It was 8:00am Monday morning. While sipping hot coffee, I was on the teleconference bridge with Go to Meeting logged in, waiting for others to join. In those days, 8:00am to 8:15am on a Monday morning was the funniest time of the week.
Yep, you guessed it right, it was the weekly sales review call. Those 15 mins. is when everyone is making their best attempt to be at their best resourceful state.
During these 15 mins. while some of the members from sales team were busy logging into their CRM account, some other were busy updating the deal status, meeting notes or moving the date of closure. The team lead was busy building a picture perfect excel sheet to show how would the quarter or month progress in terms of acquisition.
The boss led the call. Yes, without the boss the call seldom happened. Around 08:10am, the most prepared executive began to talk. This executive went over each account one by one. After 10 mins of his monologue, the boss recognized that he had more than 20 accounts and it would take eternity to cover all 20. So the boss jumped the line, and asked “What about ABC account, where do we stand?”
Due to a sudden change of track the executive got confused. He took about 30 secs. to arrive at an answer to the boss’s question. At that moment he recognized that in the last 1 week he did not work on that account at all. But he had to answer the question, so he began telling “The Story” about this ABC account. While everybody else wondered what was he telling, the boss was getting a profound headline message from his impromptu story. Boss made some conclusive remarks on the semi-fictitious story of the executive about ABC and prescribed a few quick actions like, “Set-up my meeting with their CEO this week” so on.
The executive was happy end of the call, since he won the confidence from the boss in the call, one more time. Every other executive followed the path. The last executive spoke about precisely the one account and one point that the boss wanted to know. The 60 mins. scheduled call went on for 120 mins. and swollen mins. reinforced a perception that the call was productive.
There was whole team on the call including the marketing head, account manager, delivery manager who seldom spoke on these calls and often wondered why they were on the call in the first place.
In the end of year reviews the boss wondered what went wrong? Why didn’t those deals come through? How could we miss our revenue projections so badly?
"The Funny Parts" of the weekly calls were not so funny after all; they were the culprits for this abysmal performance. The primary objective of the weekly sales review was lost in the rush of telling and listening to stories, pleasing the boss.
My learning has been that an objective driven meeting or call and parameter based assessment of progress is extremely critical for having a productive review call.
A pre-call home work is mandatory for every executive. The boss must maintain the decorum of professional review without divulging into judgmental aspects individual representatives.
We made a template for conducting effective sales reviews, please write to me at email@example.com, should you believe that effective periodic reviews would result into super-performance.