TALKING SALES 91: "Why is your sales meeting demotivating?"

John Smibert


Meeting         "Sales meetings need to address each individual's needs" - an interview by John Smibert.

In recent research 6o% of salespeople felt they were demotivated by sales team meetings. And yet 70% of sales managers felt that motivation was a key objective of their sales meetings.  Why are most sales managers are not successfully motivating their team in these meetings and what can they do about it?

John Dougan cartoonIn this interview John Dougan tells us what we are doing wrong and what we need to do in meeting that will motive our people and improve their performance.

Sales managers have "got to understand that the sum of equal parts is greater than the whole. Understand what every single person's motivation in that room is, find it and bring it into your sales meeting."

"Traditionally sales meetings are focused on the numbers, so if a salesperson is not doing well they don't want to be part of that. They're also focused on the activity that drives those numbers, and they're focused on probably single opportunities that the whole team isn't involved in".

He explains "if your sales meeting isn't predominantly affecting sales results, it's not a sales meeting that you're running".

In order to improve our meetings, he said, firstly we should not only use our meeting to drive activity but to look at motivating around activity to get results. Secondly we need use it for skills development of our people - we should use it as an opportunity to role-play active opportunities in our pipeline

See the full interview below for more sales meeting advice from John.

John Dougan is the Intrepid Sales Detective, a noted writer and blogger on sales effectiveness.

See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here

Interview

John S: Hello, I've got John Dougan with me again - welcome back, John!

John D: Thanks, John!

John S: Hey John, you've just finished a great set of research looking at sales meetings and the effectiveness of sales meetings. I want to talk to you about that a little bit, if you don't mind.

John D: Absolutely, yes - more than happy to!

John S: I've read one of the stats that astounded me out of that, and that is 6 out of 10 salespeople felt that they were demotivated in sales meetings, and yet 7 out of 10 sales managers felt that was a key component of their sales meetings that they were motivating their salespeople.

John D: That's very correct.

John S: A bit of a dichotomy there. Why isn't it working, why is that there?

John D: [laughs] John, when we hear that stat it's an absolutely compelling argument for why we need to actually change the sales meetings we're running. I mean, to throw another one in there, the chances are, if you base it on that stat, that you're actually running a poor sales meeting. How worrying is that for sales managers? But the fact that we're stealing motivation from our salespeople is borderline criminal I would say.

John S: Absolutely, that would worry me. If I was running a team of sales managers and they were getting those results coming back from the salespeople, I would say, "Hey, we're doing something pretty wrong here."

John D: Absolutely, and let's focus on why it is. Traditionally sales meetings are focused on the numbers, so if you're not doing well, do you know what, you don't even want to be part of that. They're focused on the activity that drives those numbers, and they're focused on probably single opportunities that the whole team isn't involved in. So, if we look at areas to improve that, which is what we should do, we're looking at how do we use sales meetings, number one, to not only drive activity but to look at motivating around activity to get results, and if your sales meeting isn't predominantly affecting sales results, it's not a sales meeting that you're running. But also, how do we use it for skill development of our people and the opportunity to roleplay active opportunities in our pipeline.

John S: And you've got a whole group of different individuals in your sales team; if they can all be learning from each other, then a sales meeting's got to be a good place for that to happen.

John D: Absolutely. And if they don't need to be there, don't bring them into the sales meeting; that's an easy crime to stop doing.

John S: So John, to summarise and really put a clear message out there for sales managers, what do they really need to do to run a great sales meeting?

John D: John, they've got to understand that the sum of equal parts is greater than the whole. Understand what every single person's motivation in that room is, find it and bring it into your sales meeting.

John S: That's sounds like a great summary. So, you're talking about motivation, you earlier were talking about development of skills, and doing that as sum of all, sharing and so on and so forth. Is that what you're saying?

John D: Yes, absolutely. Focus on motivation, focus on the skill-building of each and every individual in there, and use it as an opportunity to discuss sales challenges and sales opportunities that actually exist.

John S: Okay. And what about the old CRM spreadsheet pipeline? Do we discuss that at all in meetings?

John D: If your sales meeting doesn't directly drive sales results, it is not a sales meeting, and don't do anything that would ever detract from that.

John S: I think that's a great message, I hope there's value to all the sales managers out there - thank you very much, John!

John D: Thanks, John!

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If you like John Dougan  you can see more of his interviews here:

  1. Adapting Sales Process to Buyer Behaviour
  2. Choosing the right sales methodology
  3. The social selling evolution
  4. The sales profession

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