Sales reviews happen for a reason- to chalk out the success journey of the sales goal. Think of it as planning a fun road trip with friends to an area with limited connectivity. You have a car, know where you want to be, and know the co-passengers. All you have do is figure out the path and allocate responsibilities accordingly. If you get it right, the review can leave your teams invigorated with a clear action plan to achieve the goal. However most reviews end up being just another tick the box meeting for updates and are lagging discussions. More like being a part of a train journey where only few people have a role and the rest are just passengers who can report where they have reached or talk about being late.
Having sat through over 100 sales reviews across 25+ enterprises, some of the trends that I have noticed are:
- Narrative- 90% of the time is spent on iterating what happened last week/quarter
- Afterthought- What went wrong and how could we miss the target
- Blame Game- Poor territory, poor leads, poor sales support, and finally poor me
- Anecdotal- Contextual vs driven by data
- Last Man Push- Everyone commits to making it – SOMEHOW
Figuring this “somehow” is the objective of a review. Imagine how this would work in any other result focused entity, the military for example, where it is imperative to pre-empt and achieve success. There is no scope to discuss an event after it has happened. An inquest is important to understand why a deal was lost. One should learn from it, but it should not be the focus of a sales review.
For a sales review to be meaningful, it should be forward looking with emphasis on pipeline health, focus on the right deals, and the execution plan to achieve targets. Scott Edinger, a contributor at Forbes, highlights the importance of focusing on early stage pipeline rather than dwelling on the past in his article, “How Great Sales Leaders Coach”.