When was the last time you learned something during a sales team meeting?
When many of our teams went virtual during the pandemic, we lost that ‘learning by osmosis’ that so many salespeople relied on to learn what was working and what wasn’t. There’s a lot to be learned from overhearing sales calls from our peers.
So how do we create that environment where junior salespeople can learn from their senior peers and sales leaders can better coach their teams when so few of us actually meet as a sales team anymore?
It comes from treating our salespeople like they should be treating their prospects. That means selling them on the value of team meetings.
That’s why we sat down with Jeff Bajorek, CEO of Rethink The Way You Sell. He’s been helping turn sales teams around for years and understands what it takes to not only get better results on a sales team, but build better culture.
He said that leaders have to ask a critical question before teaking the time to pull their salespeople together:
“Would they pay money to attend this meeting?”
Because salespeople are paying money to be at a team meeting – it’s taking time away from their other prospecting and sales efforts.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Jeff recommends starting this system from the moment a new salesperson is hired, as it’s then that we can begin learning about them, their goals, and their personalities so we can get the flywheel of performance spinning and learn what goals they have outside of work.
This means not waiting until your weekly meetings to build relationships with your team. Instead, just as in selling to prospects, effectiveness begins with knowing what you’re trying to get out of the folks on the other end of the table.
And that should be to help them, first and foremost. Don’t begin this sales system by simply putting a meeting on everyone’s calendar. Instead, map out what everyone on the team needs to be successful and happy so you can ensure your meeting gets you closer to that goal for everyone.
R – Repeatable: To make this system repeatable, Jeff says to start off with knowing what your sellers need to hear and discuss. Otherwise, your meeting should be a memo.
Sellers are externally motivated, so Jeff recommends starting off team meetings by finding something you can highlight from every member of your team. Whether it was their performance or their pinch-hit solution for a peer, a leader has to map out what each salesperson on their team needs in order to feel valued and to feel like they’ve grown as salespeople.
The reason this type of system isn’t a checklist is because every salesperson is going to need something different out of you as a leader and everyone can’t be treated the same way. We have to inspire our salespeople to understand that when they do what we need them to do, everyone wins!
Just as with a sales call, it’s imperative for the leader to always own the next step. No matter what change individuals or your entire team has committed to during the meeting, ensure that you own the accountability for everyone. Track follow-up in your calendar so that great ideas don’t just stay in the team meeting room – ensure your folks use them!
I – Improvable: To ensure you’re improving the way you’re running your sales team meetings, Jeff advises us to keep our finger on the pulse of our team. Is it a fun team to work with? Are there any energy vampires? Are our folks engaged in the meeting or going through the motions?
The answers to those questions will dictate how we improve what we do as leaders. Even if our team experiences little turnover, the lives of the people on the team will change and it’s crucial that we kee up with those changes as they will affect our salespeople’s motivations. We wouldn’t leave learning a prospect’s motivation to chance and we shouldn’t leave our salespeople’s motivations to chance either.
M – Metrics: Jeff says that to measure the success of how you’re running your team meetings, you shouldn’t just measure their sales results. Rather, he says to measure whether or not your culture is on fire?
That means that we need to measure the performance of our people the same way we measure client satisfaction. Are they coming back excited? Are they telling their friends how great it is to do business with you?
Once we move beyond ‘beating our team until morale improves’, we can unlock the secrets of sales by selling our team on why improvement is in their best interest as well.