Three Keys to Running Productive One-on-Ones as a Sales Leader

Check-ins on the status of deals in the pipeline comprise the large majority of the workday of sales managers and VPs. They spend hours and hours in one-on-one meetings interrogating every detail of the state of a deal.

Much of the time is spent in these one-on-ones is simply catch-up for the manager to get up to speed with the activity on the deal. Once the manager has the full view of what’s going on, they’ll use the rest of the meeting to coach the rep, offering guidance to help them close the deal faster or navigate obstacles. This guidance is the most important element of the sales leader’s job; to improve the performance of the reps in their care, and push them to their highest levels of productivity. The more time managers and VPs can spend coaching rather than questioning, the more effective their team will be.

So how can sales leaders ensure they’re giving their team what they need to succeed and not wasting time in those one-on-one meetings?

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Come prepared

Don’t rely on the rep to fill you in verbally on information that can be easily found in Salesforce. If they’ve gone through the trouble of updating their CRM before your meeting (which they should be doing anyway), they shouldn’t have to go through it all over again to catch you up. While there will inevitably be times when you have back-to-back meetings and can’t familiarize yourself with the most up-to-date information, doing everything in your power to be as informed as possible prior to your meetings will maximize the value of these check-ins. Your reps will thank you for it.

Incorporate data

Reading the notes from CRM can only give you part of the picture of the state of the deal. Examining the objective data of current and past opportunities can be hugely useful in determining what next steps to take on a deal. Conditions like whether a future meeting is in the calendar and when the last contact was made with a prospect are simple, objective elements that can suggest the next step. You can then get more complex, incorporating data from past deals. Have you held talks with a prospect’s competitor? The data from that opportunity can predict obstacles you’ll encounter down the road and reveal which value propositions succeed and fail for this type of customer.

Prioritize your time

Sales reps already find one-on-one check-ins annoying. They have to drop everything they’re working on to spend thirty minutes in a room rehashing the activity on a deal. When sales managers use the majority of the meeting to assuage their own insecurity around the deal and build a forecast, it’s hard to blame the rep for dreading the check in. To ensure the sales check-in is valuable for both the rep and the manager, spend more than the last ten minutes offering weak tips that the rep already knew. Prioritize helping the rep over helping yourself. Acknowledge that you may be stressed over building a forecast or reporting a strong pipeline, and that this could make you inclined to spend most of the meeting simply interrogating the state of the deal. If you have 30 minutes with a rep, make sure you spend no more than ten minutes asking questions that only help you. Then spend the next ten minutes answering questions. Let the final ten be unscripted so that any key topics that come up can be addressed. Focus on providing the rep with useful insight and data that can help them close the deal.

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