Almost all tech salespeople were selling from home this past year, and several will continue to do so throughout 2021. Many sales professionals have come to appreciate the ability to connect with customers and partners remotely — whether that be online or over the phone.
But the perks of selling from home come with a host of challenges as well — one of the most pressing being keeping up with self-care. It can be a struggle to recharge, be productive, and get enough rest to stay at the top of your game as we transition to the “next normal.”
Many salespeople are hoping to continue to work remotely to improve their work-life balance. It can be a healthier, more efficient, and flat-out better way to conduct business. And if you’re like us, you thrive in a work-from-home environment for enough reasons to warrant another article in themselves!
One of the things we have learned over the last 14 months is that shaping the right attitude and mindset for effective selling — without the traditional office setting — can be uncharted territory for many sales professionals on the grind.
So for all the sales managers with reps who might be struggling with this transition — or those reps themselves — we’ve compiled a list of tips to help any and all salespeople thrive in this new landscape.
These tricks and tactics include proactive opportunities to recharge and focus — regardless of your location. If you’re a manager, it’s worth having these types of conversations separately because they differ from forecast reviews or sales coaching.
Here, we’ve listed essential activities that will get sales reps into the right state of mind to sell, sell some more, and keep selling because their focus, energy, and ambition will be in the right place to help them succeed and achieve their true potential.
Here are 10 things any sales rep can do at home to get there — bonus points to a sales manager that suggests them!
1. Create a community that’s “digitally on-call.”
Facebook, Slack, Clubhouse — all of these channels offer excellent opportunities for salespeople, looking for peers with similar backgrounds and interests, to connect with like-minded communities.
There are corporate women’s groups, paid groups from consulting channels, business partnerships, groups for working parents who want to have some real conversations, and thousands of other communities that cover virtually every corner of the working world.
There’s a lot of value to remaining active in those kinds of forums. Sometimes it helps to read or send a digital accountability SOS from professional and personal peers to keep things on track and spark new ideas for success. Spending time building your community is usually a good investment.
2. Make sure to move (your body).
Human beings were not born to sit for the span of an entire workday — but when you’re selling from home, you’ll often find yourself sitting more than you would in a conventional office.
It’s not healthy, helpful, or conducive to successful sales to sit at a desk for 12 hours and barely get up to get lunch. Working from home is great because you can avoid the long hard slog of commuting to and from the office — but it’s really important to make sure you take the time to walk, stretch, exercise, or move around any other way you see fit between calls.
Carrying out some high intensity, low intensity, low impact, or any other type of fun activity that lets your body release some endorphins should always be a priority in your day-to-day.
For instance, taking a call while walking with a manager on the line can be a great way to connect and make sure you’re seeing the light of day! No matter how you go about it, make sure you’re taking some time to get up, get out, and be active every day.
3. Keep a sacred morning routine to get into the groove.
Getting in the right frame of mind before facing customers and connecting with prospects is key to successfully selling from home. That’s why dreaming, setting goals, writing down your intentions for the day, and abiding by a standard routine can help you be more engaged professionally.
With smartphones pinging every second, late-night emails from prospects and lead notifications can make for constant, restless, unproductive work that keeps your brain from taking the time it needs to shut down, process, and think.
Try not to be fully customer-facing until mid-morning — depending on what kind of sleeper you are — and always start the day with positive intuition and a smile when you get to work.
Once you are focused and in a good mood, you can take on the day. One of the better ways to help support all that is by establishing and sticking to a productive morning routine with some time to buffer and get into the right headspace.
4. Invest in professional development and growth — outside of your employer.
As a sales rep, time is rarely your friend. There will always be another call, email, or sales opportunity that can detract from your professional growth and development. To fight that trend, take some time out of your sales efforts, and use it to increase your sales acumen.
Invest in mindset, coaching, and other activities that will help you think strategically about your strengths and weaknesses, so you can grow professionally and mentally.
People like to talk to interesting people — so help yourself be as interesting as possible by taking time to learn new skills and work on your personal and professional development.
5. Make sure your personal needs are being met, every day.
Many salespeople get so caught up in the grind that they don’t check in with their feelings. What is your body telling you today? Are you angry, tired, annoyed, agitated, frustrated, or just upset for what seems like no reason?
If so, you might not be accounting for your personal needs enough. Check in with yourself daily to monitor your mood. One way I like to do that is by rating the day — more often than not, I’m a 10 out of 10, but that’s not always the case. And it’s important to keep tabs on that.
As Brian Bresee, HubSpot Sales Director, puts it, “You can’t sell if you’re mad, and you can’t sell if you’re sad.” And you can’t control your emotions if you don’t understand them.
If you’re struggling with controlling or understanding your anger, frustration, or sadness, it’s worth it to work with a professional. You should also see if you have access to an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) at your company — programs that have flourished in the last 18 months.
6. Nap and a Snack like a toddler.
At HubSpot, we’re big on naps and snacks because we understand how sleep, rest, and hunger impact creativity, thought, and productivity. Our CEO, Brian Halligan, has a great segment on CBS Sunday Morning about why we have nap rooms and encourage sleep at our offices.
When the segment first aired, he got a fair amount of flack from industry peers, but our productivity as a company speaks for itself. And if things aren’t going your way, you might also try thinking like a toddler and getting something to eat. Self-care is essential for reps — both personally and professionally — so don’t take sleep and hunger lightly.
7. Make time for virtual zoom coffee.
Human beings need connection. That’s just a fact of life — one that doesn’t go away when working from home. Sometimes, quick virtual coffee with a remote friend can be enough to just supercharge your day and get right back to work.
We do it periodically, and either of us can vouch — it makes a big difference. It’s lovely to get right back to work after a friendly conversation (sans work talk) with a friend, colleague, new work connection, or manager.
8. Connection doesn’t have to happen in person to be meaningful.
Sometimes the most meaningful coaching and sales calls happen outside of an office when a person feels like they can “speak freely” because no one is listening in.
1:1 calls can actually be much more effective both professionally and personally than their in-person counterparts. The ability to work remotely allows you to dig deep with your prospects, customers, and colleagues to get to the root of any problem via phone.
9. Follow positive social media influencers.
This is a big one for this year. There is a lot of negativity in the world, and getting sucked up in it can’t do too much for your sales game. So it’s probably in your best interest to avoid more negative content on social media and replace it with something more uplifting.
Look to follow positive influencers. Many of the top business and sales professionals from around the world are using social media every day to encourage people to grow, sell more, and just be better humans. Follow, engage, get positive energy, and sell more as a result.
10. Help before selling.
The inbound philosophy rests on the value of treating prospects and customers like human beings and helping first before selling. There are always ways to help your prospect — whether they be big or small. Doing so will give your day some additional purpose, and that kind of fulfillment can give you the extra oomph you need to crush a sale.
The next normal is going to require new skills, adaptability, and a different kind of expertise. And while that might sound like a tall order, it will be a great opportunity for salespeople to lean into a new routine.