As a sales manager, the most important one to two hours of your week is the time spent with your team in weekly sales meetings (you do have weekly sales meetings, don't you?)
The power of this event, when treated with the ''thou shalt never miss or be unprepared for the sales meeting'' priority it deserves, includes motivating your sales people, building teamwork, developing skills, and staying on track toward your most important business objective: The revenue goal.
The purpose of your sales activities is to make progress toward strategic marketing objectives — bigger picture targets that explain where you are headed in your business. Everyone can be kept on track toward these objectives by reviewing them at the sales meeting.
In order to ensure the most productive use of this valuable time, there should be only a few areas of focus for everything discussed in the meetings:
Includes the manager providing information to the sales team and the sellers updating others on what they find and experience in the market. Subjects include actual performance vs. goals and objectives, success stories, opportunities, competitor actions, and sales strategies that result in success. This is also an opportunity for the Manager to provide an update on the general status of the business and on any changes within the organization.
Providing training for your sellers on products and services, specific markets and how to satisfy their needs, sales techniques, competitors and how to sell against them, and new processes or technology improves the consistency with which your messages reach their target. Your sales people all hear the same message at the same time and have the opportunity to interact, question and understand how to apply it in their work.
Pointed questions to sellers regarding their call planning for the upcoming week or reported activity from the prior week, when used properly, are very powerful tools in helping you to evaluate how effectively your sales people are executing the strategies you have laid out using the techniques they've been taught. The key here is to measure the volume and quality of sales activities (calls, meetings, networking events, etc.) against the Plan and to constantly analyze the relationship between the activity and the results.
A powerful element in motivation and team-building is recognizing and celebrating successes. Sellers are motivated to produce results so they can share them with their peers. These frequent opportunities for positive reinforcement from the Sales Manager, and other team members, shouldn't be missed.
One of the most critical factors in successful selling is consistency – consistency of effort, consistency in the message, and consistency in the quality and service that are provided to the customer. This idea of consistency is reinforced when you hold your sales meeting at the same time, on the same day of the week, every week; when the agenda for your meeting is essentially the same every time; and when every sales meeting is made up of the same components.
Effective sales meetings are a critical element in reaching your revenue goals. Consistent, well-run, weekly meetings will help to build teamwork, develop skills and techniques, motivate your people, and keep your sales team focused on the markets and prospects that offer the greatest opportunity for success.
Tom Cline has a 28-year background in sales, marketing, and operations. He is currently a Business Development Advisor for Violand Management Associates (VMA) where he works closely with business owners and their key management staff as both a business consultant and an executive coach. To learn more about VMA's services and programs visit www.violand.com or call (330) 966-0700.