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Jason Volny

Jason Volny National Training Manager

Exclusive Blog Posts

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Managing Your Team Remotely: Managing Activities, Not Results.

 

Every good leader is looking for ways to improve how they manage and motivate their teams. We are facing some unique challenges in 2020. The need for flexibility and for understanding the needs of our sales and BDC employees is greater than ever. With more and more people practicing social distancing, how can we introduce remote employee processes at our dealerships and not see a drop in performance? Better yet, is it possible to improve performance by allowing employees to work remotely? This is a big question to answer with a lot of different parts. First, let’s review a key principle that needs to be part of any team, remote or in-person.

What’s Wrong with Watching the Scoreboard?

What is your focus when determining if you or your team are successful? Do you focus on the number of units sold and the revenue generated? It’s tempting to have this be your north star when conducting business. After all, deals closed, revenue generated and satisfied customers are the outcomes that any profitable dealership should strive for.

But when it comes to your focus on a daily basis, when managing you or your team, you shouldn’t be managing the results. That’s like a coach fixating on the scoreboard but ignoring his players and expecting to be able to call a last-minute timeout and deliver the master plan to his players that will win the game. That game is probably not going to end well.

The coach should be focusing on the movement of his team, how well they are executing on the game plan or how they are adapting to the other team. In other words, the coach should be focusing on the activity of his players, while occasionally checking the scoreboard. 

So Which Activities Should I Focus On?

You will need to determine which activities lead to the results you want and which activities are key to the success of your team. They will vary by department, job role and dealership. But we think there are a few safe bets for you to focus on. For example, sales reps and BDC agents should be focusing on activities like: 

1. Dials made

2. Contacts

3. Appointments set

4. % of task completion in CRM

These aren’t the only activities you should watch, but you get the idea. If your focus is on the right activities, the results will come. Emphasizing the importance of activities forces your team to avoid distractions and only spend time doing things that lead to results. 

It’s tempting to pick too many activities to track. This creates noise among your team and detracts from the most important activities. Be disciplined and focus on only the most important activities.

Focusing on the activities allows you to coach your team much more effectively. If the results are down, the explanation will be in the activities. Without these insights, the best advice you could give would be “sell more.”  But if you manage to the activities, you can identify opportunities to coach. For example, if someone is hitting their dials metric and getting in touch with customers, but they aren’t hitting their appointments set number, you know where you should focus your efforts. You’ll be able to predict results much faster based on this focus on activities and make the needed adjustments ahead of time. 

How Do I Manage These Activities Remotely?

Managing these activities remotely depends on good communication that takes place consistently. It’s crucial that both you and your team clearly understand which activities are being managed and what benchmarks they are expected to reach. These activities and benchmarks should be internalized by the whole team and should be top of mind. Everyone on the team should understand these activities inside and out.

Next, you need a consistent system of recording how successfully each team member is performing these activities. This system should be accessible to the entire team and should always be up to date. Leverage the CRM as the most important system of record, but if this isn’t feasible for some of your metrics (number of social posts, for example) you can use other reporting methods such as Google Sheets or Excel online.

Now that the activities are clearly understood by the entire team and you have started collecting data, you have the ammunition to effectively manage your team and adjust the dials where needed.

 

You should be checking the progress of each team member multiple times per day. We suggest once to kick off the day and again to close out each day.

Ultimately, identifying, communicating, and managing to metrics is the key to managing your team remotely.  It isn’t the only component of the process, and we’ll cover more in later posts, but if you don’t take the time to define activities, the rest of the process won’t be effective.  

With more and more customers practicing social distancing, you need to optimize the performance of your team.  A successful management process begins with the activities.


R. J. James

Jason... THANKS for these insights on employees working remotely.  This will be a REALITY for many dealerships.  Hopefully, they think, plan, and act in time!

FYI... Today, I spoke with a friend who is the IT Director for a medium-size hospital group.  She said Friday afternoon, she got an email to prepare for 400 workers to work from home.  Then Sunday, she got another email saying it will be 700 workers that will be working from home.  So now her Team has to get 700 laptops loaded with software, communication tools, and individualized SECURITY-ACCESS  programs in 2 Days.

That 700 Employees "Working-from-Home" surge was a HERCULEAN Challenge on top of the usual IT-Support demands.  She is also struggling to get IT-Technicians to respond to Service Calls on equipment in hospital rooms that already have Covid-19 patients in them.

My fear is that this Covid-19 Pandemic may chute-down more car dealerships than the 2009 Recession.

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