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What if sales meetings were for salespeople?
If you're bored, then it's boring
Who looks forward to sales meetings?Outside of reconnecting with colleagues over coffee, who enjoys that first Friday every month? Or is it every other Monday morning? When has someone left a meeting and thought that was the best use of my time? Or even that was a good use of my time? Is it painful that this sounds painfully resonant?
How many minutes this year or last were wasted because someone didn’t test out the presentation deck? Or load it onto the company laptop before the meeting? Why didn’t the winemaker or distiller do a dry-run of their screen share function? How many hours over the years have been squandered because someone failed to pre-pour the wines or spirits? Isn’t there a better way?
Why didn’t the portfolio managers prep their suppliers to do something different with their 15 minutes? Why didn’t the supplier come prepared with anything more than a cookie-cutter speech? Why didn’t they realize that just because X works in their home market, doesn’t mean that X will work in this market? Why didn’t they bring props? Why didn’t they bring snacks? Why didn’t they arrive early or stay late to connect one-on-one with salespeople? Why do they so often insist on telling instead of showing? Why are they clueless about other products in the portfolio when that’s what’s competing for attention?
Why don’t sales meetings live up to their names? How come they so often fail to compel when their very purpose is to persuade and motivate? Why is that that managers and executives fail to set and measure KPIs for meetings themselves, but have no trouble holding sales reps accountable for targets? Is it because they’d be afraid of revealing their own inefficacies? Are they aware of the hypocrisy?
Why do those leaders who themselves loathe meetings keep insisting everyone else meet? Haven’t they heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Don’t they know that what they hope to achieve through meetings can also be accomplished through memos and one-on-one coaching? What if meetings were peer-reviewed?
Is it possible that there’s a better way? What if sales meetings had narratives or themes that made them memorable and engaging? What if attendees were given pertinent product notes beforehand so no one had to ask “What’s the ABV on this?” What if organizers recognized that just because a meeting’s obligatory doesn’t mean that sitting through a six-hour one should be less difficult than sitting through a Lord of the Rings film?
What if sales meetings inspired? What if they motivated?What if those responsible for organizing a sales meeting spent as much time preparing it as a college professor does for a class? What if sales meetings were for salespeople? What if they were designed to serve their needs rather than the company’s wants? How then might they be different? How then might they be designed?
When was the last time salespeople were asked?
I’m not talking about announcing yet another incentive program.
This is not to suggest that a company’s goals are not important. It is to simply address the fact that the best means of communicating and achieving these goals is not likely through a sales meeting.