How to Successfully Manage a Remote Team at Your Dealership

Even before COVID-19, managing a remote team has always been a challenge. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it a necessity, whether any of us like it or not. In fact, that’s why we’ve created a special care package with resources, tools and offers to support dealers like you during this unique time, so be sure to check it out.

As  you know, consumer shopping habits have been changing rapidly in the last few years, and as a result, our work habits have been changing as well. According to Mintel, for example, 33% of Americans shop online at least once per week, while 69% shop online at least monthly. More and more businesses find that they need to accommodate this change.

After all, that’s what has helped Amazon find its enormous success in the recent years. In fact, a recent RBC Capital Markets survey found that 55% of Americans had ordered groceries online and 60% of them used one of Amazon’s services to do it. So, it’s not shocking then to find out that Amazon’s shares climbed 30% in the first two quarters of 2020, boosting the company’s market value to $1.2 trillion.

So, where does this leave RV and marine dealers? They need to look to the automotive industry to see how Amazon can beaten at its own game. For instance, Hyundai UK now lets its customers configure and purchase vehicles via its “Click to Buy” program, showing that dealers can be just as flexible as the eCommerce giant.

The first step toward this future is fully embracing remote work and communications. Here’s how you can get started:

1. Check in with Everyone, Regularly

Check in with Everyone, RegularlyFirst and foremost, you should stay connected with everyone on your remote team to maintain their productivity. The best way to do this is via Skype or Zoom meetings.

The drawback of such meetings is that they do take up time and technology can still sometimes be fickle. So, your goal should always be to make each meeting as productive as possible. Here’s what we suggest:

  • One weekly meeting. If you’re going to have any meeting, it’s best to have one at the beginning of each week to discuss the targets and activities for the week ahead and accomplishments from the previous week. That way, everyone knows what to do and what to expect each week.
  • Daily morning meetings. You should also conduct short morning meetings to go over the tasks for each day and ensure everyone is on track to meet their targets. Productivity tends to drop by the end of the week, so it’s a good way to keep everyone on their toes.

Make sure you focus specifically on the accomplishments of each employee versus the time spent online since you can’t really track the latter with any degree of accuracy. Revenue, parts/units sold and repairs are some of the things you can look at.

2. Don’t Give up on Sales

Don’t Give up on SalesEven if your sales team for parts and units is working from home, they can still add value to your business, particularly if they shift focus toward digital marketing. So, make sure they are able to communicate with customers remotely via texts, emails and social media.

Here’s what you can do to make the best of remote sales:

  • Reset targets. If you have an online presence, make sure your sales team operates with it in mind. Track the number of followers they can generate for your social media pages, their text, email and phone communications as well as their revenue for pickup and delivery orders.
  • Keep everyone motivated. Don’t let your salespeople drift about at home. Keep them motivated not just with sales commissions but through their overall performance and activities. For example, you can set up weekly Skype or Zoom calls with your team to discuss their activities, targets and achievements (big or small) and even keep score of who is doing better in various areas to drive sales through competition. Make this fun for them!
3. Set Expectations

Set ExpectationsSince most people are new to remote work, make sure your team members understand what you expect of them in this brave new world.

For example, if you need certain employees to be online at certain times, make sure they know it. If there is a specific way of messaging that’s appropriate for certain emails, texts and other virtual communications, help your team identify specific responses and situations, so they don’t make mistakes.

Don’t let anyone be confused or lost because of this – your business depends on this.

4. Stay in Touch with Customers

Stay in Touch with CustomersDid you know that according to Statista, the percentage of households with a landline telephone in the US fell from 92.7% in 2004 to 41.7% in 2018? Did you also know that the number of cellphone-only households rose to 54.9% by 2018?

Emails and texts have become just as popular as regular phone calls, if not more so, particularly among millennials and Gen Xers. Given that the modern smartphone can receive all three, it’s only logical to connect with your customers across all of them to maximize your reach.

Your current customer database is already likely populated with smartphone numbers and emails. Why not take advantage of it and communicate with customers en masse using these channels? With a proper texting and emailing platform, you can have one person manage hundreds of communications at once, instead of dealing with each customer on a one-on-one basis.

How to Manage Your Dealership RemotelyNeed More Help?

If you need more tips on how to manage to your remote team effectively, be sure to check out our new guide.

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Embrace a New Era of Customer Engagement

As you already know, the pandemic has had an enormous impact on everyone, especially consumers. That’s why we’d like to share with you our guide to customer engagement during the pandemic

IDS Guide on Customer Engagement