sales performance

10 Unforeseen Mistakes When Building a Remote Sales Team in 2023

Remote managers don't always have time to understand when a sales manager loses motivation and starts talking to a competitor's recruiter. As a result, a counteroffer has to be made and losses have to be incurred for the business. Remote management and team motivation is still a blind spot for many sales directors. Let's look at what mistakes prevent proper communication with the sales team.

Mistake #1. Lack of long-term goals and strategies

What it leads to:

“Strategy without tactics means a slow grind; tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu

Any company needs a sales strategy — a plan of action for the business depending on the external situation to achieve goals. First of all, remember that you are a leader who manages resources and can look wider at the situation.

Your main task is to build a strategy for the year (at least) and make sure that you and your team stick to it. Forget about everything that only seems like a strategy, but in fact is only a plan for half a year that changes every Friday.

Flexibility and adaptability have not been canceled, but this is a tactical level. If you show your subordinates that you are not sure of your plans that you talked about a week ago, be prepared to lose authority and demotivate employees. In remote work conditions, it is almost impossible to track the loss of respect and connection, and after a couple of months of such work, your employee will be talking to competitors who definitely know their goals and tasks.

The main thing that is required of you at this stage is to build a strategy, that is, to determine intermediate points on the way to the big goal.

Mistake #2. Micro-Management

What will it lead to: an unscalable and inflexible system.

Once the strategy and goals are set, it's time to figure out how to get there. At this stage, you can make a mistake - try to do everything yourself and put the team in front of the fact. Or you can increase employee engagement and motivation by offering them to participate in the formation of tactics.

Set goals, ask your team how to get to the first point in the strategy, and turn off the microphone. If you haven't done anything like this before, be prepared: the pause will be long. People can be silent due to lack of motivation, courage or team trust in general.

It is obvious that the shorter this pause will be, the better leader you will be. The ideal option looks like a search for an answer in the game "What? Where? When? ": you watch the dispute of several employees. If there is silence and a couple of neat offers, then this is a problem. Show your team that you trust them and see in your colleagues not only "hands" from which little depends, but also experts who can make decisions.

After the question and pause, you will get a big point of growth for the company and for yourself as a leader. After listening to the team's suggestions, you can either intervene, bring arguments why this or that decision will not work, or give people the opportunity to test hypotheses, limiting the testing period. The first option is safer - you will help the company not to make mistakes. The second is for the brave - you will teach your people in practice and give them experience.

Remember, a good leader does not think about tactical decisions himself. He determines the acceptable cost of error. In the end, you should get a tactical hypothesis formulated by the team, a deadline for testing it and a metric for evaluating effectiveness.

Mistake #3. The team does not have clear and understandable KPI's for each day

Setting clear and understandable KPI for each employee will help to avoid demotivation and inefficiency at work. Every employee, closing the laptop, should be able to answer questions like "Am I doing well today? How close am I to the set goals? Am I moving in the right direction?". To track the progress, set specific KPI for each employee. For example, for a sales manager it can be the number of quality meetings with new clients, for a developer - closed tasks. Make sure that it does not turn into a format of imitation of activity. Usually this happens when all employees are measured only by the number of checkmarks in the task tracker. Subordinates understand that they need to close 30 tasks today, so they enter tasks for themselves, such as watching a document or going to lunch, although these things do not bring any real benefit to the business. Set KPI to show the employee that he not only did his job today, but also brought his team closer to the goal from the first point. This will help you to track the effectiveness of each employee more clearly, and subordinates - not to lose motivation.

Mistake #4. Employee does not see prospects for development in the company

The specialist will find a job where an individual development plan is provided. An employee is not enough to close the necessary number of tasks every day. He must understand not only how he is useful to the business, but also how the business (and the leader, that is, you) is useful to him. If no one takes care of the employee's growth in your company, someone else will soon take care of it.

How to Properly Develop Your Employee

Here comes the individual career development plan to the rescue. The coolest mentors of top managers and entrepreneurs recommend building a 20-year strategic development plan. However, this is unlikely within one business if the person is not the founder of the company.

