If this whole “work from home” situation has thrown a monkey wrench into your sales productivity plans, you’re in good company. So many sales pros are commiserating via LinkedIn and hilariously satirizing remote life on Instagram (which is definitely worth a read, if you want a laugh break)!
#WFH has been a bit of a learning curve for everyone, but some teams had a leg up —and there are many insights we can glean from them about how to pivot sales structures and succeed in this new environment. Take Aledade for example.
This rapidly-growing, venture-backed healthcare company based in Bethesda, Maryland serves primary care physicians across the US and its workforce spans most of the country. Aledade’s Growth team includes Provider Outreach (Sales), Marketing and Growth Operations, and like most other teams in the organization, is largely remote.
“From the beginning, Aledade established a strong remote work model that keeps employees aligned personally and professionally across the distance. This model has helped us to navigate the COVID-19 crisis without much disruption,” says Jennifer Gridley, Aledade’s VP of Growth Operations.
Certainly not every company has that foundation to rely on, so we asked Gridley to share some of her best practices to help others in the sales community navigate the uncharted waters of remote business.
Here are the highlights:
Leveraging the Regional Team Structure
Every region is experiencing the current market conditions in a different way, but Aledade leverages its regional team structure to react to the specific needs of customers and prospects on the ground.
“During the pandemic, our reps have connected prospects to local and national resources, helping them navigate financial options and secure personal protective equipment (PPE),” Gridley says. “We’ve been able to demonstrate the benefits of a partnership with us while making a difference, and that goes a long way.”
Each of Aledade’s five regions has a dedicated leader and team members who live within the region. This structure creates a local network and support system for remote team members while bridging them to the broader Provider Outreach team.
“The regional team structure keeps us close to our addressable market and facilitates relationship development, even if that’s mostly over the phone these days,” Gridley shares.
Establishing Creative and Consistent Communication
There is no water cooler in a virtual world. Developing strong communication practices is critical for companies with distributed workforces, especially amidst rapidly changing market conditions.
Here’s how Aledade stays connected:
- Company-wide weekly all-hands. Aledade holds a weekly all-hands meeting that helps employees stay up-to-date and connected as well as recognize individual and team achievements. Slack is used extensively to facilitate communication on a variety of topics within and between teams. Video meetings (largely via Google Hangout) are pervasive.
- Daily team huddles. The Aledade Provider Outreach team holds daily huddles. “It’s generally a round-robin format akin to a standup,” Gridley explains. “On Mondays, people share their big goal for the week and on Fridays we share our big win of the week. Tuesdays and Thursdays we talk about what we’re going to accomplish that day. On Wednesdays we meet a little longer and focus on a special topic, which might include a role play or we might invite a subject matter expert to teach us something new.” These daily meetings keep Aledade’s Provider Outreach team aligned and often uncover opportunities to collaborate.
- Bi-weekly updates. The entire Growth function meets on a bi-weekly basis to recognize accomplishments and share updates. The team also meets monthly for a virtual happy hour and twice a year they come together in person (if possible) for team retreats. The Growth Operations team circulates an email update every Monday morning summarizing the prior week’s Provider Outreach performance and progress toward goals. It also maintains a dynamic enablement toolkit housed in a Google Sheet workbook which is continuously updated with new resources, including email templates and evolving guidelines on messaging and tactics. “Having one source of truth on enablement drives efficiency, promotes consistency and gives us agility, which is particularly important right now,” Gridley emphasizes.
Providing Performance Transparency
Aledade has aggressive growth goals that are more important than ever to achieve. “We want to help more primary care practices stay in business and remain independent so that they can keep patients safe and out of the hospital,” Gridley explains. “Our growth goals are not represented by dollar amounts of revenue. Our goals revolve around the number of new lives under management (LUM) we can add to our network by recruiting great primary care practices to participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs) with us,” Gridley explains.
Process dictates outcomes, and Aledade monitors both when it comes to Growth. Monitoring activity allows us to see who was being contacted and to visualize comparative rates of activity and success across reps at all levels.
“We help everyone understand how they are doing individually and as a team across key performance indicators,” Gridley shares. “This helps us expose gaps and cultivate friendly competition. They also help leadership hone in quickly on opportunities for celebration, coaching or shifts in strategy.”
Maintaining the Team Mindset
Throughout our conversation, Jennifer stressed the importance of supporting your team. Whether you’re working remote for the first time or have been doing it for years, it takes effort on everyone’s part. Easing stress and tension can sometimes be as simple as personalized check-ins. Remember that whether your team is physically together or not, you’re still a team.