Perhaps it’s not as bad as meeting with Lumbergh from Office Space, who would always surprise his employees with an annoying “Hey Peter, what’s happening?” in a very slow drawl. Then continuing “Yeaah, we need to talk… and if you could go ahead and take care of that – that would be terrific.” Gag!
A lot of sales reps we know just hate meeting with their sales manager. Here are the common complaints we hear:
- “He adds no value to my job.”
- “She’s only concerned about the numbers.”
- “He doesn’t really understand what it takes to make sales happen.”
- “She’s out of touch with our customers.”
Well, the bad news is that meetings with your sales manager are going to continue. You can only dodge them for so long, so let’s figure out how to make them work to your advantage.
Work the Numbers
Ok, sure your manager is focused on your numbers. Duh, that’s their job. Unfortunately, you can’t control how in tune managers are with the sales floor and customers, no matter how beneficial it could be in their ability to drive results.
What is in your control, is how you approach these meetings. You want to own your performance and that starts with being on top of what your manager cares about.
First things first, numbers. The important sales numbers that you should always be ready to speak to are:
- Your average deal size
- Your win rate
- The opportunities created per week
Walk in and lay it out for your manager, so they don’t even have to ask. I’m sure it will be refreshing for the manager too and you can start off on a good note.
Don’t fall into the trap of letting the meeting be about the same old status updates. Get your CRM system updated ahead of time, perhaps with a handy app, like Spiro, that does the data entry for you. Maybe even send your manager a quick bulleted list of what you’ve been working on before the meeting. Get that shit out of the way!
Then, come to the meeting prepared to talk about the deals that you’re struggling with. Even if your manager doesn’t know anything about sales, your customers or even your company’s product… just the time spent kicking around one of your challenges with someone else should help you think it through.
Talk About The Losses
We hate doing this, right? How often have you said “those guys are just a bunch of assholes” about some customer that didn’t decide to buy from you and your company? Use the time with your manager to dig deeply into what went wrong and what you can learn from it.
Often we don’t do this because we don’t want to look stupid in front of our manager, but let’s face it: they saw the deal going down the drain already, so it’s not like you’re hiding it from them. This gives you an opportunity to actually learn something.
Drive The Agenda
Lastly, nobody knows what you need and how your manager can help you better than you. Instead of dreading the meeting, spend your time preparing by brainstorming what you would like to talk about. Managers are demanding results, so on the flip side, it is their responsibility to give you the tools and information you need to be successful. Think about what you need from your manager, how he or she may be able to help you to get pull with certain people or specific feedback you can request on aspects of your performance.
By taking this different approach to meeting with your sales manager, there is no need to dread when your manager does come strolling around your desk with impending criticism. Instead, own your performance by strolling into their office with your agenda and a slow “Hi Lumbergh, what’s happening?”