Therefore, for an employee, it is necessary to make a career plan for three years, divided into quarterly stages. To do this, during 1:1 meetings, ask the right questions and set the right tasks. This will help identify people who are genuinely interested in growth and immediately determine their career goals. As I did: before vacation, I asked the team to do independent work to determine key development goals:

1. Run yourself and your goals according to the GROW model.

You can find out more about it on the Internet - there are many descriptions of work and mechanics in Google. You or your employees need to answer the following questions:

  • What do I want?
  • Where am I now?
  • What could I do?
  • What will I do?

By exploring these questions, you can find another 10 inside each - more detailed and specific. And if you spend enough time on this task and answer everything, in the end you will get a formulated goal.

In this task you will be able to understand yourself better - your motivation and view of things, which also affects the process of development and the path to the goal. The questions inside are directed to an honest assessment of oneself as an effective personality. The first results of these activities you will get even before the employees start talking about them. Just ask who has done all the homework - those who found time for self-analysis and setting goals and need to build development plans. In my case, this task was completed by only 10% of employees. For the rest, IPR was not a value.

Do not look for easy ways and ask a person banal questions: who do you see yourself in a few years, or what do you want to achieve? This is likely to not work, because all you will get are socially desirable answers. As a result, some formal plan will be abandoned almost immediately, because you have not identified the real motivation and goals of the person.

Once you and the employee have built a development plan and set goals based on the tests taken, determine what competencies he lacks and what he needs to study. We make a list of courses with the employee that he needs to take, and later he writes an essay on each of them. In it, he describes what he learned and how he can apply it in life and work today. This practice eliminates the listening of courses "for the sake of a checkmark". Inside the tests there are also knowledge assessments - you can also pay attention to them.

Mistake #5. Onboarding of new employees is not given due attention.

What it leads to: a newcomer is not adapting to your company, and as a result, it will be harder for him to fit into the work.

The onboarding process - immersing an employee in working processes - is important not only for him, but also for you. This is a period when trust relationships and communication formats are established between you. If it is not so difficult to get a person to work in the office - personal communication affects, the possibility of going to lunch together and just meeting in the office, then remotely you will need to allocate a significant part of the time to establish contact and put a lot of effort into it.

🤖 reduces onboarding by 2 times and the employee reaches 100% performance much earlier.

Before onboarding, give the person an understanding that the worst thing they can do is be afraid to ask you questions. Help them in their difficulties, meet with them daily for the first few weeks. If necessary, several times a day. Be interested in how they are able to absorb information? What works and what difficulties arise? Even if the person is very proactive, you need to control their integration into the company's processes, set goals, etc.

Regular communication will help you find the key to the employee's personality: understand the main value orientations of the subordinate and convey your own.

Mistake #6. Many managers do not understand the value of 1:1 meetings.

it will lead to: the leader will be unable to establish contact and establish trust with the employee.

It seems that a large portion of managers have already understood the necessity of 1:1 meetings and at least attempt to hold them regularly with their employees. However, the way in which these meetings are conducted raises many questions.

To begin with, understand that the main mistake is considering these meetings to be work-related. You should not discuss all current tasks during them. You should only discuss what causes any problems: in terms of quality or deadlines. Also, do not delegate the conduct of such feedback sessions to someone else. Judging by the name, there should not be a third party present at a 1:1 meeting. Otherwise, trust can be forgotten. These sessions are necessary for working out your communication with the employee. Ideally, for discussing their mental limitations, concerns, hard and soft skill development. The more you understand your employee, the more you can help them and the company as a whole.

Do not forget to praise people at the meeting for their attempts, initiative and conclusions from failures and mistakes. Analyze them and find weak spots that need to be taken into account and corrected next time.

Important point: throughout the session, don't forget that both parties should have their cameras on, and such discussions should be held no less than once every two weeks.

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Mistake #7. Fear of Making Mistakes

Your colleague made a mistake or took a wrong decision that led to losses. You can react to the failure in different ways: scold and take away any desire to develop the company from the specialist or praise for the attempt and get the most valuable - experience and motivation for the employee.

