Episode OneHundredFiftyNine

Effective Global Remote Communication

Guest: Kaveh Sarhangpour, BD Manager, Product Partnerships at Square

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About This Episode

If you travel for work, your whole schedule has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

You’re trying to figure out how to work remotely… not just staying connected to your office but around the world.

I got to talk to Kaveh Sarhangpour, BD Manager, Product Partnerships at Square, about his insights into adjusting to remote work life.

“Today I solve for three problems,” Kaveh said. “What are the products that businesses around the world need to run their day to day operations that we don’t have? What are products out there that enhance the functionality of our products? Which of our products don’t meet the needs of 5% of consumers?”

Effective remote communication techniques

The coronavirus pandemic has already changed our communication styles.

Some people are trying to conduct business as usual, some are leading with empathy (good choice), and others are looking at this as a chance to exploit uncertainty.

Kaveh told me about 3 strategies he has found are tried and true when communicating remotely.

1 — Asynchronous communication

One thing that workers in an office have that remote workers don’t is water cooler banter, which amount to impromptu brainstorm sessions.

“A lot of people working remotely feel like they’re bothering other people or they feel like everything has to be super formal,” Kaveh said.

He gets around this by using Slack to check in on people and ask them informally to brainstorm.

He also puts 15-minute weekly “stand up” meetings in people’s calendars — with the caveat that these are casual and optional.

“I create this casual space where I can be one of the members of the team,” he said. And he doesn’t limit this to people in his own department, either. “I just want to build a closer working relationship. These aren’t massive time commitments out of your day, and giving them optionality is a key to it.”

Building strong cross-functional ties in a remote space that doesn’t have any centralized teams relies on the same casual, frequent, short interaction that you’d find in a traditional office.

2 — Time blocking

With remote work, it doesn’t matter if you spent 40 hours or 10 hours on delivering a project.

What matters is the result. “My other little trick is to carve out those blocks in your calendar,” Kaveh said. “Specifying what you’re going to do in a certain time really matters.”

Literally nothing is keeping you from going on a walk in the middle of the day. But if you know you have a big project coming up, well, don’t pull an all-nighter like a college kid. 

Create dedicated time in your calendar for certain activities so that you and everyone knows what you’ll be doing and when. Work as efficiently as possible, yes, and then move on to the next task.

3 — Goal alignment

If you’re a manager of a team or an account, be sure that you stay plugged in to the company’s goals.

This will help you serve those you’re leading by knowing when to be flexible (usually always) and when to provide more practical support.

I mean, the best way to get the outcome you want is to have the other person present it to you. You can achieve this through speaking the same language and being collaborative in your problem-solving process.

“If you’re just flinging requests to someone who doesn’t know you, doesn’t understand the problem, is unfamiliar with your market, it’s not going to happen,” Kaveh said.

Remote work requires true collaboration and goal alignment for success.

“At Square, the expectation is we win when the customer wins,” Kaveh said. “It is the biggest time where we’re willing to be empathetic.”

The best communication style is education

So I mentioned 3 approaches — business as usual, empathy, and opportunistic — but Kaveh gave an even more valuable insight on the best communication style right now.

“Millions of sellers today probably care about maybe three things right now,” Kaveh said. (Keeping the lights on, taking care of their employees, and taking care of their families.)

“Focus on what they’re worried about,” Kaveh said. Not in the sense of compounding their fears but truly recognizing how you can help them with their nearest concerns.

“It’s the time right now to educate instead of upselling. The best upselling is educating today,” Kaveh said.

Your CTA should sound like this: Here are the products we have, and here is how we think they can help you. Call us when you want to.

“What we’re seeing in the market right now is a frenzy for information and expertise,” Kaveh said.

The most important thing to say in these circumstances? Here’s our offering. We’re here for you.

“Your customers are still people,” Kaveh said. “They’ll remember that you were there supporting them, and they’ll stick with you.”

To continue this conversation about remote communication techniques, connect with Kaveh on LinkedIn.

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.


About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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