Remote Work – A Competitive Advantage in Selling?

(In collaboration with Conor Adler & Maca Navas)

The adoption of remote work is a game changer for the personal lives of employees. The commute on crowded public transportation is now a commute from your bedroom to your home office. The load of laundry that you keep putting off can now easily be taken care of on your lunch break. The maintenance required to keep a house together, especially with children, has become more accessible. For many people, the upsides of working remote have outweighed the downsides, and their personal lives have become more efficient. 

But what does it mean for work?

The pre-COVID mentality says that the routine of working in a shared office space keeps the workforce organized and manageable. For this reason, organizations stumbled in adapting fully remote work:

  • COVID broke the standard way of work. What do we do now?
  • How do I change my company’s infrastructure to adopt mandatory work from home scenarios?
  • How do I manage people if we aren’t together?
  • How do I keep my workforce engaged in a remote selling environment?
  • Can we still close deals if we don’t meet in person?

A recent study by Hubspot suggests that enterprises that invested in remote sales teams reaped significant rewards:

“64% of those who transitioned to remote sales in 2020 met or exceeded revenue targets, compared to 50% of the leaders who did not make the transition.”

Everflow, a PVF and Specialty Products manufacturing distribution company, has seen tremendous growth since 2020. I reached out to Hugh Horsnby, VP of Sales at Everflow, and asked what spurred their revenue growth during the pandemic.

“When we hit hard times both personally or in business, take a step back, pause, ask better questions that focus on the needs of the other person or client. Then take action to help.”

Mr. Hornsby and his team at Everflow turned remote selling it into a competitive advantage:

“It meant changing our communication platform, making more phone calls and setting up information-based meetings that changed how we were perceived.”

The pandemic forced managers to…

  • Integrate new channels like video and online chat
  • Coach and enable remote teams
  • Find new ways to motivate reps
  • Focus on productivity

Therese Mugge, VP of Sales of Elsevier and advisor to p3rceive, was one step ahead of the curve. Most of her teams already worked twice a week in the office and three days from home. They all traveled minimally. Due to this structure, her teams had home offices and were adept at selling over the phone.

“The team had the Zoom repetition needed to become proficient in using more than a traditional PowerPoint and incorporating notations, iPad, and videos during the meetings. There continues to be a need to make virtual calls more engaging and personal. The company invested in sales enablement tools such as Outreach and Vidyard. These tools allow creativity and personalization from the rep., especially Vidyard.”

The adoption has not been as easy for every organization, though. It has forced companies to re-evaluate processes, staffing, targets, enablement, and much more. Companies that stick with the pre-COVID ways of work may have much less to address.

As the world opens back up and offices become more accessible, will companies go back to the pre-COVID ways of working or make the full conversion to hybrid & remote selling?  

This investment in the future of work has proved fruitful for Elsevier, Everflow, and those willing to make the change. These organizations understood the transition happening with remote work and made investing in the capabilities a priority.

Through these experiences it seems as though it is worth it.