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In the last blog (#37), I mentioned that “Sales discussion just for the sake of sales was not done. It was done to assess the result of selling process.”.

Selling process is the implementation and execution of strategy and its tactics. If the strategy is well-articulated and the tactical plan is robust, the entire focus would be on ‘execution’. This done, the result (sales) is bound to come. If results are not as per expectation, the reasons should be sought in the process, not in the results. Discussion on sales alone does not change much, except putting (undue) pressure on salespersons

A lot of time is usually spent on ‘sales review’ during the monthly/ quarterly sales meetings. The negatives of this group exercise clearly outweigh the positives due to following factors.

It is only sale review. Just talk and talk on figures. There is no review of execution of the process. And therefore, there is no feedback on strategy and plan. It looks like the sales are expected to come from a void, which does not happen. If the execution is presented first and sales later, the seniors in sales and marketing would better understand where the gap was. They could tweak the plans to improve results.

It is counter-productive. The guy who is presenting is under fire, the guy who has yet to present is feeling scared, and they guy who has presented already is sitting cool. No one concentrates, and It can be safely said it is mostly a counter-productive exercise.

No one learns. The sales managers do not learn because they are too engrossed in their own thinking. They are not even listening. The seniors do not learn because they do not receive any worthwhile feedback on the process.

It leads to misplaced euphoria. After all the firing for low performance, the guy would finally go back to his seat. His first feeling would be a great sense-of-relief. Then he would also take comfort in the fact that he had received official endorsement for whatever results he had. Basically, he had transferred his monkey to his seniors, who unknowingly received it also. Sometimes the senior managers also feel satisfied that they were able to do enough beating. Both ways, the satisfaction is misplaced.

It is about time that the entire format of so-called ‘review meetings’ is ‘reviewed’ and upgraded for better outcomes……

Please consider making following changes.

Call it ‘Business Review’.  Review the business holistically. This will give information which will help the entire business process. If the execution was inconsistent, it would emerge and would be taken care of. If the plan was deficient, it would show and be amended accordingly. At times, everything appears to be done by the book, but the results remain elusive. This may be a result of poor quality of execution.

Invite only high performers. Make a cut-off for achievement. Give ‘business review presentation’ as a trophy, not as a punishment. The guy who gets it will be happy and confident and proud to present every aspect of his work. He will most likely give some valuable insights. The listeners will be receptive because they will not be experiencing strong negative emotions. And it will help inspire others.

Include low performers in group discussion. Arrange group workshop and encourage low performers to express real reasons. Listen carefully to find out what went wrong. People in groups feel less threatened and are likely to share more openly. Group discussion will provide the forum to everyone to share and learn from each other.

End the Meeting on Action Plan. It is common observation that ‘sales review’ meetings are made to end up on a high note. After all the tough discussions, the meeting conductors try to boost up the morale of participants through ‘motivation-speak’. The meeting hall resounds with ‘We Can Do It’ kind of slogans. But what will they do? The same as before? Please rest assured that the results will not be much different. End the meeting on an Action Plan, based on the learnings of proceedings. The action plan should include specific steps on execution and/or tweaking of strategy.

Business Review Meetings are an invaluable tool and must be recognized and utilized fully……

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