Every year since the early nineties, I have had the opportunity to participate in a meeting where we positioned our sales teams to sell products. It is a very important event because it provides the management team of the company an opportunity to communicate strategy, priorities and new product information to sales. It is also a time to augment existing sales skills and team camaraderie. It is an exciting and very important meeting and event.
So what is required to have a successful meeting?
- Atmosphere – Sales needs to leave this meeting enthusiastic about the company, the leadership team, the product and the weapons available for them to succeed.
- The Weapons – Marketing collateral is the weapon that sales uses to win. Today, collateral is more than brochures and presentations. It requires tools that leverage digital marketing, multi-media (video, webinars and conferencing), social media, blogs and more. Sales must be armed with the tools and information to compete and close business quickly.
- Product – The product doesn’t have to have the most features, be the cheapest or have the greatest visibility in the market. The product must deliver upon the promise made by the company, meet or exceed customer expectations and hit upon the value proposition most important to your target market. Sales needs to understand how this has been implemented and be able to articulate it to prospects, customers and partners.
- Dedicated Company Leadership – The Ivory Tower concept or leadership model is not limited to large companies. It can become part of any company that is not committed to frequent and open communications. A sales meeting provides the leadership to meet the sales team, and vice versa. It is an opportunity to share ideas and information in both directions. The leadership team should provide information on the market size, company performance, this year’s financial objectives and competitive advantage.
- Train, Train and Train Some More – With all of your sales and sales support organization in one room, now is the time to train so that each has a similar level of knowledge and uses common vernacular to describe the company and products. Training should be in depth and designed to be inclusive and more than just a listening exercise.
- Entertain and Motivate – Bring in outside speakers, amp up the energy and find a team activity or dinner where people will interact in an informal but professional way. The meeting should end on a high note and each participant should believe they will contribute to the company’s success – and their own sales success. The entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive; it just needs to be fun and purposeful.
- Wash, Rinse and Repeat – Use the messaging and themes from the Sales Kick-off throughout the year. Tie them to performance metrics, incentives programs and company updates. The investment made during the meeting should not be lost upon its conclusion. A successfully planned and executed meeting can be mined for value well into the year.
Gotta go! The 2014 ANPI Sales Kick-off is about to begin!