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Archive for the ‘performance’ Category

Outpace the Competition By Starting the Next Selling Season NOW

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Summer is coming to a close, many kids are back in school and, if you follow business activity trends, you’ll notice that things are picking up heading into the next selling season.  Right now in early August is the time to increase your sales activity so you can gain more market share as more and more purchases are made post-summer. 

Get your team together early this month and pick a handful of activities that you need to be doing to win business during the next selling season, Sept- Nov.  Set increased activity goals in those areas for the month of August. Watch Sept-Nov sales grow because your team is increasing activity in August instead of extending your summer by an extra month like your competitors are doing.

For an agenda to lead your team through an exercise to celebrate and learn from your summer’s success while planning for success in the next selling season, subscribe to Meeting to Win weekly sales team meeting agendas. 

Join us for a great Fall Selling Season.

10,000 Hours

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I am finally reading Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.   I’ve only been carrying it around for 2 years and, yesterday, on a flight read the first half.  The concept of 10,000 hours is one of the many pages I’ve dog eared.  This is the concept with supporting examples that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert and a stand-out.  I’ve always been a believer that experience counts in sales.  Think about how much time you actually spend in front of a customer practicing your trade – 10 hours/week if you’re lucky?  How long would it take to gain 10,000 hours of practice?  19 years?  25 years? 

YIKES! 

So, if you want to be an expert, you have to find more practice time.  Here are some ideas:

  • First of all, use your weekly sales meeting as a one-hour practice session. – 1 hour/week (Who saw that coming?)
  • Role play your upcoming customer encounters with a team member or manager before the customer encounter. -  2 hours per week
  • Spend time pre-call planning – opening statements, questions, objection responses, etc – 2 hours per week
  • Take one sales training class per year. – 16 hours per year
  • Spend 2 more hours per week with customers than you do now.  – 2 hours per week
  • Regularly attend a customer meeting with a peer to observe them.  – 2 hours per month

So, adding all of this to your current 10 customer hours per week, you’ll be at 18 hours per week which would put you at expert status in half the time as your peers.  My math shows 10 years (which is how long it seems to take in any field – music, technology, sports). 

I love this concept because it means you have control over how you stack up against your peers in the marketplace.  Invest time in your trade and it pays off. 

Sales Team Meeting Idea

  • As a team, ask each person to calculate their own individual sales practice hours.  Just use number of years of experience, add in training hours and ask each team member to come up with their number.
  • Now, as a team, figure out how to get an additional 5-10 hours per week of sales practice. 
  • Commit to getting more practice and then track your performance against other sales teams in your own company.  What results do you expect?

Enjoy working on your 10,000 hours.

Toxic Workplace Turnaround

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

I had the privilege (I can say that now) of inheriting a toxic, dysfunctional, under-performing, miserable inside sales team a few years ago.  I mean this group was bad off!  Everyone was too busy to stop and actually do anything about this small group so the problems just got worse and worse until they were a sales AND HR nightmare.  It was time to do something.  So, lucky me, I was the chosen one to take this team and it’s troubles on.  This team was turned around within 30-60 days and became a model for other teams like it around the country.  I thought it might be nice to share how we made this u-turn in case their are other managers struggling with the quicksand of a team with low morale and low performance.

First, I met with the Sales Manager to hear her side of the story.  The problems were blatantly obviously and I quickly realized that her team ruled the roost and she had little control.  It was like my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Jackson (I won’t even go there!).  She had no control and the team took advantage of her weakness.

I worked with this dedicated (most would have run screaming from this mess by now) Manager to help her gain some control and respect and quickly realized this was beyond her abilities and definitely beyond her comfort.  I was able to work with my leadership and find her another more suitable role in the company where she thrives today.

I replaced her with a lady from another territory who wasn’t even currently in management.  She was in a sales role and demonstrated amazing leadership skills with her customers and internal team.  She was process oriented, genuinely cared about her team and customers and made smart decisions about creating solutions that were good for everyone.  And – she never got run over by her team mates or customers.  In fact, she had successful run and sold a business during her lifetime.  I had a gut feeling about her and, man, was I right!  The rest of the credit goes to her.

