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The Awesome Sales Meeting

Sales Executives, Sales Operations

Three tips to turn your sales meeting from a painful status update extraction to a session that advances deals through the pipeline quicker.

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The traditional sales meeting usually has the following scenario - the sales manager holds court and goes around the horn, rep by rep for deal status updates. This is a painful, time-consuming process. The goal for the meeting is to jockey for the first update by giving the excuse of “I’ve got a demo conflicting with this time”.

When I was a sales rep – I hated that guy that always got to go first and get his update over with – because he had a “demo” that cut into the sales meeting. The rest of us had to wait our turn for the weekly extraction of information from our sales manager about our best deals and forecast – while listening to the same questions that provided mostly the same responses over and over.

Below are three tips to turn the sales meeting into a value added process without the same old updates, and as a bonus, the meeting will be completed much quicker with everyone feeling progress was made.

1. Update the CRM (as things happen) instead of just having the verbal conversation at the meeting

As significant events occur in an opportunity, update the CRM as they happen – instead of waiting for the sales status meeting to have the conversation with management. That way, top deals can be reviewed prior to the meeting. No one will have to listen to these details – and everyone can just focus on next steps.
As a bonus, all the important information is now captured about a deal related to competition, market, and price points, in addition to deal status. This all will provide for valuable analytics on deal performance. Do timely updates to the CRM seem easier said than done? Keep reading – the answer is forthcoming.

2. Focus on the best opportunities that can close first

For every sales rep, focus on the deals that are furthest along and the closest to plan, starting with next steps. Look at deals that have a lot of activity (an appointment or call every week), deals that are in the proper segment of your market based on size, industry, and contacts and also focus on deals that can happen in the sales period.

Do the above suggestions seem obvious? Yes, they are – but read on to see how this can be done without a lot of effort.

3. Set up a separate time for one-on-one sessions

Separate from the sales meeting, set up one on one sessions with the sales reps to discuss deals falling out of the pipeline. Look for deals that have no activity, that are going dark, or have competitive pressures. Then discuss plays out of the playbook for next steps – clear out any clutter in your pipeline on these deals so you are only working real qualified opportunities – deals in your wheelhouse and that have Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline (BANT).

When your sales process is working correctly – you are getting updates constantly and you can strategize more effectively at a constant rate. The sales meeting becomes more of a strategy session related to account plans - and less of a painful update process.

So, if a lot of what I mentioned in this blog seems obvious, yet hard to organize and effectively do, then click on the link below to see how to make this happen.

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Jim Eberlin