Sales meetings, properly run, have a tremendous impact on sales performance.
But most sales managers are reluctant to run them and, when they do, they run them in precisely the wrong fashion because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of motivation.
Why run a sales meeting?
We should touch on why before we get to how.
If you believe all of the common assumptions about sales commissions, you could be excused for presuming that sales meetings are redundant. After all, if salespeople are motivated to sell by the comp plan, why interrupt them with a sales meeting?
Of course, the comp plan does not guarantee positive behaviors (although it’s pretty-much guaranteed to drive a handful of negative ones) so it’s incumbent upon managers to engineer environments that harness salespeople’s natural motivation.
Sales meetings are the most important element of a carefully engineered sales environment.
- Enable salespeople to understand the relationship between their activities and the performance of the overall organization
- Provide salespeople with short term feedback on their performance – which is particularly important when they are working on longer-lead-time deals
- Enable salespeople to benchmark themselves against their colleagues
- Enable salespeople to drill critical communication techniques
How NOT to run a sales meeting
I suspect many sales managers are reluctant to run sales meetings because they believe that they need to put on a show for their salespeople. They need to train them and motivate them, after all.
But a good sales meeting is not a training session and it’s definitely not a motivational talk. A good sales meeting is an opportunity for salespeople to get reacquainted with the larger machine to which they belong and to compare their performance with that of their colleagues. For salespeople, this is inherently motivational.
Sales managers should be facilitating sales meetings, not presenting them. (It’s all about the salespeople. Not the sales manager!)
Sales meeting: run sheet
Let’s start with a run sheet for an ideal sales meeting.
|7:45||Team lead reviews reporting dashboard and ensures all reports are accurate: remedies if not|
|8:00||Team gathers (or logs-in) and prepares for meeting|
Review high-level metrics, in aggregate. Sales this period, activity this period and current queue sizes (forward-booked meetings, opportunities and prospects). Confirm health of overall system.
|8:15||Review metrics for each salesperson (sales, activity and queue sizes). Review list of last period’s activities and discuss what went well and what didn't go so well. Dig deep!|
|8:25||Select 3-4 late-stage opportunities and discuss what’s required to increase their velocity.|
|8:30||Select problem area (communication skill) from previous discussion, agree on ideal technique and drill as team.|
The first thing that you should notice about this sales meeting is that it’s data driven.
The sales environment is a complex one. Sales opportunities are complex. The sales value chain is complex too (with researchers, campaign coordinators, sales coordinators, salespeople and project leaders all working together to originate and prosecute opportunities). And the larger organization adds still more complexity (with sales needing to interface effectively with customer service and engineering, etc). Plus, to add insult to injury, each salesperson is likely to be engaged with up to 100 sales opportunities at any one point in time.
It’s simply impossible to have a meaningful discussion about sales without all team members staring at the one dashboard. It’s okay to voice opinions as long as they are opinions about data – as opposed to opinions masquerading as data!
You should design your dashboard around your sales meeting – and not the other way around.
If you don’t have a fancy dashboard, at a minimum, examine salespeople’s calendars in your sales meeting (in conjunction with opportunity lists in CRM). Get salespeople to use group calendaring properly – and to color-code meetings by type. Continue reading “How to run a sales meeting” »