🏀 The (Sales) Final Four 🏀
Meetings. So many we participate in or are required to attend. What trumps all are the prospect and customer-facing sales calls, but that's a given for sales pros. Instead, for today, we build a bracket based on some of the most common internal meetings we could have as a team or individually with our manager.
The purpose is to identify which get-togethers to prioritize and schedule on a consistent cadence to find the signal, avoid the noise, and drive high performance. We present four "regions" with four meetings like March Madness.
Let's dribble and drive-in!
Region #1 – The Numbers
Inspecting data and numbers in our formulaic profession is unavoidable. To hit our goal, we need to understand the equation of Activity x Pipeline x Qualified Opportunities x Win Rate x Average Deal Size = Quota Attainment.
Tracking progress with our monthly and quarterly pipelines throughout the year empowers us to forecast confidently. The "Pipeline Cleanup Meeting" is a necessary evil that eventually gets eliminated once our teams understand how crucial CRM data hygiene is to operate at a high level.
Some sample questions to ask:
- Which opportunities have expired Close Dates?
- Which deals are 90+ days old? Why?
- Should any open opportunity be closed as lost? Why?
- Is every pursuit in the right stage at the correct dollar value?
The "Team Pipeline Meeting" is different. Instead of scrubbing for potential errors, we evaluate the health of our pipeline. Leaders could focus at the team level or ask each rep to present the state of the business.
Some sample questions to ask:
- What is our pipeline to quota ratio (at least 3x for inbound account executives or strategic account managers, 5x for outbound account executives)?
- Is our pipeline growing at the right pace?
- What's behind the number going up or down?
Dissecting our pipeline gives us more confidence in our "call" or forecast as a rep and leader for the month and quarter. Meeting with our manager to break down "Best Case" and "Commit" scenarios are worthy discussions, but forecasting weekly as a team provides more benefits.
Some sample questions to ask:
- What is our forecast for the month?
- What is our forecast for the quarter?
- What changed since last week and why?
- What actions will close the gap or improve results?
- What's our downside and upside?
The winner: Team Forecast
Region #2 – Growth
In September, we published 5 Ways to Say RIP to the PIP. Even HR and legal concerns can be avoided with early intervention and coaching with struggling reps. The "PIP Meeting" gets crushed in this tournament.
Far more worthy is structured (unstructured works too!) 1:1 conversations centered on career growth. Setting aside time to talk about personal and professional goals drives high performance. And high performance leads to more responsibility, promotions or internal transfers, and other developmental opportunities.
The value of career conversations doesn't replace holding our managers accountable to coach in one-to-one and team settings. The "Team Huddle" gets a slight edge because it scales things like focus, recognition, and teamwork as a collective group, whereas the manager-rep 1:1 is the maintenance check on our performance.
Some ideas to ignite our team huddles:
- Share and discuss clips from a sales podcast.
- Break down a recorded sales call snippet.
- Pick one skill, like negotiation, to work on all month.
Although the "game" goes into overtime, the "Career Conversation 1:1" wins by keeping us engaged, maps out clear goals for us to strive for, and inspires us to perform at a high-level.
The winner: Career Conversation 1:1
Region #3 – Development
Modern sales organizations invest heavily in their tech stack. CRM, sales automation, call recording, and contact databases are examples. Knowing how to use and leverage these sales tools is essential to our performance. The same goes for product training. But articulating the value and the impact behind the product matters more than features and functionality.
Consider learning huddles to develop critical selling skills instead of traditional product or technology training. Recognize high-performers by giving them a chance to lead and present on a topic that resonates team-wide. Bring other teams that support sales to level up our selling game.
Some examples of learning huddles:
- Invite legal to present talking points for prospects who request changes to our standard terms of service.
- Who would buy our product internally? Ask them to present a "day in the life" to learn more effective messaging and key pitching points.
- Recognize a top seller by asking her to present the how and why she's leading in specific sales metrics.
In the last five years, the most significant game-changer to sales is call coaching. Recording tools like Chorus.ai and Gong.io make it easier than ever for managers to listen, leave comments on what went well (or didn't), and score sales meetings based on pre-built scorecards.
The best sales managers use two real-time call coaching tactics as development opportunities:
- Manager and rep co-listen together, breaking down an entire call for in-the-moment coaching rather than asynchronously.
- Managers provide call support and join reps in the sales meeting showing "what good looks like" in real-time.
The winner: Call Coaching
Region #4 – The Deals
The beauty behind the "Team Deal Review" is how cross-functional leaders come together to understand sales is truly a team sport. We can't do it alone (nor should we).
Taking the prospect and customer on the journey to closed-won on our key opportunities requires a lot to go right. A deal could involve special service requests, unique contract terms, a product trial, or intense competition.
Bringing our CEO and leaders from customer success, professional services, and legal into these deal reviews accomplishes two things at once:
- Non-sales leaders get exposure to real-time market feedback and current challenges to winning key deals.
- Sales teams get crucial help from the business and feel supported.
Deal reviews between manager and rep serve a purpose in driving high-performance but to a lesser degree. And don't forget to take time as a team to celebrate each win or diagnose what happened in a critical loss.
The winner: Team Deal Review
Prioritize these four internal meetings below to drive our teams to greatness. Other meeting types are essential and make an impact too. But to hit our revenue targets, keep our reps engaged, and build a special sales culture, bet on these four to move the needle.