Conference rooms and weekly sales meetings are relics of a time without the internet, webcams, smartphones and powerful web tools.
A conference room full of sales people and sales leaders just might be the biggest time waste of the week. Add up the opportunity costs of each of the 12-15 sales people, 1-5 functional managers and possibly a vendor or guest gathered at that table. How long do your weekly sales meetings usually last? 45 minutes to an hour on average. Then add up the time for each of the attendees to drive to the office, park their car, fill up their coffee cup and get settled in. It becomes clear that there is a significant money drain, productivity black hole and a financial loss involved with each meeting. Yet they continue in many organizations.
Think about what has changed since you first started having your weekly sales meetings and staff meetings.
- It used to be that sales forecasting and updates were built around the table each Monday morning.
- Reviews of deals won, or lost were discussed.
- New products and pricing adjustments were on the table.
- I used to always ask my sales team about the competitive landscape. What and who were shaking things up with our customers and prospects?
- Sometimes a Vendor/Manufacturer is invited in to talk about their wares.
- From time to time, some light sales training or techniques were able to be squeezed in. Some of you might still be having these types of meetings on a regular basis.
The question I want you to consider today is why are these meetings still taking place?
- The sales forecast and trends should all be captured and available for all to see via your CRM and accounting tools. You should have in-depth reporting on every stage in your sales cycle, for every prospect and customer, in multiple formats and on multiple devices. This information should be shared across departments including marketing, finance, support and operations. With the emerging “big data” tools now available everyone should not only be able to know what happened in the past, but what is likely to happen in the future. Trends and shifting environment are much less likely if you are using the tools available to you.
- Win/Lost reports are being reported and captured, and should be shared for everyone to learn from. These are gathered, compiled and reported on in real time, as they happen and once again should be available to every department within your company. Trouble bubbling up within your customer service team can help identify bigger problems down the road that can be prevented if acted upon quickly from all departments.
- Products and pricing should now be available and always current on every laptop, table and smartphone your sales team uses. Manufacturing should be able to instantly communicate production timelines, delays and other supply information. Changes made in pricing, positioning, advertising and customer-facing information must be in the hands of everyone that needs it without delay. Internal communication tools to distribute and manage the collection of information that customers need is instaneous. Many times the information should be going directly to your customers and prospects via email, social media and your own website.
- Competitive intelligence has never been more thorough, detailed and current than it is today. There are no longer excuses to be caught by surprise with competitive moves and actions. Tools are now available to not only track every hire, fire, promotion, financial update and acquisition, but also to understand what website traffic, social media follower growth and expansion, even down to the real estate decisions that are taking place.
- Vendor training for many sales teams is still important to keep up to date on the products, programs, promotions and pricing that your sales teams need to be communicating to your customers and prospects. Your vendors are able and willing to connect to you electronically, feeding everything that they have to help you grow your business. Many are willing to make the financial investments to connect directly to you in many if not all the areas above, with strong security, to become much more of a true partner than ever before.
- Sales training is now available in many formats including video, audio, and live via webcams. I have an entire database of sales trainers that are able to deliver state-of-the-art, highly productive sales training to you in any format(s) you desire on demand, at a time and method that is preferred by your sales teams. Nearly sixty percent of all sales training I provided last year was done over the web. I am forecasting that to be almost seventy-five percent this year. Whether you have a worldwide sales organization, or a small local team, on-demand web-based training utilizing video, audio and written training, with full progress and test reporting being provided back to leadership is now available and extremely effective.
The information that comes from these gatherings is important, even critical. But the delivery platforms have changed. It is time to embrace the tools that are available and readily affordable to move your company forward.
When the need arises to be “face to face”, virtually every smartphone, tablet and laptop has been shipping with a built-in webcam for years. Use them to get that face-time with each other one-on-one or in groups from two to two hundred and more.
It might take a few times to get the tech working well, but once you get past the early hurdles, you will be flying through video calls with more power than ever in an in-person meeting. Have a question arise about a tech challenge, add in your system engineer or manufacturing team. Everyone has a webcam and video capability to meet with you. Take advantage!
If you want to make this change and would like some help - give me a call. I can help. My number is on the upper right hand corner of this site.