With the turmoil of the last 18 months due to the pandemic and the resulting impact on the economy and business conditions, selling organizations should be examining their sales practices to ensure they are using the right tools that will enable their sales teams to close more profitable sales. One of the first areas they should focus on is their process for debriefing their sales team’s sales calls. Nothing can have a bigger impact on sales growth than getting ‘debriefing’ right.
What are the effects of ineffective sales debriefing taking place, or worse, no debriefing at all?
-Sales pipelines with rosy forecasts that never seem to translate into closed business.
-Too many proposals for unqualified prospects.
–No accountability for salespeople to execute their sales calls according to the standard set by the company–asking the right questions, getting to decision-makers and using desired sales strategies, etc.
-Lack of debriefing leading to lack of knowledge by management that informs them where salespeople need improvement and what kind of help they need to get stronger in the sales process.
Consistent, strong debriefing of salespeople helps a sales organization:
-Forecast revenue more accurately
-Predict with greater certainty a salesperson’s success or failure with a potential sales opportunity
-Understand what help will be needed by their salespeople to achieve better results
There are many ‘must do’s’ on the part of the debriefing manager to be effective. Here are just a few of the most useful guidelines:
- Have a set agenda – When you use the same format, week in and week out, salespeople know what to expect and prepare for.
- Salespeople must be prepared to discuss ‘what happened, obstacles that came up, etc.
- The manager’s two favorite questions will be: “How do you know that?” and “Why?”
- The manager must always ask, “What’s the next step with the prospect?”
- Always end with ‘lessons learned’ and a commitment from the salesperson on how they will apply the lesson.
- The debriefing manager must emphasize that their role is to serve as a resource to the salesperson for solving sales problems, offer coaching and insights into the buyer’s psychology and suggest alternative tactics and strategies that align with the company’s desired sales process.
- To make sure the salesperson does not take any coaching personally, stay away from any criticism of their sales actions or thinking. Be sure to stroke them for everything they did right.
There is another part of debriefing that is important that I haven’t covered and that is the use of role-playing in developing salespeople. And that will be the subject of my next post–stay tuned!