Sales leaders and front-line managers are constantly looking for ways to make their sales meetings more effective, interesting, and useful.
One of the best ways to improve a team’s performance is to dissect sales presentations as a group. Managers sometimes do this by conducting postmortems, which involve analyzing what went wrong with particular deals. Other times, groups use role plays to reenact what might happen during a presentation.
Both of these methods are flawed in that they’re not always “real.” In the case of a postmortem, we only hear about the deal through the eyes of one salesperson. In the case of a role play, there’s no actual client in the picture.
There’s an even more powerful way to dissect sales presentations. It is for individual contributors to observe and comment on actual presentations made by their peers. Observing other sales reps and their progression encourages the growth of an entire team.
|Editor’s Note: Jeb’s recommendations are best practices for any sales team. However, they are also invaluable for Viddler Training Suite users. With the author’s permission, we have added a few notes on how these excellent principles can be applied in the virtual, asynchronous world of interactive video training.|
We recommend reserving time in regularly scheduled sales meetings for soft skills training. Investing that time for this kind of observation will make a tremendous difference for a team—if it’s done properly.
In order to be successful, “post-game analysis” like this needs to meet a handful of criteria:
- REAL. This is where traditional role playing fails. If you’re able to construct a situation where actual, live sales calls are observed, you’re getting to a much more effective place. The best method—if it’s possible—is to record calls and debrief them together. If you can’t do this, an alternative is for a manager to observe calls and provide objective synopses for the team to consider.
Editor’s Note: With Viddler, you can record audio as well as video. You’ll need permission to record, of course, but this will provide the basis for a debriefing. Team members can listen to the recording, and make timeline-relevant comments and replies.
- STRUCTURED. Build a rubric that corresponds to your sales process. This will allow all observers to have a structured conversation about what worked and what didn’t. This organized approach will also help emphasize what needs to happen on each call. It’s a subtle reinforcement mechanism for the whole team.
Editor’s Note: Viddler lets you add scoring rubrics to videos or audios, letting team members rank any performance metric on a scale of 1 to 5.
- PEER-TO-PEER. These meetings are most effective when peers comment on each other’s performance, rather than when a manager dictates right and wrong. Allow individual contributors to learn from each other in public and use the rubric to guide the conversation.
Editor’s Note: Viddler’s patented video timeline commenting is the perfect medium for peer-to-peer review. Team members can contribute from any location or time zone.
- SAFE & POSITIVE. This exercise needs to be an environment for learning. Managers need to reserve their criticisms for private meetings; however, they should ensure that whatever comments are made in these sessions are kept within the group.
Editor’s Note: Viddler is a secure, members-only learning portal. What happens in the group stays in the group.
- FAIR. Don’t single out just one or two salespeople for this exercise. Nobody is perfect and there’s likely an opportunity to improve even the most “perfect” sales interaction. Make this a regular part of your sales meetings and select presentations from everyone on the team.
- VARIETY. If you have a sales cycle that lasts more than one call, ensure you’re observing more than just the “close.” Also, include presentations that go well and well as those that don’t. There’s an opportunity to learn in both.
- HELPFUL. Learning should result from these interactions. If they’re not helping salespeople improve, they’re probably a waste of time. After you’ve observed a few of these, check in with the team to be sure they’re serving a purpose.
Sales meetings can serve as a valuable tool in improving the progression of a team’s growth. It simply requires a bit of effort, planning, and consistency to create an environment in which salespeople are able to learn from each other. After all, a team doesn’t grow unless the people on that team grow.
Jeb Brooks is President & CEO of The Brooks Group, one of the Top Twenty Sales Training Firms as ranked by both Selling Power Magazine and Training Industry, Inc. The Brooks Group has also been consistently included among Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing firms.