Building an Effective Battle Rhythm Part 2: Establishing a Predictable Schedule
Last week in Part 1 of Building an Effective Battle Rhythm, we identified the top three priorities you need to focus on when developing the battle rhythm for your sales team.
Establishing a structured cadence which includes regularly scheduled opportunities to connect, update, and re-energize members of your team.
Fostering an environment of collaboration that encourages individuals to share ideas and experience.
Honing individual skills and expertise in a positive and supportive environment.
In this post we want to focus on the first priority on the list, establishing your cadence. And most importantly how you keep the focus on what your sales team needs to succeed and not what you need.
There are three things you should consider when designing the schedule for your battle rhythm:
1. Minimize the amount of time you take your team out of the field.
Company Sales leadership needs to remember that every time they pull a sales person into a meeting they are taking away time for them to be out selling. So they need their sales people walking out of these meetings thinking that it was a good use of their time.
When you are designing your battle rhythm, consider if you need to hold every meeting every week. It may be possible to alternate your meetings each week. Sales meeting one week and 121s the next rather than sales meetings and 121s every week.
When you are getting ready to add a new event to the calendar; ask yourself two questions:
!. Are you pushing information out or pulling information from you team?
If you are trying to get information from your team, is it information that you can get elsewhere? If you are pushing information out, is it information that has to be shared in a meeting format or can it effectively be distributed in another manner?
2. What are you or your team going to do with this information?
If you won't be using that information to provide an immediate takeaway for your team or if the information would have an immediate short term impact, then you should seriously reconsider adding that meeting and find another way to accomplish your goal.
When looking at your calendar, remember that in many industries the last week of the month is a high op-tempo week for sales people as they try to close the final deals of the month. Refrain from scheduling any extra events and even consider not scheduling any recurring events for that week. Leave your team's and your schedule as free as possible so everyone has flexibility with their calendar.
2. Vary the content and focus from event to event
It is easy when writing an agenda for your sales meetings or 121s to just write a single version and do the sale thing every week. Another option, one I think is much more effective, is to understand the cycle that your team goes through each month and adjust the meeting agenda so that each week the content is focused on what they will be actively working on that week.
For example the first week of the month tends to be much more prospecting focused rather than closing as most sales people pushed hard the week before and now need to replenish their pipeline. So a topic of discussion at your weekly sales meeting could be buyer personas led by marketing or sales ops could be talking about tactics to effectively prospect. This allows your team to walk out of the sales meeting with new information rather than doing the very same thing as the week before.
Varying the content of your meetings helps keep the meeting from turning into a necessary evil in the eyes of our sales team and it shows them that you are actively looking for ways to help them be more successful. It makes the meetings about them and less about you.
3. Make sure the content provides value to your team.
The biggest mistake I see when evaluating business owners and sales managers on how they engage with their team, is that the engagements are all based on leadership pulling information from the sales people. At some point in your career you have probably experienced the stereotypical sales meeting where the entire meeting is spent with the sales team reviewing their pipeline and each member everyone what they expect to close that week and that month. What value does a sales person really get from sitting through an hour of listening to their teammates list off what they have in their funnel? Absolutely none. The sales people are engaged the 5 minutes that they are the one talking. The rest of the time they are thinking about what else they could be doing. This is especially true in the modern selling environment where all levels of management have real time data regarding account status and forecasts available in a CRM system, and the sales team knows this.
Your number one responsibility as the sales manager is to develop your team. Every meeting you schedule with your team you need to make sure that meeting is designed to support them, NOT support you. If a meeting is all about feeding your needs as the manager, then that meeting needs to be cut from the schedule.
Now, the content does not have to just be training based, whether that training is a powerpoint presentation or role playing. There are a number or different items you can cover in your meetings that go beyond traditional sales training; peer deal reviews, industry trends discussions, marketing working groups etc. Over the next two weeks we will be talking solely about what you can include in your meetings.
Remember, the key to establishing an effective sales battle rhythm is to make sure you are using your sales people's time efficiently and effectively. If you are pulling them out of the field that time needs to facilitate them closing more in the future or they will see it as a waste of their time and see you as less of a resource and more of an obstacle keeping them from selling. And you don't want to be an obstacle.