Customer expectations are getting higher – the bar is being raised. Today’s customers increasingly want salespeople to provide new perspectives and real insights … and the trend is likely to continue. To meet these expectations salespeople will need help. Help will need to come from a variety of sources. One source will be the more extensive use of team selling.
Although team selling can be effective, it is not so easy to get right. So,
- How can we do a more effective job preparing for team sales calls by conducting better sales call planning meetings?
- How can we improve how team sales calls are managed in front of the customer?
Internal Team Planning Meetings. We train and coach and provide salespeople tools in many areas: call execution skills, sales strategy, business acumen, sales negotiations – but we tend to provide less help in how to run a meeting. The quality of sales team meetings we’ve observed vary significantly. Many simply replicate the same techniques their sales managers use. Others think back not so fondly on those meetings and do the exact opposite.
As team selling becomes more prevalent, call planning meetings need to be easier to conduct and more effective. The good news is new software tools are available that can help. Easy-to-use and inexpensive software from companies, like Less Meetings, can help salespeople set agendas, keep minutes, automate follow-up and build in accountability. This capability becomes particularly important when sales teams are geographically dispersed.
Call Management. Salespeople need to develop new skills to manage the sales team during the sales call. For example, they must learn how to better manager a call where there are multiple players on both sides of the table. During calls like these, salespeople need to assume the Call Manager role. The specific responsibilities of the Call Manager include: opening and closing the call, managing the agenda, ensuring that each team member gets airtime at the appropriate time, and redirecting the call when necessary.
An additional role for the Call Manager relates to follow-up accountability. The action items need to be summarized and distributed to the appropriate sales team members. Items that involve the customer need to be executed and verified. One of the core success factors in today’s market is: you have to do, what you said you would do, when you said you would do it. The good news is, it’s less time consuming if you use the aforementioned meeting software since the functionality is built in for making the follow-up easier to carry out.
Summary. Rumor has it that 2014 is likely to be a pretty good year for the business economy. Part of sharing in that good fortune requires a continued effort to improve the performance of your sales team. Doing what can be done to better plan and execute customer meetings is one small but important step in that direction.
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