The Death of the Weekly Sales CallJune 23, 2014 | By Wayne O'Neill
A Case against Monday Meetings
Monday morning, 9:30 a.m. sharp: your team gathers around and begins dissecting every single one of the potential clients they’re pursuing. For up to three or four hours, you and your team members could be sitting around that same table, checking leads off your list. It quickly becomes exhausting, and before you know it, no one is listening—they’re waiting for their turn to talk, they’re checking emails, checking Twitter—they’re doing anything but listening.
Does this sound like a nightmare? Or does it sound familiar?
Does your team have a case of the Monday Morning Sales Meeting?
We’ve noticed that every time we coach a client, they have unnervingly boring, reporting-data-driven Monday “Sales” Meetings. They’ll go through between forty and fifty opportunities, and address each one. The comments are usually, “I called them, they didn’t call me back. I’ll call them again” or “I sent them a note.”
The idea seems effective. Leadership teams that implement Monday Sales Meetings have their heart in the right place: they want to talk about their opportunities. It seems harmless, but attention spans wear out quickly, and you’re left with little collaboration, input, or productive decisions made.
What I suggest
There are far more effective ways for leadership teams to collaborate. But where to start?
Consider this: shorten the meeting. The limits on human attention span in a group like that is probably forty-five to fifty minutes at the most. Talk about only your top four or five pursuits, and talk about them in depth. Discuss creative ways to connect with a client, and forget the “did you call so and so?” conversations.
Next, change the agenda. By the end of the meeting, you should be able to discover five simple things in regards to the top four or five accounts:
- Who is the Decision Maker?
- Who is the Champion?
- Who is the Navigator?
- What are the business and political issues that connect to the scope that you’re trying to make an impact with?
- What is your real differentiator that has nothing to do with the service or product that you are providing?
These are complex questions that will lead to a powerful discussion worth the full attention of your team. Find out who fills each of those roles and who is making those connections with the target clients that are “smart” as you define them.
Determine who the project delivery partners are and how those people are helping you. Are they identifying smart clients or speeding up the relationship growth with target accounts? A firm of any size needs between ten and fifteen of those partners. Connect with those people and be invested in those relationships.
Let me define help. First, what it’s not: here’s a lead, there’s an RFP, and can you put a proposal together? That’s not help. Help is: here’s a smart client and these are some of the behavior patterns that we’ve seen that will get things done.
Next element of making things effective: the meeting can’t be run by the most senior or the most verbally skilled people. It must be a mix of different psychological styles and diverse demographic style. You’ll have a better result if you mix the rainmakers with the traditionalists and have multiple generations working cohesively. I’m not against experience, I’m not against people who have been with the company for a long time, and I’m not against technical experts. But this is a crowd sourcing issue. What facilitates the change required to transform a sales meeting to a go-to-market meeting, is making it diverse.
What to expect
You’ll have people fighting to be in this meeting because they’ll be excited to learn about what’s next. They’re participating in a collaboration process rather than a reporting process. I don’t care how good your team is at being good soldiers, they don’t like being old to report, they like making an impact in front of their peers. That’s how you increase the energy of your team, and that’s what you can expect if you change the conversation to something shorter and more value driven.
Here’s the Bottom Line…
Make meetings short and make them valuable. The time they’re spending reporting is time that could be spent on securing an account.
Put a special emphasis on the relationships you have with people who can bring you work. It’s as important as going through your accounts to discover whether or not you’re engaging with the people who help you get work.
This is not decision making by committee. This is crowdsourcing. And when done correctly by somebody who is thinking about connecting as opposed to selling, it’s effective.