The rest of this success story belongs to this new manager.  She immediately did the following things:

  • First, this Manager just spent a week observing and getting to know the team.
  • At the end of her first week, she met with the team and acknowledged what everyone already knew.  It maybe hadn’t been said out loud, but this new manager said it. No one had confidence in this group, no one respected this group and they didn’t operate like a successful team. 
  • She didn’t necessarily make it personal. There are characteristics of successful teams across organizations and this team did not have most of those characteristics – sales process, goals, work time expectations, etc.  She simply pointed this out.
  • She regularly spent one-on-one time with each team member to find out their frustrations, personal goals, skills and motivations.
  • She partnered with me and HR along the way as she began to enforce company policies (tardiness, dress code, etc) and implement performance plans.
  • She quickly identified a troublemaker on the team, gave her a chance to turn things around and, in the end, fired her.  That was the only loss on her team. (A good example for the rest, too!)
  • She very clearly communicated her own performance and conduct expectations as the Manager of this team.
  • She stood up for her team when needed.  This team had done so many things wrong that even when something wasn’t necessarily their fault, the blame still landed there.  This Manager put a stop to that right away.
  • She started a communication plan with the departments her team regularly worked with.  They all became great partners with their extended teams instead of a thorn in one anothers’ sides as they had been.
  • She had confidence in her team’s ability to contribute positive sales results to the organization.  She had charts and posters posted all over the office showing them on the way to or at goals they had never come close to achieving.  They were becoming confident and proud of their contributions.
  • She shared these reports with me so I could “brag” on this team to senior leadership, also.  It was a PR campaign and everyone began to see this team in a different light.  They actually began to figure out ways to utilize their services more because it meant success to them.
  • She stayed very close to the quality and workload of the team and added to the team as they got busier and busier.  She made this a place to work and she had the pick of candidates from an internal pool.  NO ONE wanted to work there even 6 months prior.
  • We paraded senior leaders through there when they came to town to visit and asked our local senior leaders to make this department a regular stop. We realized this was highly motivating for them as they had been ignored and, quite honestly, avoided during the troubled times.  They were really proud of their environment and loved showing it off.
  • In the end, there were a successful team with clear sales activity and professional expectations, they were accountable to activity and sales goals, followed a repeatable sales process, executed a consistent internal and external communication plan, celebrated wins, examined losses and are enjoying successful careers today.

Being part of this team could have been a huge setback in the young careers of these inside sales people.  Instead it was an experience that launched many great careers.  The key throughout each of our steps was communication.  We communicated daily and sometimes hourly in the first 30 days.  It was so bad we actually considered shutting the doors and starting over.  It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my career.  If you are faced with a toxic team, partner with your boss and HR team and get them turned around this month.  It takes a lot of energy, heart and even tears, but it is so worth it.  That team isn’t happy being miserable either – they just don’t know how to fix it.  Step in and improve the lives of each and every one of them – including you.

Good luck!

This post brought to you by Meeting to Win.  Have positive weekly sales team meetings by subscribing to Meeting to Win Sales Team Meeting Agendas.  Coming soon – The Summer of Momentum.

Sales Team Meeting Idea – Sales Performance Book Club

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

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Sales Team Meeting Idea – Sales Performance Book Club

We at Meeting to Win are on a mission to end boring sales team meetings.  Boring sales team meetings put sales teams to sleep right at the beginning of the selling week when they should be at their very best.  The last thing salespeople should have to do is recover from their sales team meeting so they can be productive each Monday.  As part of our mission, we want to share a sales team meeting idea for Sales Managers who share our passion. 

Sales Team Meeting Idea – Sales Performance Book Clubs

As a team,

Choose a business or sales book from Amazon.com (choose your own or subscribe to Meeting to Win and follow along with our quarterly Sales Performance Book Club – includes Discussion Guide and Chapter Exercises).  Cover one or two new chapters each week during your weekly sales team meeting.  Assign the chapters to the members of the team.  Each week give them 20 minutes of the agenda to lead the team on that chapter’s topic. 

They can:

  • Lead a discussion on the information in the chapter.
  • Ask the team to apply the lessons to their own business.
  • Practice skills or ideas from the chapter.
  • Pull one or two key lessons from the chapter.
  • Set one action item based on the work done during this meeting.
  • Get creative – give them the chance to do whatever they want with the chapter.  You’ll see a new side of some team members.

