Practical Ideas for Combating Remote Sales Team Fatigue in 2022

In the running world, a pace bunny is someone who leads a group of runners to ensure they reach their goal of crossing the finish line at a particular time. Managing a remote sales team through the pandemic is like being a pace bunny—you stick with your team to help them reach their goal in a challenging environment. Navigating the ups and downs of the past two years has required exceptional endurance. The hurdles continue to change, too. Right now, pandemic fatigue is the big one.

The good news is we’re witnessing positive strides where sales leaders are exercising new ways to engage their people and battle the rampant disconnection and fatigue. So, consider this your mid-race refuelling: here are a number of practical, proven ways to help your team battle pandemic fatigue and feel more connected at work. Try them out and let us know how they work for you!

Get beyond the numbers

Get beyond the numbers to counterbalance pandemic fatigue. Managing people to metrics has traditionally been a large part of leading a salesforce. “Numbers don’t lie” and “What gets measured gets done” are expressions commonly used to drive sales results. But numbers lack context. Since you aren’t seeing your team members in person, the hard data can be misleading.

Keep an eye on the numbers, but take the time to engage with team members to explore and understand the story behind the data. Have frequent one-on-one conversations to stay on the inside. Make it a priority in your busy week to connect with your team members and have conversations about their experiences, not just their numbers. Your coaching skills (acknowledge, question, confirm, respond, check) will enable you to find where your salespeople are getting stuck and to help them through it. Use empathy and engagement to add value and help advance your team.

In a world where it’s easy to hide behind the numbers and screens, break these barriers and be present with your team members. Listen and learn what they are proud of and where they are struggling. Now, more than ever, reaching out and creating that regular connection is paramount to your team’s success and to battling their pandemic fatigue.

Don’t skip sales team meetings

As we get busy in our isolated offices, sales team meetings occasionally slide off the calendar. Don’t let this happen! Create an agenda that blends fun, engagement, skill development and an opportunity to share. Here are a few ways to bring a different kind of energy to your sales meetings:
  • Invite a speaker (internal or external) who can open minds and widen perspectives.
  • Start the meeting with a fun energizer that gets people laughing (or at least smiling). There are some terrific online energizers like Skribbl.io, Drawasaurus and Kahoot.
  • Share best practices that help others. Pick a theme such as meeting preparation, leveraging social media, negotiating deals and exploring needs.
  • Ask for success stories, which can spark ideas for others.
  • Leverage dashboards and other leaderboards that tap into healthy competition.

Initiate team-based prospecting blitzes

Few sales professionals absolutely love prospecting, so make it a team sport versus an individual sport. Pick a time frame, set goals and prospect as a team. Dedicated, focused time together will not only lead to increased results and activities but also create a deeper team connection and pride of accomplishment.

Stimulate your team’s competitive nature

Healthy competition in a sales team

Typically, sales teams are competitive and social. Foster both. Your team members get energy from each other and get pumped from winning. Tap into these drivers by launching and leading healthy, fun competitions that ignite that flame. Here are some competition goals that your team could strive for:

  • # of reach outs achieved in the week/month
  • # of first meetings/meetings achieved in the week/month
  • # of referrals generated
  • # of proposals generated
  • Qualitative goals set and achieved
  • Learning goals set and achieved
  • New skills or processes tried and implemented
  • Idea brainstorm sessions for marketing support
  • “Innovative solutions to old problems” brainstorming

Finally, don’t forget the rewards. What’s a competition without a prize? It doesn’t need to be big or elaborate: a coffee gift card or free lunch is great.

Reward and recognize in new ways

As a great leader, you’re already recognizing your people. But you might like one of these ideas and decide to add it to your repertoire. After all, it’s impossible to be too good to your people.

Monthly spotlight – Encourage employees to nominate peers who support them. Or pick one employee and spotlight their contributions to foster a culture of collaboration.

Peer-to-peer thank you gifts – Invite your team to acknowledge a colleague with a thank you gift paid for by the company. Gift cards, bottles of wine and branded wearables are a few of the gift options we’ve seen.

Give handwritten gratitude – Write thank-you cards to your team to express your appreciation. Even better, write to their families to share their contributions at work.

Add some fun to strengthen team connections

What would your sales team like to participate in that would beat everyday work fatigue? The possibilities are endless, but here are some suggestions for connection-building and re-energizing your team:

Bingo
 – Create a bingo game where the traditional numbers are replaced with activities. Participants send pictures and videos to confirm participation in each activity. Time the game to reward high performers.

Streaming club
 – Connect your sales reps over streaming shows and movies and discuss them later.

Book club
 – Bonding over books and sharing learnings can be an enriching experience. Sales team members can vote to choose a book every month for discussions, summarizing and experience-sharing.

Jeopardy/trivia
 – Jeopardy games can bring fun to the routine. You can also introduce a system where points can be exchanged for money.

Hiking club
 – Set up a hiking club challenge that spans over three months. Offer points to the top performers weekly or monthly and reward monthly winners. Or create a shared experience by hiking together virtually.

Monthly virtual gathering – Hold monthly virtual get-togethers. Partake in wine tasting or escape room activities. Encourage people to show up on video to facilitate better connection.

Celebrate special dates
 – Virtually celebrate your team members on special occasions such as birthdays and work milestones.

Fend off isolation
 – Encourage people to leave their desks and go outside. Going for a walk or exercising in the open can reduce the adverse health effects of staying inside or seated for too long. Being outdoors also helps fend off isolation.

While the pandemic will continue to throw unexpected sales challenges your way, it is within your ability to keep your team engaged and motivated. Try incorporating some of these ideas to combat pandemic fatigue and you’re sure to cross the finish line with a more inclusive, positive team culture.