How to Use Technology to Keep Remote Teams Connected

Our economy is on the cusp of a mobile revolution, in which sales and customer service teams will increasingly work remotely. As a result, connectivity and collaboration will become more important than ever.

In order to stay competitive in this changing environment, businesses must give their sales reps and service agents the tools they need to communicate effectively and access the most up-to-date customer data.

Sure, email is a great start. The business environment has been email-driven for more than two decades, so everyone is comfortable with this technology.

Going forward, however, business strategies must go beyond email and make use of the cloud in new ways. Luckily, the marketplace is rapidly filling up with teamwork apps, work-sharing platforms and CRM systems that are making remote work easier than ever.

Teamwork apps

Just because your sales and service reps work in different locations, doesn’t mean they can’t feel like they’re sitting right next to each other. There are now many different applications to facilitate teamwork that are far more effective than email.

These apps fall into two main categories. The first group includes messenger-like systems such as Slack, Workplace by Facebook, and Microsoft’s Yammer. Messenger apps are great for remote teams that work asynchronously, as they allow members to have ongoing, self-recording discussions about specific topics or projects. For remote teams that maintain similar working hours, these apps allow every member to participate in important discussions in real time, ensuring that no one misses out on essential data or last-minute decisions.

Another group of teamwork apps is more focused on project management. These apps are designed to give remote teams a detailed view of what each member is working on. Trello, Microsoft Project, Casual, Podio, and Basecamp all fall into this category. While some of these apps have chat-like functionality, their main goal is to make sure that work is correctly assigned and deadlines are met. These tools are extremely useful for remote sales and service teams that work on longer-term projects in addition to their day-to-day customer interactions.

It’s not surprising that the popularity of teamwork apps has increased over the last few years, as they offer a much more practical solution for communication, collaboration, and scheduling than email alone.

Shared workspaces

Shared folders and workspaces have been around for some time. Before the cloud really emerged, most teams in communal office spaces used a workplace server to connect employees with shared folders and documents.

Now that cloud-based applications have entered the workplace, collaborating on documents using Office 365 or Google Apps is commonplace. These digital tools make it much easier for team members in different locations to work together on projects. For instance, remote sales or service team members might:

  • Maintain a shared folder of email templates or cold call scripts
  • Document key workflows or steps to resolve common issues
  • Collaborate on new guidelines or customer resources

In many respects, a remote team can use a shared cloud workspace to collaborate as effectively as they could in a shared office space.

Cloud CRM software

These days, it’s vital to provide your customers with a seamless service experience. When a potential or existing customer contacts your sales or service team, they expect each employee to know everything about their account and their previous interactions with your business. This is where a cloud CRM solution can really make a difference.

In a nutshell, a CRM is a shared database that brings together a customer’s entire history with your company. It offers a single point of access where employees can see what a customer has bought in the past, whether they have raised any issues, and how these issues have been resolved. An effective CRM enhances the ability of your sales and service teams to meet and exceed customer expectations, regardless of where they’re working from.

For service staff, this 360-degree view is invaluable. When each person knows what has already been said and done by other team members, they can avoid covering the same ground and seeming uninformed about the customer’s concerns. Many CRM solutions even incorporate service ticket management capabilities, so service teams can track every aspect of a customer problem from the first conversation to the resolution.

For sales reps, being able to see purchase history alongside past conversations is extremely helpful when it comes to driving new business from existing customers. When reps come across as well-informed about each customer’s needs and preferences, it increases the likelihood of successful upselling or re-purchasing.

Embracing technology to support remote work

As more and more sales and service teams begin working remotely, businesses need the right tools to support these employees.

Cloud-based applications enable successful remote work by giving employees the data they need in real time. Teamwork apps, shared workspaces, and cloud CRM software offer plenty of benefits for remote sales and service teams, including:

  • Helping teams stay focused on shared goals
  • Enabling communication across different time zones
  • Facilitating collaboration on long-term projects
  • Allowing teams to standardize processes through built-in workflow management
  • Centralizing lead management to make it easier for sales reps to close deals
  • Empowering service agents to solve problems quickly and build strong customer relationships — and much more.

With the right technology on hand, your employees will be prepared to provide the best service possible — no matter where they’re located.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

About the author