Let’s be honest with ourselves.
The sales floor is not coming back.
At least not in the way it once was: your whole team being in one office, sitting in the same room or rooms, learning from each other’s calls, celebrating the wins, lunches out, and all the other social and team building benefits that come with being in the same geographic location.
With cities across the globe going in and out of lockdown to fight the global pandemic, B2B teams have hastened the shift to remote selling. They have discovered efficiency & convenience, along with a host of new motivational and alignment challenges.
What WFH is really like
It’s no secret that salespeople feed off the energy of the others on their team. A sales rep’s team can pick them up when they’re down, get them into a winner’s mindset, and provide clear and easy access to feedback & peer-level coaching.
Have a bad call?
Talk to a colleague or friend.
Feeling unmotivated to start the day?
Get energy from your peers at daily stand-up (if you have one).
Lost a “sure-thing” opportunity?
Go for an early lunch with a friend and vent/plan your next steps.
At home, stuck behind a computer and a Zoom account, it may feel like these quick and easy pick-me-ups are not there.
When you’re stuck in your bedroom, your basement, or your kitchen table, it’s hard to channel that intrinsic energy & motivation to make call after call and smash through objections without getting down.
In this environment, motivation can be difficult to muster consistently, and it takes a concerted effort to stay on track.
What we’re missing
Okay, we get it. WFH sucks, and there’s nothing we can do about it, right?
Not at all true.
But to harness the value of the sales floor through remote selling, we first need to understand what makes them so good at motivating sales teams in the first place.
Alignment with the company mission, values, and purpose is vital to any sales team’s long-term success.
When you can meet in daily stand-ups, weekly meetings, or team lunches, learning is a perpetual, living thing that cements resolve around hitting targets and builds lasting relationships that transcend the company.
Working together in close quarters and actively helping each other helps reps feel stronger attachments to the company & team while building true intrinsic motivation to achieve their mission.
Being “in the trenches” (physically) with your co-workers keeps things interesting and on-track.
Working out of an office space comes with built-in access to tools (e.g., phones, internet), resources (product, marketing, support), creature comforts (Latte anyone?), and support from your colleagues and mentors throughout the team.
When you have a question, you can turn around, talk to your neighbor, go down the hall to another department, and get answers fast.
Without making a formal meeting, you can go for lunch with your supervisor and discuss your roadblocks to get back on track, hopefully.
Having everyone in the same room is great for accessing what you need to do your job efficiently.
Anyone who’s seen Boiler Room knows that a sales floor can be chaotic, scary, and perpetuate the “Bro Culture” that people are coming to despise. But these types of floors are sporadic and are not the subject of this article.
The sales floor I’m referring to is the one where you feel a certain indescribable energy when you walk through.
You see the dedicated reps glued to their screens, animately engaging in conversations with their prospects, and smiling as they put numbers on the board (literally or figuratively).
You can’t help but smile as you walk through a floor like this as you know this team is succeeding.
As a rep, you know that this sales floor is one you want to be a part of and will work hard to bring the energy up, not down.
That energy is contagious and serves you well after those yucky moments mentioned above.
My favorite sales floor
Thinking back on my favorite times as a revenue leader, one team always seems to find its way to the top.
As I walked into the office for the first time, I turned right and immediately saw two sales reps standing up with their headsets on, looking over their dividers, talking about a hot lead one was sending over to the other.
The receiving rep picked up the line, started talking to the prospect, and gave a smile + thumbs up gesture over to the sender, who then got up and walked to the board behind him to mark his “win.”
They were a team, working together to crush their targets.
Said targets were posted on a board right in the middle of the office for all to see.
This was not a unique occurrence.
Every single rep, regardless of seniority, capability, or results, made it their purpose to help each other out and do whatever they could to meet the team goals.
I loved listening to their calls & celebrations from my corner of the sales floor, inspiring me to develop killer campaigns that worked at filling their funnels with more qualified leads.
From this point forward, this team became my template for the perfect sales floor.
How to Bring Purpose, Access, & Energy to WFH
I bet you’re missing your team now, aren’t you?
So sorry, but it’s for the best.
The fact is that although the sales floor is a LOT of fun and it would be great to go back to a time where this existed, we DO NOT need it to love our jobs and smash our quotas.
Finding motivation virtually is not only possible, but some would argue even more rewarding than any physical office can be.
Now let’s look at how we can bring purpose, access, & energy to WFH in a way you’ll actually love what you do - every day!
Alignment with the company & mission truly has nothing to do with the place you work.
