Your guide to making the most of time spent in meetings
Think about this for just one minute: How much of your day do you spend in meetings? What about the time spent after the meeting to follow up and push a deal forward?
Whether you’re selling to an internal Salesforce audience, doing a demo for your audience externally, or holding a weekly stand-up meeting with your team, you need your meetings to be productive both during and after the meeting. Otherwise that time in the meeting is just not time well-spent.
For a great salesperson, the day can consist of as much as 80% meetings, and the other 20% can be spent getting to and from those meetings. Meetings are the most dominant part of a salesperson’s’ day, and they can be the most collaborative part of their day. That being said, they are also unfortunately a massive time suck, too.
Effective meetings require tons of effort to activate what was discussed. A good customer meeting can create 2–3x the effort after the meeting to properly activate what happened in that first session. Salespeople are forced to play quarterback and orchestrate the team that’s required to follow up and activate what was discussed in those meetings. It’s an onerous process and can delay the progression of a deal. And if one deal gets slowed down, it impacts your ability to make progress on any other deals.
Meetings should be energizing.
For salespeople, meetings should be energizing. Meetings are where you and your customers truly work together. This is where the voice of your customer can be heard and activated.
To properly activate the voice of your customer a salesperson needs two things: to be present in the meeting and to feel confident that the voice of their customer can be accurately translated to the people on their team who will be involved in the follow up. Supporting a customer is a team effort, and like any good team you need a plan. If you don’t have a good game plan, then your Monday morning sales meetings are spent retreading what happened and you waste valuable time and resources going over what could have and should have been. It’s the ongoing plight of the Monday morning quarterback; being able to second guess everything that happened in the days leading up to “the big game” because you weren’t well prepared.
Listening is a skill. Hearing is an art form.
Being present, focused and attentive in your meetings is invaluable. The best salespeople understand that relationships are the core to selling. And, like any good relationship, you have to be focused on the needs of your partner.
The best salespeople not only listen to their customers, but they hear what the customers are saying. From our point of view, having a service like a virtual assistant in your meetings makes sure you aren’t stuck taking notes and asking, “what was that again?”
A virtual assistant can take your queues and help ensure flawless execution. It makes sure you can focus on the play in front of you and be confident that the notes taken will be accurate and helpful. If you don’t need to take the notes, you can listen and hear your customer’s concerns. You can work with them to find the solution.
Some companies employ virtual note taking services to coach or train sales people, throwing out baseless metrics like “talk time” to weigh who spoke more, you or your customer. These are phony metrics and don’t take into account context. A true virtual assistant isn’t about an overseer evaluating you — it should provide a safety net that makes sure you maximize your time with the customer. It’s more a carrot than a stick. It should give you peace of mind that you can always go back to the record of the meeting, listen to it again, and directly share those moments with the people on your team so they listen and hear it directly from the customer. This kind of voice-based collaboration is significantly more impactful than a made-up metric like “talk time.”
Say It Again. And Again.
The confidence in the value of a meeting in perpetuity makes it easier to quarterback your team. It’s the playbook in permanent form. Marketing 101 states clearly that for something to sink in, it has to be viewed between 3 and 6 times.
Malcolm Gladwell writes about 10,000 hours of practice to perfect something. Frequency is real and we rarely will understand everything the first time around. How often have you heard the saying, “you’ll get it next time”? You can’t always bet on the next time in a sales environment because you may not always get a second chance. You have to maximize the impact of the first time you were exposed to an idea and a voice record of a meeting does just that.
Focus. Listen. Hear. Create more streamlined follow-up. These are the secrets to your meeting and these are what will stop you from second guessing yourself on the Monday morning sales calls internally. Be confident in your quarterback skills, and your meetings will be winners.
Eva is a virtual assistant from Voicera. Eva listens, records, takes notes, and helps organize follow up from your meetings across any number of collaboration tools. Voicera sees the opportunity to increase collaboration as far more important than coaching. Eva makes you a better salesperson. Learn about Eva, from Voicera by watching a video here.
How to Be an Exceptional Monday Morning (Sales) Quarterback was originally published in Inside the Salesforce Ecosystem on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.