Meeting to Win provides Sales Performance Book Club discussions each quarter as part of our Sales Meeting Agenda Subscription.  We cover one new book each quarter.  Next one, Mind of the Customer, starts in April 2010.  Join us by subscribing today.

Join the MISSION TO END BAD SALES TEAM MEETINGS by having motivating sales team meetings that inspire your team to perform.  Everyone wins!

Post brought to you by Jill Myrick, Owner of Meeting to WinMeeting to Win provides Sales Team Meeting Agendas PLUS for Sales Managers who want to lead great sales team meetings.

10 Ways for Sales Managers to Ruin Their Reputation and Lose Their Team’s Respect

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Nice title, huh?   This article, although the title may suggest otherwise, is presented in a positive tone.  There are actually more than 10 common practices that Sales Managers use that do more to frustrate their teams.  Avoiding these practices takes planning and a strategic approach to sales management which is often lacking.  Across the board organizations spend way more teaching their salespeople process and strategy than they do for their sales managers.  Sales managers are really left to figure it out on their own.  So, after polling many salespeople and using my own experience as a salesperson and a sales manager (not that I ever did any of these things!), I thought I would share a list of 10 Ways for Sales Managers to Ruin their Reputations and Lose their Team’s Respect.

1.  Hold boring, unproductive or negative sales team meetings.  I own Meeting to Win - clearly I’m passionate about this one.  It’s a reputation killer!

2.  Keep introducting the ”flavors of the month”.  A Sales Manager gets an idea from a book, a colleague or divine inspiration.  They march in Monday morning with “we are going to start….”.  It usually comes with a new report, a task force or, at the very least, additional meetings.  It dies in a week with no acknowledgment.  It just quits coming up and salespeople learn to stop taking this stuff seriously.

3.  Don’t protect selling time.  Sales Managers who blindly ablige senior management emergency reports and other fire drills without ever putting up resistance in the protection of selling time are not helping their salespeople succeed.  Salespeople begin to see them as the enemy working against their progress.

4.  Hire bad team members.  The team knows it and it affects the team’s performance and culture immediately.

5.  Don’t address disruptive or underperforming reps in a timely manner.  The team is watching how the managers address or put up with these things.  Managers who address these things early and positively create a culture of performance.  The opposite does, well, the opposite.

6.  Don’t stand up for the team members.  Sales Managers are a bit like parents.  Discipline in private, praise in public. Salespeople need an ally, it should be their Sales Manager.

7.  Take the credit for the team’s successes.  Sales Managers who have successful teams do get the credit, they don’t need to give it to themselves.

8.  Pass the blame for the team’s failures.  This is an ugly one.  Again, Sales Managers are getting the blame even if they try to pass it elsewhere.  They just need to own it and fix it.

9.  Forget what it’s like to be on the front lines.  Sales Managers too often lose the feel for the field.  They get too busy to get in the field, too.  Sales Managers need to spend 3 days a week in the field with their reps and not lose the feel.

10.  Mess up on a customer meeting.  Sales Managers should enhance a customer meeting, not ruin hard work.  Enough said.

BONUS:  A rep just shared this great one with me!  Schedule one-on-ones or meetings and then continually cancel and postpone them.  The team members are planning around and preparing for these and emailing them to postpone the meeting for an hour or even 10 minutes is disrespectful and rude. 

If you are guilty of any of these, now is the time to address it.  Your reputation depends on it.

17 Best Practices of Top Performers by Kelley Robertson

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

This week’s Meeting to Win sales team meeting agenda is called Best Practices of Top Performing Sales People.  We highlight Kelley’s article as a starting point for sales teams to create their own list and close the gap between their own performance and that of the very top performers in their own organizations.  Enjoy the article.  To get the agenda, subscribe to Meeting to Win now.

17 Best Practices of Top Performing Sales People by KelleyRobertson

Many people wonder what separates a top performing sales person from the rest of the pack. In most cases, it’s because they apply a number of best practices in their daily routine. Here are 17 best practices of top performing sales people.

Read the rest…