Some sales leaders don’t buy tech tools—which is stupid. Others make the opposite mistake and think that tech is going to save them all their work. Yep, also stupid. Or, more accurately, misguided. We were fortunate enough to interview Hampus Jakobsson, founder of Brisk.io, twice. The first interview was on the importance of tools and how to choose them. However, the second was all about ditching the tech in favor of personal interaction. Hampus asked one of his clients what his best sales tool was. When the man said, “Talking face-to-face,” Hampus laughed. But the guy was serious.
As salespeople, we’re used to being uncomfortable, used to people saying this isn’t a good time, that they don’t want to talk, but still pushing through to have a discussion with them. We need that same courage inside, too, the courage to build up the human side of your sales team instead of automating everything with technology.
How do you build your team up? By holding meetings that count.
Based on our interview with Hampus, we came away with five meetings that every sales team needs to have.
1) Weekly Stand-up Pipeline Review
In some form or another, your sales team needs a meeting in which you discuss fast movers in your pipeline and tactics to maximize your closing probability.
The “stand-up” part is literal; it’s good to stand up because you don’t waste as much time meandering through lounging conversation.
A good rule for these is that you do not mention the names of people, especially if you’re talking about leads. Nobody cares about the guy in your pipeline (at least, professionally); people want to hear the company name.
Of course, when it comes to tactics, you can talk about who’s the decision-maker, the user, the ambassador, and so on. But people tend to talk about people a lot—which is nice, but it takes up a lot of unnecessary time.
In your pipeline review, go through a checklist of where your leads are at. Specify what steps they’ve taken. Then, leverage the fact that you’re in a room of smart people.
2) Cleaning Session
Meeting #2 is a no-fun, but a highly necessary session in which you clean the fringe leads from your sales funnel.
You can run a report in your CRM for this data. In the meeting, you may have salespeople arguing that a certain lead is moving. Go ahead and give the lead one more chance, with the caveat that you don’t want to hear that company name on the list again.
This is also a meeting to go over best practices when prospects are on the fringe. The very best practice you can implement is a goodbye email.
Hampus has won over a number of clients by crafting goodbye emails that are respectfully, yet clearly say, “If you don’t want (ABC advantage of my service), it’s fine. I’ll no longer be following up with you.”
If you implement this same “goodbye email” approach, you’ll notice that several of your fringe leads will all of a sudden be very interested in moving forward with your product or service.
People are busy, but saying “goodbye” forces people to make a decision.
3) Best Practices/Sharing Session
This session is preferably led by the “team lead” and not the VP of Sales. It’s basically designed to be a time of team-building as you solve each other’s problems.
There should be room for everyone to say, “I have this problem; what do you think? Look what this guy wrote; what does he mean?” It’s also a time to figure out the most appropriate and efficient tactics.
The purpose of the meeting is to tackle these issues together. It’s not about looking smart in front of the manager. . . It’s about building the team.
There should be lots of these meetings, with several small teams. Dependent on what country/region you’re in, it may be something to do over lunch or drinks. Everyone just sits, talks, and relaxes.
This isn’t a time for crunching numbers: it’s a time for talking and sharing empathy and solutions.
4) Show and Tell
Here’s where everyone gets to show off all the fancy tools they find.
Mutual sharing is one of the greatest ways to grow in product knowledge. The reps can share a nifty tool or smart tactic with the rest of the team. You have one person “on stage” at a time.
Your reps need to learn showmanship and storytelling, which is something they don’t get to practice much. Their calls are often scripted, so the “show and tell” gives them good practice in storytelling with all eyes on them.
This puts the focus on individual growth, but they also get to share knowledge. The meeting is doubly useful.
This meeting should probably be reps only, although managers may want to pop in here and there.
5) Individual Pipeline Review
This is a scheduled individual pipeline review meeting where each rep goes through all opportunities and updates the deal stages, notes, and next steps.
Meeting #5 is a manager’s scheduled individual review of a rep. It’s useful for both accountability and encouragement.
A lot of old-school people say that everyone who becomes a rep does it to make money. That may not be true anymore. There seem to be two kinds of reps:
- Those who want to learn and grow very, very fast.
- People who want to win.
The people in group #2 don’t care about the money—they want to win. They enjoy the feeling of victory.
Sit down with each of your reps and talk about who they are and what they want to do.
Remember to coach them: “You weren’t hired to update spreadsheets or to ping people to ask them to update Salesforce. You were hired because you’re an awesome people person.”
Find out how to motivate each person: compensation, learning, etc. What do they find hardest about the job? Easiest?
Some of us have a problem with this; it feels like sitting in front of a psychologist. You don’t have to talk about psychology, but talk about something (e.g., the pipeline).
This type of conversation can be tricky, so go over specific items with the goal of making it about the rep and how to help them excel.
Building a team of awesome humans is still crucial for sales executives today. Tools are awesome, but they can only carry a mediocre sales team so far.
Invest in your team by having the right kind of meetings. The meetings should be strategic and focused, with well-defined intentions and parameters.
The goal is always balance: sweet tech meets capable people. Housekeeping meets vision.
Because a stronger team means a wider reach.