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Using our offsite sales reps example, you might decide to send a group email once a week, and in it provide information sales reps want. You'll also add information that you want to convey to them, especially information about benefits of targeting and margins.
In addition, you'll also call each rep individually once a month to review his or her personal performance. In these calls, you'll deal with their individual performance. You'll also ask about their particular needs and wants, and try to satisfy those needs.
As well as developing strategies and tactics, you'll also schedule some evaluations. Periodically, you'll sit down and ask yourself how well offsite people are targeting and what proportion of their sales come through high margin products.
If they're doing well, you'll stick to course you set earlier. On other hand, if performance doesn't meet your standards, then you could look at increasing number of contacts, and duration of each contact. Maybe you need to bring everyone into office once a quarter, while still maintaining your weekly group mailing and individual contacts monthly.
In summary, as number of offsite employees and service providers increases, pressure to develop plans to communicate with them will grow as well. To make most of this communication, start with strategic issues that define why you want to be in contact with them, and why they would want to be in contact with you.
Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Learn how you can use communication to help achieve your goals, by reading articles or subscribing to this ad-supported newsletter. An excellent resource for leaders and managers, at: http://www.communication-newsletter.com