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Managing part-time/remote sales team - advice?

Discussion in 'Employment & HR' started by RebeccaE, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. RebeccaE

    RebeccaE UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 2 Likes: 0
    I'd greatly appreciate advice on managing part-time and remote sales teams. We have had issues with some of our sales people showing up late to weekly sales calls and/or not showing up at all. They've called in last minute saying they won't be able to attend, sometimes not evening calling in at all to let us know, etc. Their excuses vary, but almost always they say they were with a potential sale. I understand wanting to close a sale and spending time with a potential client to do so, but when they're late to the weekly sales call or just go completely MIA I can't do my job to help support them in their sales, and it also feels disrespectful of my time as well as the other staffs' time. I wonder if the sales people were full-time and/or in an office if it would help improve communication? If anyone else has had issues in this area, I'd greatly appreciate the insight and advice!
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: RebeccaE Member since: Jan 4, 2017
  2. obscure

    obscure UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 1,774 Likes: 346
    Inform them that attendance is mandatory not optional.
    Inform them that failure to attend is disrespectful to the people who do make time to attend and prevents the company properly supporting them.
    Inform them that failing to manage their time properly by scheduling meetings prior to this meeting is unacceptable.

    If someone fails to attend without a very good reason take disciplinary action in accordance with your company's disciplinary policy.
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: obscure Member since: Jan 18, 2008
  3. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 5,355 Likes: 2,135
    Are these sales calls really so important that life cannot go on without them?

    Assuming that the sales teams are all on commission, shouldn't they be out there, selling, rather than listening to you?
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
  4. RebeccaE

    RebeccaE UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 2 Likes: 0
    To obscure, it's difficult to enforce any kind of disciplinary policy on them since they're both contractors, not employees.

    To The Byre, yes without sales for the business there's no business. They're on base + commission, both haven't sold in this area before so it's important that they listen to us to understand what they're selling and the business can support them in every way possible. I would think that a weekly 30 minute meeting to update the business on their sales activities has minimal impact on their selling time.
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: RebeccaE Member since: Jan 4, 2017
  5. obscure

    obscure UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 1,774 Likes: 346
    I assume your contract states that they must take direction from the staff/directors? If so Direct them that these sales calls are not optional for the reasons you stated above. If they refuse to comply with your instructions they are in breach of contract and should be dealt with accordingly.

    Having said that I wouldn't suggest just hitting them over the head with a big stick. They may in fact feel that these calls are unnecessary so explain why you feel they are necessary (as you stated above). Also point out that even if they are fully capable you don't know that yet and the calls also help you/your team to get a better idea of their capabilities. Offer to revisit the issue in a few months once they have shown that everything is good.
    Posted: Jan 6, 2017 By: obscure Member since: Jan 18, 2008
  6. STDFR33

    STDFR33 UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 2,159 Likes: 512
    1. You workers do not have the security of employment.

    2. Their income is driven by commission.

    3. The time taken to attend the sales call could be the difference between them making a sale that or not, i.e. making some money that day or not.

    If you want the ability to dictate how they spend their working day you need to employ them.

    If the updates are so important, send them a detailed email that they can read at their own leisure.
    Posted: Jan 6, 2017 By: STDFR33 Member since: Aug 7, 2016
  7. You can use Slack, it is a communications platform that lets you create different channels and grant permissions for each. As a manager, you can keep different channels open for each of your necessary tasks and teams, keep track of those conversations, and make sure everyone stays informed. It can be used on any device, so you will always know what is going on, wherever you are.
  8. lesliedocherty

    lesliedocherty UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 1,916 Likes: 252
    Personally, i don't think a 30min call once a week is asking too much, if anything its too little,
    I do agree with you in the aspect that you know this field and your help/advice can be the difference between them succeeding/failing.
    Posted: Feb 2, 2017 By: lesliedocherty Member since: Jun 17, 2006
  9. ethical PR

    ethical PR UKBF Legend Free Member

    Posts: 6,002 Likes: 1,339
    Do you pay them to attend this meeting? If you don't you are in effect asking them to pay for it, so I can see why they might be disgruntled.
    Posted: Feb 3, 2017 By: ethical PR Member since: Apr 19, 2009
  10. Nochexman

    Nochexman UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    Posts: 1,200 Likes: 202
    This sounds like them telling each other about their sales activity; is that the case?

    If it is then maybe they don't think it is a good use of their time?
    Posted: Feb 3, 2017 By: Nochexman Member since: Jun 14, 2011
  11. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    Posts: 6,973 Likes: 1,748
    have you tried asking them if they find the call valuable, or what could be done to make it valuable to them, or do you see it purely as you imparting information that you think they need to know?
    Posted: Feb 3, 2017 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
  12. David Dunning

    David Dunning UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 4 Likes: 0
    1. Firstly, do you have a written agreement with the Contractor(s) that specifies the work required of them?

    Also Relationship of the Parties, Payments, Liability, Confidentiality, Taxation, Duration and termination?

    That said: - this is more important.

    2. You are paying a base, so the requirement to attend your sales calls should be written into (1). Give them 3 chances (I would do this inside a small time frame given the info in your post, i.e. one week to ensure compliance), document it and change the people if they won't comply.

    You are paying money for someone to do something. If they don't do it, dispense with them. You won't be taken to a employment tribunal.

    3. Whatever you decide, you should micro manage their time for the base you are paying them. Get them to send a list to you of calls made and to who for each day.

    Check a few out. You will discover something rather quickly.
    Posted: Feb 3, 2017 By: David Dunning Member since: Feb 2, 2017
  13. Karen R

    Karen R UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 3 Likes: 0
    I'd say this is the way forward, but perhaps with a bit more dialogue - get their perspective on things. It might be useful. "And" is a good word, as in "it's important for you to be at these meetings AND it's important for you to [whatever their perspective is]" Then invite them to problem-solve with you.
    Except with the most intransigent people, this is always a better option than resorting to the legalese.
    Posted: Feb 26, 2017 By: Karen R Member since: Feb 26, 2017