Selling Microsoft

Make Monday Morning Meetings Count

Get on the right track and start your week off with a well-informed, well-organized game plan.

When we at Acumen Management Group undertake consulting engagements with Microsoft partners, we always sit in on their Monday morning sales meetings.

That's because we know that these gatherings are among the best ways to build a high-performance sales organization. Done correctly, they help put everyone on the right track for the week ahead and help sales managers establish the discipline, control and accountability that every team needs.

Be Prepared
Sales meetings may occur on the phone or in face-to-face sessions. But no matter what format they're in, these critical weekly meetings will be more successful if everyone involved knows what to expect.

First, all salespeople should be prepared to share their actions and results from the past week and their plans for the coming one, including what appointments they've made. Next, you should work from an agenda, using the same format every week. This step helps everyone know what's being covered and, of course, helps keep meetings on track and on time. Meetings should begin no later than 8:30 a.m. and last no more than an hour.

What's on the Agenda?
Following is a standardized sales-meeting agenda, divided into sections. If you'd like a formal Word version of this document, send me an e-mail at the address at the end of this column.

Section One: Ask each salesperson to rate the previous week on a scale of one to five, with five being great. This step increases accountability. Next, assign someone to take notes documenting any sales discussions and action items; plan to send them out within 24 hours of the meeting.

Section Two: Move to the sales pipeline and forecast discussions. Engage salespeople in strategy discussions focusing on their individual monthly sales commitments and forecasts. In addition, ask them to recommend potential tactical sales actions that other salespeople might take. This section is likely to take the most time.

Section Three: Review your month-to-date and year-to-date against actual performance. Typically, this will give you the figures of sales versus quotas; these numbers may reflect sales goals by Microsoft practice area or goals by salesperson. In addition, the sales manager should review all scorecards or other metrics that you're tracking.

Section Four: Discuss all marketing events planned for the next 60 days. This step gives everyone a heads-up about what's coming and what everyone needs to do to make the events successful.

Section Five: Talk about all sales-training meetings and topics planned for the next 90 days. Summarize not just the dates and times, but what sales skills will be discussed and what product, industry and organizational knowledge will be covered. You may wish to have individual salespeople handle some aspects of training sessions. (A future column will discuss training meetings in more detail.)

Section Six: Consider this the catch-all part of the meeting. Summarize any administrative or technical issues, sales-contest information and other company topics that you may need to address.

Section Seven: Close the meeting on an "up" note. You might ask each salesperson for one "PMT"-a positive mental thought. This step builds camaraderie and sets the right tone for the coming week.

Building a high-performance sales team takes work, energy and organization. Starting the week with a high-quality sales meeting helps everyone begin the week focused, organized and ready to execute as effectively as possible.

About the Author

Ken Thoreson is managing director of the Acumen Management Group Ltd., a North American consulting organization focused on improving sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations. You can reach him at ken@acumenmgmt.com.

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