SALES FORCE COMMUNICATIONS
Effective sales management control, measurement and motivation are dependent on efficient and effective communications.
In this segment, we will consider the broad communication process and link this with the main internal sales management methods of communicating through letters, meetings and conferences, so that an efficient and practical communications system can develop.
WHEN DO YOU NEED TO MEET YOUR SALESFORCE?
The time to hold a salesforce get together is when you need a sales meeting. A sales meeting is needed when you have a job to accomplish that can best be handled in a group meeting with the sales force. That usually means you have some information that you must deliver to them, you want to get them enthusiastic about some program, some common problem must be solved, or you must train them in some knowledge or skill needed by all of them.
In other words, you can use a sales meeting to:
WHY DO YOU NEED TO MEET YOUR SALESFORCE
I would like to distinguish between an individual meeting between you and one or your salespeople, on the one hand, and gathering of two or more of your people with you or someone else in management, training or other non sales capacity. This latter encounter two or more salespeople and someone not engaged in selling for you is a sales conference, as I use the term.
Now let us see why sales conference should be held at all, their importance to you and the people, the objectives to be sought in conducting them and the benefit to be derived from them.
The following list of reasons for calling a conference should answer all the questions in the preceding paragraph:
There are many things you want to communicate to the salesperson which
are most economically and perhaps best said and demonstrated when all or
a group of them are together. For example:
New products and services.
New company or department objectives, policies, procedures, territories, quotas, compensation plans, people and markets.
New campaigns, contests, deals, sales promotions, publicity.
Announcements of special successes on the part of the company, the department or particular people.
An inspirational talk or series of talks.
You may want to tap or palp the morale and feeling of the salespeople in groups in order to stimulate their expression to you of their feelings because ones statements will lead to another's. (This, or course, if for the kinds of feeling which are best elicited ensemble; others will best be left to individual conferences.)
*You may want to discuss problems affecting some or all of them, get their suggestions and arrive at solutions applicable to all.
*Bringing the salespeople together is another way of making them feel part of the department and company and keeping their morale high.
*Certain types of meetings are rewards for good work.
*A good sales meeting is a valuable way of supervising the salesperson because you talk to them about their performance as a group and find out why certain things (not best left for individual conferences) are happening to some, most or all of them.
Of course, any one meeting may have more than one of the above objectives, and generally does.
WHEN TO HOLD SALES MEETINGS
Of course, you will want to call a meeting of two or more of your salespeople, whenever a sufficient number of reasons have accumulated to warrant getting together with them jus as soon as possible. However, in addition to such contingencies, you should set up a regular schedule of sales meetings and stick to it whenever possible. This makes for more efficiency in the planning and running or meeting, gets the salesperson accustomed to them and permits regularity in the allocation of your over all time demands.
1. FORTNIGHT REVIEW MEETING
Meet your sales staff on an individual basis and review and plan specific activities.
2. MONTHLY SALES DEVELOPMENT MEETING
Meet with your team and discuss specific common problems plan for the next two months.
3. QUARTERLY SALES MEETING
Meeting with your team and audit your total sales operation. Plan for the next three months and include some short training session.
4. ANNUAL SALES CONFERENCE
Meet with your team. Review the last twelve months operation and results. plan the next twelve months objectives and target the associated activities. Include a two day training and development programme.
FACTORS TO BE INCLUDED
IN A SALES MEETING
Review Sales Results and other important factors for control of your business.
As a Group
changes in policy or procedures
any marketing items
status of supply and stock holdings
elements from the advertising campaign
overall company results
any other specific items or notices
* Obtain feedback from the sales force of trends, competitive activity, levels of
demand, suitability of marketing programs, any problems or other items
* Address any current issues, such as price rise, inventory problems,
competitive challenges, windfall opportunities, introduction of new products.
* Building on some of the above items, train and develop your people
+ Reinforce previous training
* Rekindle or build on enthusiasm, to motivate the team and individuals.
* Achieve necessary individual or group attitude change
+ Provide a meeting place an forum for exchange of ideas and views for the sales people, building team spirit and morale.
SUBJECTS FOR REVIEW MEETINGS ONE TO ONE
Not the golf, the match, the TV or the concert!
Recent customer visits and any significant issues. (Don't spend time going over the things that are on target, only bother with the problems)
Important customer calls for the next period. Any information required or difficult situations and how they could be handled
Review of account plans (for those operating an account management system)
Progress on any specific projects
Any problem areas
Actions on items from the previous meeting
Any other business
CHECKLIST WHILE REVIEWING THE SALES FIGURES WITH YOUR SALES REPRESENTATIVE
*Set a strict limit on the time to be devoted to the figures
*Have individual sales people review their own customers before the meeting and be able to comment on any variations from plan, either above or below
*Do not spend any time on figures which are on target
*Give recognition for figures which are on target
*Give recognition for figures which re above target, and try to get some understanding of the reasons For below target performance, try to turn the negative into the positive by aggressing on a positive action to address the problem. If nothing can be done about it, don't spend time wringing your hands in anguish, move onto something where some positive action can be taken
*Make your motto, 'recommendations not recriminations'.
Subjects for Monthly
Meetings in group
Meet with your team and discuss specific common problems then plan for the next month.
MAP Meeting guidelines
New Product Launch programme
New Product performance
Special Product drive
Announcements of special projects, policies, procedures
Sales Simulation Practices
Monthly Performance Review
Public praise for exceptional work
Information on markets and competition
Monthly meetings are mostly meant for Business and Programme development.
Subjects for Quarterly
Meeting= in group
Meet with your team and audit your total district sales operation. Plan for the next three months. Include some short training sessions.
Quarterly meetings are meant for business developments well as personal development.
*Review of the Audit/variances against the previous plans and targets
*Action Plan on variances
*Information on markets and on the competition
*New objectives, policies, procedures and practices
*New plans/targets for the following quarter
*New customers and/or emphasis on existing ones
*Refresher training in Sales/marketing
*Action Plan on weaknesses and areas for improvement
*Public praise for exceptional work and unusually good results
Subjects for Annual
Meeting-- in group
Meet with your team. Review the last twelve months operation and results. Plan the next twelve months Objectives and Targets and associated activities. Include a one/two day training and development programme
Annual meetings are meant for Review, Planning Objectives/Target, Tactical Plans as well as personal development.
*Review of Actual performance against Objectives and Targets
*Forecasts and Budgets
*Set objectives and targets for the next year
*Develop tactics for achieving the territory objectives/targets
*Develop short term activity plan
*New Customer (Prospect) Development
*New forms, literature and sales aids
*New territories (if any)
*Economic, social or legal information's and data
*New terms of sale, credit, delivery policies
*New policies regarding travel expenses
*New regulations on expense accounts
*New reports and record keeping
*Supervisory comments on performance, achievments and problems *Announcements of all kinds
Wherever possible you should vary the techniques employed in running your conference and see to it that your co leaders do the same. Here is a list of the different kinds of techniques you may want to employ, alone or in combination.
* Straight lecture or talk
*A question and answer period
* Case studies
* Problem solving situations
* Role playing
LEO LINGHAM From India