Will Sales Teams Move Back Into the Office?

Download Now: 2024 Sales Trends Report
John Evarts and Tom Pisello



The world is a very different place than it was two years ago. Many of the changes we’re seeing now will stick around long after the pandemic has ended, including remote work and hybrid office environments.

sales rep works remotely from home instead of an office

Before COVID-19, remote work was commonly used as a benefit to attract employees. People who work from home report higher job satisfaction, higher salaries than on-site workers, and less stress.

A remote work model also benefits employers with reduced overhead costs and higher rates of employee productivity. Yet, 32% of companies across the globe still didn’t allow remote work prior to COVID-19.

As the global health crisis continues to ebb and flow, many businesses are wondering if an office is necessary at all.

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Are offices still necessary?

The pandemic has forced many companies to embrace remote work and, for some, the transition may stick. As we wait to find out what the workplace will be like post-COVID-19, we anticipate a shift in how organizations view the office.

Before the pandemic, offices focused on having an environment where the main goal was getting to know and collaborate with as many people as possible. Companies were finding new ways to make their offices more unique and innovative, and employees were welcomed to the office with perks such as ping pong tables, free snacks, and more.

Within the last few months, companies have started to rethink the office space. Rather than a single fixed location, we expect to see companies embrace a broader definition of "workplace" to include both in-person offices and remote work locations.

This shift will lead to many businesses putting less money into the development of the office and more money into resources and technologies to ensure teams can be successful wherever they choose to work.

Whether you’re someone who spends most of your day on calls that you can easily take from home or a developer that needs access to better bandwidth than home internet companies can provide, it’s clear that the need for offices will always be circumstantial. What is unclear, however, is what future offices will look like, how often they will be used and by whom.

How are sales teams impacted by remote work?

Recently, sales teams have been leveraging virtual meeting tools like Zoom to conduct calls and face-to-face meetings to help build relationships with prospects or interact with colleagues. But the question still remains, without an office, what will happen to sales teams?

The global health crisis caused many sales organizations to quickly provide sellers with the resources needed to dive into remote selling and operate effectively and efficiently from home. Now every seller is an inside sales rep.

However, one thing has remained constant. No matter what the situation, buyers are still economically driven. Now, facing an economic downturn, we see this even more. Buyers are wondering how much a solution will cost, especially after dealing with reprioritizing projects and realigning budgets due to spending cuts.

Research from Gartner indicates that companies are cutting back on their technology spending while balancing conservatism with the need to drive digital transformation. Frugalnomics is in full effect, with many organizations seeking ways to reduce spending and do more with less in order to accelerate and capture growth post-COVID.

A sales enablement platform can help you quickly onboard and train a remote sales force. Like the rest of the world, you’re likely trying to figure out how to bounce back from the aftermath of COVID-19 and do it fast.

Selecting a technology that allows you to get up and running and easily see immediate improvements in sales efficiency and effectiveness is critical to achieving your business objectives.

How can sales teams continue to be effective?

Companies need to have confidence that their sellers are as effective working from home as they were interacting with customers, prospects, and colleagues face-to-face. Here are a few ways to shift your sales approach and smooth the transition to remote selling.

1. Implement interactive presentations.

When transitioning to remote sales meetings, many would argue that video conferencing is the best option. But is it enough? Video conferencing platforms like Zoom are intended to make conversations more organic, but only 12% of people feel as comfortable on video calls as they do phone calls, resulting in lower levels of engagement.

To avoid this, taking advantage of interactive and engaging presentations can amplify your prospective buyers interest and participation. Rather than putting your buyers to sleep with static presentations, an animated approach will make your product or service stand out against competitors.

2. Enhance sales through value selling.

Before a buying decision is made, prospects look to sellers to share information they don’t already know, especially in times of economic downturn or hardship.

Quantifying your product or service’s return on investment (ROI) will provide your buyer the information they need to sell your solution internally, to help prioritize and justify the allocation of budget to your proposal versus all others being considered.

Interactive value selling tools such as ROI and TCO calculators have been proven to increase win rates with 74% of customers buying from the first seller that can demonstrate a path to value.

3. Lean on remote learning.

Tools such as Learning Management Systems (LMS) make it easier to onboard and train remote sellers. An LMS like Lessonly, MindTickle™ or SAP Litmos can help you bring sales trainings online, allowing you to record and store training videos and distribute them to your sales teams no matter where they’re learning from. The "sales readiness" that a learning management system provides is proven to better prepare reps to sell and meet quotas.

It’s focused on giving them the knowledge they need to be effective in front of customers versus dropping a bunch of information they may or may not need to know all at once. Relying on modern LMS systems allows your sales organization to go beyond one-time training and onboarding.

Not only will organizations receive sales knowledge quicker, but your sellers will feel better prepared for sales interactions, especially while working from home.

There are still many unknowns about what the future of work looks like. Whether we’re remote or in the office, it’s best to make sure your sales reps are prepared to lead engaging sales conversations (no matter the location), can financially justify proposals to ever more frugal and risk averse buyers, and are trained and ready despite not being able to do in-person on-boarding and training.

In the meantime, ask your employees if a remote office works for them and think about how to build a company culture and encourage communication with or without an office. Ultimately, organizations that figure out how to do so will come out on top.

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