Look at RevGenius as an example of how thousands of people from around the globe and mostly different companies can align around a shared mission.
Whatever their motivation, it’s not a paycheck. People go there to learn, grow, and give back to the community that helped them.
The same thing works with your remote sales team.
If your company mission is strong enough and the people in the team feel connected to where you’re headed, they don’t need to be sitting beside you in the office.
Keep connected with regular (useful) virtual meetings and a tracking system where all team members and leaders can via rep progress.
✅ DO: Have a purpose + desired takeaway for every meeting.
🚫 DON’T: Just have meetings for the sake of staying connected.
✅ DO: Keep meetings short and to the point.
🚫 DON’T: Ramble on for hours on policy or company news not at least 80% relevant to the job at hand.
✅ DO: Use an online reporting system to track sales progress, share wins, & inspire each other.
🚫 DON’T: Use tracking to “keep tabs” on your team.
Note that with tools like Zoom, it’s all too easy to turn off your camera, mute yourself, and get back to whatever daytime TV you love.
If you want your team aligned with your mission, find ways to consistently reinforce the connection between their daily tasks and the benefits to both themselves and the company.
Okay, so you’re not going to have access to that fancy coffee machine or the Swedish-designed nap rooms, but you do have YOUR kitchen, YOUR bed, and YOUR private executive bathroom.
Let’s call it even.
But the most important thing you’ll miss about the sales floor is the close, instant access to your colleagues.
Luckily tools like Slack & Zoom exist to keep you connected to your team in real-time.
It’s in how you use it that makes the difference, though.
Sales leaders need to provide the same or similar value to their reps using technology, so they feel that they’re always getting the support they need.
✅ DO: Remember that WFH has its norms and patterns.
🚫 DON’T: Apply in-office programs to WFH.
✅ DO: Have a system for letting your team know when you’re available.
[Tip: Use the “Status” feature on Slack to say whether you’re available to chat now.]
🚫 DON’T: Make people guess if you’re around or go dark without explanation.
✅ DO: Block dedicated time for your colleagues to access you.
🚫 DON’T: Frequently cancel or re-schedule meetings at the last minute.
Although nothing will replace the office’s openness and flexibility, some diligence around scheduling and communication will ensure every team member feels connected, and their voices are heard.
Replicating the natural energy of the sales floor takes the most effort of everything on this page.
To put it bluntly, it’s hard to hype yourself up when you’re by yourself, but it’s not impossible.
That’s why when I found RevLeague, my heart skipped a beat.
It was everything I was missing from running a live sales floor.
At first, I was skeptical that you could replicate my go-to competition “Power Hours” online, but it really worked!
Leveraging Slack, Zoom, and a kick-ass tracking tool, we run weekly competitions, hype each other up, and share our wins.
So here are some quick things I learned from helping run these competitions for the past few months:
✅ DO: Give clear instructions on participating in competitions, group chats, and other energy-driving events, and make sure each has a very clear & valuable objective.
🚫 DON’T: Expect people to start their own activities or host useless time-sucking meetings.
[Side note: If reps are constantly finding energy elsewhere, they’ll lose touch with your mission]
✅ DO: Use an online tracking tool that is very visible, compares reps against others, AND easy to use to keep everyone on track.
[Tool tip: We use Ambition to track wins across the entire membership of RevLeague so we can celebrate our wins together.]
[Tool tip: Tools like Salesforce or InsightSquared have awesome dashboards to track activities across an entire team IF they’re set up right.]
🚫 DON’T: Let people get lost in their own metrics by making them track their progress offline/in Excel, restricting viewing access in your CRM, or making them work to see what their colleagues are doing.
✅ DO: Get involved in the fun and drive participation, engagement, and value from each shared activity.
🚫 DON’T: Monopolize the conversation and make it all about you and the company.
Being proactive and organizing creative and interesting events your reps will want to “get up” for is the key to replicating the sales floor’s energy with WFH.
Make these activities & events all about the reps + their happiness & abilities to do their job, and morale will skyrocket.
Again, productivity will follow.
In summary, to replicate the purpose, access, and energy of a physical sales floor with remote teams requires passion, creativity, and a concerted effort to give your team value.
Organize fun and useful activities and ditch the boring “check-in” meetings that inspire nothing but yawns.
Host competitions using live, online dashboards, and make sure everyone is joining in on the fun.
Sales reps are people, and people need to enjoy what they do.
It’s not all about the numbers.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. If you’re reading this and thinking how much you’re missing the sales floor, you’re not alone. Come join us at RevLeague and be part of the fun. You may just find something better than what you’ve been missing all along!