In light of global challenges since 2020, hybrid working has become the norm. Regarded by many as the 'future' of working, it's reported almost three-quarters of US businesses are considering the standard. But what exactly is hybrid working, and how might sales intelligence fit into this plan?
What is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working concerns a dual model of in-house and remote work. Some personnel may be required to continue working in the office, for example, while others can connect off-site.
Hybrid working as a principle has grown popular as it can help drive improvements in productivity and flexibility. Cost savings in remote working, for example, are widely published. However, not all businesses are primed to adapt to working fully remote. Therefore, long-established brands may choose to retain a physical HQ and instead take gradual steps.
Hybrid working can mean individual staff splitting their time in the office and the field. For example, a sales expert may spend three days working on intelligence analysis off-site. Then, they may head back into the office for two days to report and collaborate on such data.
Crucially, hybrid working could help to gently move established businesses into the modern ideal of remote work. Remote working can improve morale, too - 76% of workers reportedly would appreciate more scheduling flexibility.
The McKinsey Report
A report into the future and potential for hybrid working published by McKinsey & Company offers exciting insights. What is immediately interesting is that most executives see the benefits of hybrid working. However, a minority actually has a plan of action in place.
Perhaps most telling is that around 4% of respondents in the McKinsey survey state they have not started considering hybrid plans. Are their companies at risk of falling behind the curve?
Digging further into the McKinsey data, this certainly seems to be the case (compared to pre-2020). Executives report en masse that customer satisfaction improved under hybrid working models (35%). Individual productivity, too, enhanced according to 58% of respondents. Tellingly, 7% commented that personal productivity significantly improved under hybrid modeling.
That's not all. Team productivity, employee engagement, diversity, and inclusion improved through hybrid working. McKinsey's survey results also suggest that productivity has improved vastly among leaders and middle-management.
Concerning sales intelligence, we can use the data relating to customer satisfaction as a precedent. Customer satisfaction and individual productivity appear to have improved parallel to each other under hybrid working. This suggests that sales teams may be feeling more empowered under more flexible working to dig deeper into statistics. What's more, the quality of intelligence may have improved as people analyze data with greater clarity.
Of course, these last points are hypothetical. We can also apply the idea that sales intel teams can spend half-week sourcing and analyzing and the remaining days collaborating. This sharing of time may help harness productivity from a sales perspective in a whole new direction.
Ultimately, the McKinsey survey data is promising. It seems to suggest that various teams - not just those in sales - could benefit from greater flexibility. But how do you even start to manage a hybrid team?
Managing a Hybrid Team
First and foremost, the immediate steps to take when setting up a hybrid working system and roster is to keep connected. Employees may leap at the chance to work in the field, but they can quickly feel disconnected or out of the picture. Therefore, it's crucial to touch regular base through digital check-ins and distance meetings (via Zoom or Teams, for example).
Support is a huge factor in hybrid team management. Just because your team is off-site doesn't mean they should be out of mind. Moreover, remote staff require more than 'whip cracking' - hybrid working models demand regular 'health checking' to ensure the team is happy and productive.
Much of this revolves around expectation setting, too. This is a new model for many people in the modern age. Therefore, before allowing your team to disperse, it's crucial to set clear guidelines and checkpoints. Ensure everyone has access to the same mission points and that there's an opportunity for questions to be raised.
Flexibility and inclusivity, too, are important. Setting up a hybrid team means that you need to eschew rigidity to a large extent. Consider opening up in various ways to your team - are there any boundaries or barriers that simply aren't productive? What's more, you must ensure all voices have a purpose and are heard - be sure to support your team's mental health, too.
How to Prepare Sales for Hybrid Working
Weaving sales intel into hybrid working doesn't have to be complex. In fact, in many ways, doing so will work to your advantage.
For example, you can take advantage of real-time resources that sales experts can access off-site and without rigidity. As McKinsey's data shows, proactivity leads to greater customer satisfaction. Therefore, sales staff who are more empowered to work off-site can chase and close deals with more passion.
It's also important to establish off-site modular training wherever possible. To ensure that all sales staff work to the same 'page', be sure to establish digital checkpoints all can access. Encourage training and development at individual paces - and measure from HQ.
However, don't lose sight of sales funnels and customer journeys. These must be clearly established from the outset regarding hybrid models and setups. Therefore, before splitting work into remote and in-house, ensure your sales teams are on-page and on-premise. As mentioned above, it pays to set up clear support channels and to be available for your team no matter where they are.
What is a Hybrid Work Schedule - and How to Create One?
The best part of hybrid scheduling is that there are multiple different models to choose from. Ultimately, you can choose to rotate three or four different teams to ensure there is always a cohort in-house. This means colleagues get to connect at least once a week.
Alternatively, it may be worth considering a 50/50 split or a 2/3 split. Deciding how to split majority/minority will depend on your individual practice and industry. Could your team work off-site the majority of the time? Is there much need at all to host cohorts on-site at all?
A hybrid schedule allows you to split who's available at HQ and who's working in the field - and when. This means that you can easily ensure face time in the office as well as freer, more flexible working off-site. The ideal, of course, is for neither mode to overwhelm or overwrite the other.
To create an effective hybrid schedule, you will need to survey your team as to what works best for them. Listen to your people! Do also look at workable templates set by big companies such as Google and Microsoft.
Ultimately, to create a hybrid schedule, you need to consider which work needs face time in the office and which doesn't. Ultimately, start with a small plan - and test pilots with individual members where possible.
Conducting Hybrid Meetings
Hybrid meetings, of course, also incorporate the ideals of splitting work in-house and off-site. Therefore, you may conduct conferences with attendees in person, and others work remotely.
To do this, you will need to ensure you have adequate technology available to ensure all voices are heard. An excellent way to hold a hybrid meeting to bring everyone together may be to encourage all to sign in virtually. This even applies if attendees are available in-house. This helps to remove the barriers of exclusion that may pop up if people are off-site.
Building hybrid meeting systems will also revolve around setting clear purposes for attendees. Ensure that each guest has a part to play and a chance to have a say. Build clear objectives early in the process, and bring in tools and programs to help encourage collaboration.
Hybrid meetings can be complex to set up initially - particularly if you are used to either virtual or physical collaboration. However, there are considerable benefits to either side of the balance.
Hybrid meetings for sales intel discussion, for example, can ensure that data from remote analysis is shared clearly. Virtual integration of presentation software and document editing, for example, can help to bolster physical face time.
Crucially, it's important to take your time with hybrid meeting plans. That said, it's essential to consider their place as part of any hybrid working model.
Is Hybrid Working the Future for Sales Intelligence - and the Workplace in General?
With the vast majority of modern employees keen to work more remotely in the future, it's safe to say hybrid working is on the rise.
As we've seen, managing and building on sales intelligence from afar can be beneficial. Hybrid working can ensure data can be shared and worked upon in person. Startups working to the hybrid standard are growing daily - with real-time data available to view through Fundz.