I recently went in for my annual checkup. After noting my weight, height, pulse, pressure, and blood work, my doctor gave me a clean bill of health.
I am fortunate, as a lot of guys in their forties start to experience health issues at this point in their lives. However, I decided long ago to be proactive about maintaining my health by exercising regularly. I am an Ironman competitor, avid golfer, and love spending time outdoors with my wife and kids. I also don’t smoke and drink only moderately.
Anyway, at this year’s physical I asked my M.D., “What’s the NUMBER ONE thing you look at as an indicator of human health?”
He replied, “There’s two things: whether the patient smokes, and his or her BMI.”
It’s as simple as that. It’s not whether the person drinks super-green algae smoothies every day, or whether or not he or she meditates, or runs marathons. Sure, those things can contribute to health, but they are not the PRIMARY PREDICTORS of whether someone will be healthy or not.
Makes total sense. What I especially liked about his reply is that those two factors, smoking and BMI, are mostly under each person’s control. Don’t smoke, and keep your body mass at a reasonable level through exercise and a sensible diet, and your chances of becoming seriously ill are greatly reduced.
As I am prone to do, I started thinking about how this applies to the business world, especially my area of focus: sales.
I asked myself, if I had to isolate the number one predictor of sales health, what would that be? Would it be Total Revenue? Cost of Acquisition? Net Promoter Score? I mean, there’s dozens of KPIs I could choose from.
I finally narrowed it down to ONE THING.
After reviewing over 100 cases which I consulted on, I concluded that the number one predictor of sales health is the SALES MEETING.
Sitting in on a sales meeting will tell you all you need to know about whether a sales team is functioning well, or whether a company’s revenue stream will be drying up shortly.
Sales are the lifeblood of any company…and if the sales team is in trouble, that company will surely die. The best diagnostic tool is therefore the sales meeting, which is where the symptoms off ill health will first appear.
And just like your body’s health, you can be proactive in maintaining or repairing your company’s sales health by adopting good habits.
Here is what I look for when predicting a company’s sales health:
Sales Meeting Health Checklist
- Punctuality: Is everyone on time? Does the meeting start and end as scheduled?
- Engagement: Does everyone participate? Or are there people who would obviously prefer to be elsewhere. Beware those who “engage” by constantly bringing up problems and criticisms – they tend to eat up a lot of meeting time and hurt morale with their gripes (often unfounded).
- The Right Length & Frequency: Daily two-hour sales meetings benefit no one. Do the meetings drag on and on, or do they move forward at an acceptable pace? Quick daily huddles are okay, but if you are having long sales meetings more than once per week – something is wrong. Tip: holding sales meetings where everyone stands rather than sits will help keep the pace fast.
- Focus: Are people on their cell phones or laptops, or are they focused on the meeting? Are meetings bogged down by a lot of administrative stuff which could be better addressed via email or memo, or are meetings sales production-oriented with “need to know” corporate items taken care of quickly?
- Sales Funnel Review: Is a sales funnel report pulled up from the CRM for the team to go over which deals are at which step in the sales process? This is important to monitor and improve conversion rates, and troubleshoot stalled deals.
- A Blend of Qual and Quant: When data is presented by each salesperson, are they delivering both qualitative data (the personalities and culture of their prospects, overall climate of their territories) and quantitative data (such as the number of calls, appointments, and presentations delivered)? One without the other is weak.
- Targets: Does every salesperson have a written list of targets to accomplish that day and week? Every sales person should operate off of some sort of “battle plan.” If time allows, they should indicate which targets they accomplished, any bugs they are running into, and any lessons learned.
- Education: Are salespeople learning something new at every sales meeting? Examples include watching a presentation on a new product’s features, reading a brief on market conditions, or even a role playing session on handling objections.
- Motivation: Are salespeople fired up after the meeting? Or are they demoralized by excessive scolding and threats? Motivation is a key ingredient to sales success, and this is hard to achieve with a cowed sales staff.
- Fun: Finally, are the sales meetings fun? Simple things, such as the addition of music or holding raffles and sales contests can liven things up and make sales meetings something people look forward to rather than dread.
Just like an annual physical checkup, compare the above 10-point checklist against your own sales meetings. If there are too many issues, you can predict poor future revenue.
If you need a hand with either the diagnosis or the cure, please call me. The Revenue Doctor is IN.