Weekly sales meetings are a great way to keep your team focused, and brainstorm new approaches and techniques. Ideally, they will motivate your reps to give their best. Of course, the overall effectiveness of your sales meetings depends on how much effort you put into them.
Let's talk about one sales meeting tip that will really add value to these meetings without having to stretch your bandwidth to its breaking point. Here it is. Each week, have one of your sales reps present a miniature case study of a successful sale. That's it. Seems simple, right?
This can quickly become one of the most practical and motivating pieces of your weekly sales meeting. Why do we say that? For one reason, we are hard-wired to learn through stories. Stories (including case studies) help us to retain key facts. They also enable us to form emotional connections that can motivate us to change our actions — and even our thinking patterns.
So when your sales rep shares a success story with the other team members, they'll be in a better position to emulate his or her techniques. Plus, they'll be more motivated to do so. It's like they're multiplying their own experiences by those of their colleagues!
Now, let's dive into the benefits for each person/department when you add this sales meeting tip to your weekly meetings.
This is a great opportunity for the presenting sales person to practice his/her skills. After all, a large part of the sales process is presenting information in an appealing, clear, and concise manner, right? The presenter also gets to hone his/her technical skills with PowerPoint, Google Slides, or whichever presentation platform your company uses.
Moreover, they get a chance to celebrate their recent success with the team, and receive recognition for their efforts. There isn't a sales person on the planet who doesn't love getting recognized.
The Other Team Members
Your other sales reps get some peer-to-peer feedback, and the opportunity to ask questions about what worked for the presenter, and why. As a result, the presenter's success story can be a great frame of reference for the other team members as they work with leads of their own.
Because they're learning from a peer, the other team members will be able to tap into a broader array of experiences to help them close sales. As they do so, they'll move down the learning curve more quickly, gain confidence and momentum, and improve their own sales performance. It really is a win for everyone!
The Sales Team as a Whole
When the entire team gets to share an experience like this, it coalesces as a tighter, more cohesive unit. The team gains more internal trust, a greater sense of collaboration, and a deeper level of engagement with the work, and with each other.
The Sales Manager
The concept of letting a sales rep present to the other members of your team - in effect, training them to be more effective — is "servant leadership" at its finest. Instead of thrusting yourself into the limelight, you're demonstrating trust in those under your supervision.
You're allowing each one of your sales reps to leverage his/her own unique strengths in order to achieve the goal. And then you're empowering them to tell others about their experience.
But what if a presentation doesn't go so smoothly? Here's the thing. Even a lackluster presentation provides you, as the sales manager, with a training opportunity. You get to see the sales rep in action. If he/she needs some constructive feedback, then you can provide it afterward in a private setting.
The Marketing Department
Let's not forget your marketing team. If you let them sit in on this section of the sales meeting, they'll get to hear firsthand what motivates customers to buy, and what your sales reps use (and wish they could use) to close the sale.
Plus, your marketing team can easily turn these success stories into public case studies or testimonials. If you need to align marketing and sales, this is one way to start building that bridge.
Set at New Standard with This Sales Meeting Tip
Here's the main takeaway. If you let a different sales rep present to the team each week, it will be a big win for everyone involved. Give it some thought. If you haven't tried this already, then start with one of your top performers. Trust them to set the standard for your team.
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How would you respond if someone asked you: "What's the main job of a sales manager?" Would you talk about pushing your team to meet quotas? Improving productivity metrics? Driving better performance?
Granted, when we're talking about any position in sales we can't discount the importance of the bottom line. But there's a right way and a wrong way to achieve the results you desire. The right way is to bring out the best in your team. That means supporting each individual member, mentoring him or her, and (at the same time) building a certain level of predictability into your forecasting model.
Use KPIs to Build Visibility into Your Sales Funnel
If you really want to drive team performance as a sales manager and motivate your individual employees to give their best work, then creating more visibility into the sales funnel should be one of your top priorities.
The truth is, sales reps thrive within clear boundaries. When you and your team know which Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are most important to sustained, lasting success — and why they're so important — then everyone can work together to meet the same goals. That's one critical way you can support your team.
To paraphrase Tom Petty: You don't want your people to be "out in the great wide open," sales reps without a clue.
So now the question becomes: Which KPIs should you focus on? There are a ton of crucial metrics in the world of sales, but let's narrow our discussion down to three big ones:
Let's take these one at a time, and see why they're so important to individual and team performance.
1. Sales Funnel Populations
It goes without saying that your organization needs to have a sales funnel with clearly defined stages. After all, your "sales pipeline" becomes much more predictable within such a structured framework. If it's predictable, it's measurable. And if it's measurable, it's improvable.
Once you have your sales funnel stages clearly defined (and your sales and marketing departments on the same page), you need to determine three things.
Why are these sales population KPIs so important? For one thing, they're great markers for the overall "health" of your sales funnel. If you see increasing populations, then you can expect revenue growth. If you notice decreasing populations, then you should brace yourself for revenue contraction in the near future.
These metrics also provide actionable insights. For instance, they can help your finance team forecast for future demand. They can shed light on which activities are driving growth, and which ones are ineffective. Moreover, they can provide a wonderful point of reference to which you, as sales manager, can align your teams for more stable, quantifiable growth.
