Friday, October 17, 2014

What to Discuss During a Sales Meeting

You've won the next role in your career! You're now a Sales Manager for first time. Congratulations!As you look at your Team and assess their strengths and weaknesses and plan out how you will work with each of them you are struck by the realization that very soon you will have to hold your first sales meeting. You think and reflect on your own experiences and begin to consider what should be in your Sales meeting.Yes you will look at numbers and talk about quotas and targets, but what else? How should you talk about the numbers?I would suggest that the following are essential items to running a successful sales meeting:1. Communicate: If there are messages from your Leader or Senior Management that need to be passed down to your Team, this is the perfect time to do it. Not only will all your team members be getting the information at the same time, but you will have the opportunity to address any questions or concerns and - at a minimum - take feedback back to your management.2. Review and Assess: This is your opportunity to look at the targets, achievement and forecasting of each salesperson. There are, of course, varying philosophies on how this should be done and what should be shared. Some Managers prefer not to share the individual results, but rather focus on the Team. Personally I believe that salespeople are not only competitive, but also very aware of the perceptions of their peers. As such, I tend to perform a 'stack ranking' of the Team - listing all of the individuals, their quotas, the attainment percentage, the commitment that they made to you on behalf of the organization and very clearly asking each member publicly to declare where they will land and with which clients. While this may seem a little like putting your salespeople on the spot, it also makes it clear that there are no favorites on your Team and that everyone needs to be prepared to declare not only to you - but to their peers. In essence it builds accountability not only to you, but also to the whole Team.

3. Helping each other: Often members of your team will have differing levels of experience with the organization. Opening the floor to seek help does a few things. Firstly if anyone can help or provide information on the items shared in #2, this provides a safe forum to do so. Secondly it makes it clear to the Team that you do not have all the answers. I always like to remind my Teams that if I am the smartest person in the room we have a serious problem because each person will bring unique knowledge and perspectives to challenges at hand and I will not - and should not - have all the answers. Thirdly this approach will enable the Team to truly form as a Team. Sales is unique in most business functions in that there are a group of individuals that are rewarded by their personal performance and not necessarily by a Team target. Using this approach will enable the team members to freely ask their peers for assistance and build their own personal credibility/brand by helping their colleagues.4. Educate and Practice: These two elements will change each meeting based upon what the organization has you working on. Perhaps you will be learning about a new product or promotions in the marketplace. Perhaps you will be looking at the profile of a certain competitor and learning how to handle objections related to that competitor. At other times you may want to use this time to 'sharpen the saw' - practicing sales interactions, working through opportunities, working on scripts that they may use in their day to day sales lives.5. Offer Help and Motivate: Every one of your sales meetings should end with this element. Offer your assistance publicly to everyone. Finish on a motivational note. Tell a story that is relevant to their challenges and how they could overcome that challenge.While there are many other elements that may come up in a Sales Meeting, theses are the Top 5 things that I build into every meeting and are a good start as you begin your sales management career.

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