But you need to praise not just for the failure, but for what follows:

Drawing conclusions.

Decisions taken as a result of analyzing errors. You need to come to the right conclusions together with your subordinate so that the experience gained is not misinterpreted.

Creating a pattern

that will teach you to share your mistakes with those around you. A brave move that will benefit both the one who made the mistake and the whole team. Such a situation will show that the acquisition of experience through one's own mistakes is more valuable than the execution of already familiar tasks. This is what builds trust within the team, which is undoubtedly a plus for you.

If you cultivate a culture of error analysis in your company, you will grow much faster than your competitors who do not do this. Failures give much more experience than success.

Mistake #8. Lack of Self-Reflection in the Leader

What will it lead to: you can miss a real problem and not fix what needs your attention.

It is important for the leader to collect feedback and about himself. Ask your employees questions:

  • What can I improve?
  • Are there any difficulties in communication?
  • How can I make your job more interesting?
  • What advice could you give me?

Self-diagnostics is a very important growth point for any leader. Ask yourself more often: "What have I taught people this month/half year?". This exercise can be done right now to assess your achievements in training for 2022.

Mistake #9. Employees do not spend time together outside of work.

What will it lead to: the team will not become cohesive and may work worse with each other.

If you think that a couple of canceled meetings due to lockdown or other reasons have not affected the team's relationships in any way - this is not true. A personal informal meeting is one of the best ways to prevent layoffs and strengthen team ties.

How to best organize it:

  1. Set a budget for organizing such parties, conferences, if you have not done so yet. Believe me, the amounts for air tickets and hotels will be much less than the subsequent costs of hiring when unmotivated employees will start looking for a replacement for you. If the HR of a competitor simply talks about "fun meetings two/four times a year" and other team communications, for a person from your team this will become a decisive factor. He will understand that here they really

want to see

him. 2. Try not to allow situations when 10 out of 15 employees had a great time together, because they are in NY, and colleagues from other cities stayed at home. After that, the whole part of the team that was not invited to the event will stop associating itself with the collective, because someone's ties have become stronger, and theirs - no. Either pay for the flight and gather everyone in one city, or divide the team into departments that usually communicate with each other. For example, the sales and marketing departments can meet. This will already benefit the employees, and the rest will not be so offended.

Mistake #10. The leader does not recognize his mistakes

What will lead to: The leader will lose his authority among the employees.

There are no Super Ideal leaders. I have never met such a person, and I am not perfect myself — that is too much responsibility. It is much more effective to recognize and accept your weaknesses, acting from the paradigm: "I know that I know nothing". This will not only help you gain new experience, incorporate it into your life, but also give the team a reason to be more loyal to you. If you know that the leader will understand you, listen to you and help you, you will be more eager to grow under his leadership.

Therefore, it is very useful for the leader to publicly recognize his mistakes or take responsibility for them. For this, it is not necessary to appear on "First Channel" or give an interview to Dudu — it is enough to make confessions within your team. This strengthens the authority and gives dividends in the form of an honest and open corporate culture, from which it is very difficult to leave. Even for a lot of money.

Yes, it sounds like something obvious, but most leaders are very scared to do this.

Under no circumstances should you invent excuses in case of failure. At the moment it will seem to you that you have convinced everyone and they believed you, but all this will return with big losses for the business — employees will stop listening to the excuses of the "ideal" boss and leave without explanation.


With these techniques, you will not only become a Sales Director that no one will want to leave even for a lot of money. You will increase the efficiency of the team - everyone works better when they understand that they are heard, want to help and are ready to treat them as a valuable asset.

It can also help in hunting - the problems described above are quite common even in large companies. So if you are looking for specialists - try to ask applicants not only about salary, but also about corporate culture. If there are problems and you can solve them for a particular person, he will be happy to work with you.

The sooner you introduce these practices in your department, the faster all your colleagues will be able to adopt them. Both the efficiency of the business and the level of motivation of the employees in the company will sharply increase:

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