies.