The 7 S’s of Effective Morning Sales Huddles

The 7 S’s of Effective Morning Sales Huddles
Kirk Madsen
Kirk Madsen
by Jon Bishop – March 2014

Successful sales managers know how to set the stage each day to prepare their sales team to meet their goals. That begins with the morning sales huddle.  Follow these seven essential steps and you’ll  get sales reps prepared for the day with the right mindset.

Strategize

  1. Effective sales rep huddles should last no more than 5-7 minutes – but they still require preparation and planning. Don’t wing it.  Take a few minutes the night before or in the morning to outline your objectives and meet with other managers to make sure you’re on the same page.
  2. Consider using a prop or visual aid. Example:  Bring a horseshoe. Ask, “What do you think of when you see this horseshoe?” Who’s had some good luck lately? What strategy did you use to make luck happen?”
  3. Vary the format and responsibilities. Some days break into teams, some days ask for individual responses.  Assign leadership to different reps, in part or in whole, as huddle captains.

Set the tone

  1. Matt Fahr
    Matt Fahr

    Start the meeting with music and get the blood pumping. Literally. Physical behavior influences the mental and emotional approach for the day.

  2. Consider starting with a great quote (e.g., Bobcats’ Matt Fahr using Michael Jordan quotes). Kirk Madsen with Monumental Sports and Entertainment likes to send a quote out the night before to get his sales staff thinking.

Spotlight individual and team successes

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Why should you lead team huddles?

    1. Gather: It’s important to bring the group together; to build community.
    2. Game plan: Your team needs to identify issues and strategies to overcome.
    3. Motivate: Sales is a motivation game. Play it.[/dropshadowbox]
  1. Recognize winners from the day before and celebrate their achievements with their peers in the room.
  2. Joel Adams of the Cavaliers asks what led to that success to uncover instant best practices.

Support and provide encouragement

  1. This is an opportunity to feature the right activity, even if it did not directly lead to sales that day.
  2. Share values in action. Have reps nominate someone else who demonstrated or embodied that value (e.g., Spurs: success, integrity, caring). 
  3. Brian Norman with the 76ers enjoys sharing positive emails from customers and other praise that encourages the right behaviors.

Strengthen by overcoming biggest challenges

  1. Recognize problems (“What are you hearing on the phones?”). Identify solutions.
  2. Use feedback to develop a plan of attack to common objections or hurdles in the sales process.
  3. Demonstrate that you personally care for them. When asked what stood out most about Spurs Coach Popovich, former Spurs player Malik Rose said, “He cares.”  Great leaders earn respect by showing they care – why not show this on a daily basis? 

State the focus and goals for the day

  1. This is when you get to hit “Reset” and draw up your play for the day.
  2. Go around the room asking for a unique response to the question of the day (“What do you want to achieve today?”).
  3. Create accountability and buy-in by getting reps to express their personal goal for the day.

Stimulate emotions with celebration & inspiration

  1. Target at least one thing to get into people’s hearts.
  2. Challenge them with a question like “What will you do today to get better?”
  3. How we feel that day influences what we think and do.
  4. Gathering for the huddle is a way for the staff to get into their starting blocks.  Reps know that when the huddle is dismissed – it’s time to seize the day.

What are your essentials for a morning huddle?

 

Sales Managers: 6 Keys to Becoming a Great(er) Leader

Sales Managers: 6 Keys to Becoming a Great(er) Leader
by Dionna Widder – March 2014

To be great(er) leaders, we must first master the craft of management, work on building upon our skills and talent, and develop trusting relationships with our employees and your managers.

The Great Blondin became famous for being the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Not just once, but eight times over two years. He walked blindfolded, on stilts, and even with a wheelbarrow.  He failed to build relationships with his audience therefore no one trusted him enough to volunteer to jump in his wheelbarrow to be pushed to cross the falls, except for his manager, who he carried across the falls on his back. 

If we want to be better leaders, we must do these six things.

Be self-aware

An easy exercise to evaluate yourself is to write out five things you do well and five things you can do better as a manager.  It is also important to draw awareness through feedback from reps. Would this kind of feedback surprise you?

  • “I want (my manager) to stop only training on how to sell over the phone”
  • “Start talking to us as professionals, not children”
  • “Stop canceling one-on-one meetings and not reschedule them”
  • “Start developing me on how to sell B2B”
  • “Stop being unapproachable”
  • “Stop socializing with select people in our department, it make me feel left out”
Carrie Kmetzo
Carrie Kmetzo

When areas of improvement are clearly identified, develop solutions. Carrie Kmetzo (Director, Ticket Sales & Service, Tulsa Shock) realized team building and personal connections with managers and reps would improve retention of reps. They created “Bachelor Brackets” on who would win in The Bachelor and hosted paintball games with reps to create fun engagement activities to build the connection.

Use outside resources to gain knowledge

Consider these sources: Books (join or start a book club), blogs, e-newsletters, associations, industry publications, participate in conference calls, webinars, leadership organizations (e.g., Toastmasters), and online search (Don’t know it? Google it.  Don’t know how? YouTube it. ).

Mike Fuhrman
Mike Fuhrman

Mike Fuhrman (Inside Sales Manager, Minnesota Timberwolves) has been proactive at using outside resources and scheduling in time to participate in his company’s book club, being an active member of Toastmasters, and he participates in local chamber events.

Learn from your environment

Samantha Hicks
Samantha Hicks

Learn from others’ experiences. Be a sponge. As Samantha Hicks (Director, Ticket Sales & Service, Indiana Fever) shares, “I learn from the different styles of each of my superiors. I take note of how they communicate with me and with others in the room.”

Brian Norman
Brian Norman

Brian Norman (Sales Manager, Philadelphia 76ers) suggests having heads of the other departments in your organization be guest speakers periodically to expand the knowledge base of reps outside of sales and to help spur career motivation of sales reps.

Develop relationships & have mentors

Self-development doesn’t have to always be done by yourself.  We need to involve others who are willing to provide constructive feedback, give you advice, and share insight from their personal experiences. Find at least one mentor of each of these four types: superior, lateral, internal, and external.

Utilize your manager to learn and grow

Michael Brown
Michael Brown

If you want training, go to your manager and ask for it and be specific what you want to learn and recommend how they can help you learn it. Michael Brown (Inside Sales Manager, Memphis Grizzlies) visits regularly with his vice-president (for “challenges”), asking what he needs to know to develop his skill set and make a bigger contribution to the department. Michael requests for the opportunity to sit in on upper level sales meetings in the office,  and shadow him at games when possible.

Erin Leigh
Erin Leigh

Erin Leigh (Manager of Inside Sales, Brooklyn Nets) recommends offering comprehensive solutions when executives present problems faced by the team. Erin provided a solution– when the sales team started to lose their edge–to develop a comprehensive training program that she now leads for all sellers in the department.

Have a plan

Plans have goals, action steps, timeline (frequency), and how you’ll measure success.

List out the five things you want to do better. Define the actions you will take to accomplish each developmental goal. Establish a timeline and frequency in which you will execute each action. Define how you will measure your personal growth.

Ready to get started? Download this planning sheet and get with it. Now.

#LoveJu: How Juventus & Jeep Partner to Target the Digital Fan

#LoveJu: How Juventus & Jeep Partner to Target the Digital Fan
by Alex Stewart – March 2014

#LOVEJU

Juventus, la Vecchia Signora of Italian football, may be one of the most established brands in Italy, but she recently showed the sort of innovative approach to earned media that many newer, more agile brands could only sit back and admire. Using a multi-platform approach to social media, Juventus ran a competition to design a vast choreography within the stadium during the heated match with fellow soccer grandees Inter Milan.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foKIndrO6Uc

Users uploaded their suggestions via a Facebook app for a placard-based design to be rehearsed and performed by the Juve faithful as the teams took to the pitch. The app received:

  • 3122 suggestions,
  • over 4000 registered users,
  • 290,000 views, and
  • over 18,000 users voted for their favourite submission online using the #LoveJu hashtag.

This hashtag is itself a superbly crafted example of digital interactivity, a homophonic pun that is simple and appealing, and works on a platform where English is still the most used language.

During the game, the interactivity continued, as tweets using #LoveJu were displayed on the stadium’s massive screens. Many events now have this form of interactivity and it surely cannot be long before most stadiums in Europe follow suit, with the appropriate levels of screening, obviously.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”650px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

James Horncastle

“This was a great initiative, yet another example of Juventus’ modernity and innovative thinking. A number of clubs are embracing social media in Italy and doing a really good job at engaging with their support. The other clubs that spring to mind are Milan, Roma, Fiorentina and Parma with Inter and Napoli probably a touch behind though not by much. To return to the #LoveJu initiative, though it looked great and was a real success, I do think fan choreography is at its best when it’s spontaneous and designed by the supporters rather than the club.” ~ James Horncastle[/dropshadowbox]

Proper planning

Juventus’ initiative was over three months in the planning. They have had a digital department for two and a half years, which is longer than many clubs in Europe. I asked whether there were plans to follow up the choreography event and was told, perhaps a little cagily, that “it’s something that could perhaps be considered, but we view this particular event as more of a one-off”. Of course, with the app already produced and the hashtag well established, the nuts and bolts of such an initiative are in place, so any reactivation would be fairly straightforward. Indeed, one might ask why, given its undoubted success, it would not be something that the club would commit to. I suspect that it is an example of comms smoke and mirrors, rather than a genuine likelihood that it was a one-off.

Connecting the dots for sponsors

juve twitterThe Juventus spokesman I spoke with stated that “one of the aims of our social media initiatives is to give visibility to our sponsors.” Of course, this is achieved by repeated visual exposure to the shirt and its sponsor, Jeep. Beyond this, though, and the obvious positive brand association with a widely covered and ground breaking social media initiative, it is difficult to see any immediate, tangible benefit accrued by sponsors.

The predominant benefit for sponsors, anyway, is visual earned media and positive association for fans of the club with that brand. So, in that respect, something which is globally reported and talked about as a viral event achieves that aim. Nonetheless, I suspect that clubs and sponsors are working hard to maximize the earned media potential of social media engagement.

Building the digital fan base

The Juventus spokesman told me that social media is for the club is about:

  1. building a closer relationship with our fans and football aficionados,
  2. understanding their needs and opinions, and
  3. gaining and reaching out to new international fans worldwide.

The digital age has spawned what I like to call the digital fan, someone who may live on the other side of the world, but who feels part of the supporting community and lives that support as part of a connected web of fans, using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to participate in the supporter experience.

Before you might have been able to buy a club shirt and watch the occasional game on television, but now clubs can generate and drive support and engagement with social media. Fans feel actively part of the community through chat rooms, forums, and other online discussion platforms. Games can be watched on a wide array of satellite channels or live streams online. A digital fan can be almost as engaged as a season ticket holder who sits in the stands every week, and may even be more knowledgeable and active in their online life.

The #LoveJu choreography initiative was clearly designed to tap into this digital fan base and did so, registering interest from all corners of the globe. It is important for the digital fan to feel connected and so the participation rates for effectively planned events are high. Since this captive market puts itself forward to be part of an event, what sponsor wouldn’t want a piece of that action?

Opportunities for global brand partnerships

More and more events of this nature will be coming from clubs with a global fan base.  Global clubs and brands may partner to activate on each other’s websites and feed back into the clubs’ other communication channels to increase visibility and brand engagement. The potential is too big to ignore; where the Old Lady of Turin has led, others will surely follow.

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