2. Conversion Rates
We're specifically talking about conversion rates between funnel stages here. There are two key elements in play: the amount of time it takes to move leads from one stage to another, and the quantity of leads that make the conversion.
What are good benchmarks for your company? It really depends on your specific business and industry. However, if your percentage of leads moving from the evaluation stage (middle of funnel) to the decision stage (bottom of funnel) is low, or if it's taking those leads a long time to convert, then you'll need to make some adjustments.
Why are these two aspects of your intra-funnel conversion rate so important? Basically, for three reasons.
3. Close Rates
Finally, it's vital to understand your team's average close rate (aka "quote to close ratio," "lead-to-customer conversion rate," etc.) — both as a whole, and for each individual member. Not only does the close rate help to calculate ROI, but it also provides a baseline from which to manage your sales team.
Why are close rates so important for sales managers? Realistically, not everyone on your team is going to be a "sales superstar." But knowing the average close rate for your team can inform your expectations for new team members. In addition, knowing the close rates for individual members can provide a great starting point for your coaching/feedback sessions. This knowledge will also act as an early warning sign if someone needs extra support (for example, if a high performer's rate starts to drop month over month).
Your close rates can help you to inject a heavy dose of predictability and transparency into your sales process. They can help you set lofty but reasonable goals for each sales rep, incentivize improved performance, and forecast growth.
Leveraging KPIs for Sustained Success
There you have it: three important KPIs that every sales manager must use! If you take away one key point from the above information, let it be this:
Use your KPIs to create visibility, predictability, and accountability for your sales team — and yourself.
When your team members have clear, actionable direction and specific goals to shoot for, they'll not only be more productive — they'll be happier at their job. They'll be able to individually improve themselves. At the same time, you'll be in a better position to mentor and support them on a one-on-one basis.
Sales KPIs, when used properly, can be a dashboard for performance, both in terms of revenue and human capital. That's their true power. Don't take it for granted!
Of course, there's a lot more to the world of sales management than the three metrics discussed above. If you'd like to chew on some more practical SMB insights and advice, sign up for our newsletter; contact our team; or check out our website for valuable resources and webinars. We'd be happy to help you grow your business, one KPI at a time.
Do you have a culture of trust within your sales organization? Many companies, and managers within those companies, pride themselves on having an "open door policy." In other words, their employees can come to them at any time with work-related issues, and expect to be heard.
An open door policy is a great thing. And guess what? If your sales team is bringing up issues to you as the sales leader, that means the open door culture you've created is working. Because you've taken the lead in staying open to feedback, your team trusts you. They feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and issues with you — and hopefully with each other.
But here's the thing. You've got to do more than passively listen to your sales team's feedback. In order to build a trust culture, you have to actively listen. And then you have to act. If you fail to follow through, you may end up doing irreparable damage to your culture of collaboration — and to the trust you've built up with your employees.
Here are three basic steps you can follow to address issues that are important to your sales team in a decisive, empathetic and effective way.
1. Generate a Trust Culture by Creating a Space for Feedback
The best way to get feedback from your team is to ask for it. But it's not enough to simply ask. You have to demonstrate, over a period of time, that you're willing to really hear them out, and not take feedback or criticism personally.
In fact, the feedback you receive by simply asking could change your entire approach to team building, the workplace environment, and even your management style.
It's important to remember that your basic job as a sales manager is to help your team members become the best reps they can be. You're there to support them, mentor them, and even befriend them. When you prove to your team day in and day out that you're interested in them as people, they'll be much more willing to come to you with their issues.
2. Actively Listen to Understand
Once a team member comes to you with an issue he or she is having, it's time to really drill down to the core of the problem. Building a trust culture requires active listening.
We're not just talking about techniques like repeating your team member's statements back to him or her in your own words (although techniques like this are helpful). We're talking about making absolutely sure you understand what the issue is. Why is it affecting your rep? How does it impact your team as a whole?
Then, when you have a firm grasp on the issue, reassure your team member that you know where he or she is coming from. If you've faced a similar challenge in the past, perhaps you could mention that as well. And then it's time to transition to step #3...
3. Outline What You Plan to Do, and Follow Through
"Talk is cheap." "Actions speak louder than words." Pick any cliché you want. They're all true. If you truly want your sales rep to feel valued, highly motivated, and part of a team, then you need to clearly communicate what you're going to do about this issue.
You don't have to give out all the details. Just provide a basic outline of the next steps you plan to take. If at all possible, provide a rough timeline of when he or she can expect a resolution.
Obviously, the more mission-critical the issue is, the faster you should address it. However, don't let "minor issues" fall to the wayside. A minor issue may not be urgent on an organizational level, but it was still important enough to the rep that he or she approached you to talk about it. Not following through will damage the trust culture you've worked hard to build.
If you want your team to stay focused, to feel valued, and to give your company their best, then stick to this three-step process no matter how big or small the issue may be. For more insights on how to be the best sales manager you can be, be sure to sign up for our newsletter, contact us, or explore the valuable resources on our website.
I’m Karl Becker and I help individuals and organizations improve how they sell. My focus is on clear, concise, actionable solutions.
In short, I'll show you how to increase performance and generate more revenue.
This blog shares approaches, tools, and ideas that I have seen create success.
If you’re interested in discussing anything, please reach out.