Recently, I had the pleasure – and privilege – of being hired by Merrill Dubrow, President & CEO of M/A/R/C Research, to be a guest presenter at his national sales meeting in Dallas. The other guest presenter was Ryan Barry with Zappi, so I was in pretty good company.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been part of such a well-organized, educational and enjoyable sales meeting. And while I wasn’t there for the entire event, what I did see provides a solid model for how to structure and host an effective sales meeting.
Most importantly, the whole team was there. Even though this large team (some dedicated sales reps, some seller-doers) is scattered across the U.S., M/A/R/C invested in bringing them all together for this event. Doing that ensures that all messaging and all training is consistent across the board. It’s also critical for building a cohesive team.
Second, the sales meeting was built around three kinds of education:
Internal: Merrill and his co-presenters (Randy Wahl & Jim O’Hara) were responsible for sharing with the team what was happening inside the firm – product & service updates, future strategy, changes in marketing, etc.
External: That’s where Ryan and I came in. Having outside perspective & expertise ensures that the M/A/R/C team isn’t learning just through the company lens. While the leadership at M/A/R/C is pretty sharp, they also recognize that taking advantage of outside resources is important.
In this case, I had three specific roles… to deliver a presentation on maintaining & growing existing clients, another on acquiring new clients and finally, to be the ‘client’ in a role-playing exercise (talk about a pressure – having to ‘sell’ in front of their peers and their boss!).
Team building: They really made this event GREAT FUN! And it happened two ways. Of course, there were the after-hours social activities, meals & beverages. The entire team earned some well-deserved relaxation time after a hard day of work and got to connect and really know each other on a personal level. They cemented themselves as a ‘team.’ (See the photo from dinner one evening.)
The other team-building exercise – that I was lucky enough to be part of – took place in the training room. Merrill organized a seemingly silly small-group activity. Silly, yes… but with a purpose. He divided the room into four small groups, then gave each group a bath towel with instructions to create a specific “towel animal.” Our group didn’t realize that there were also ‘other resources’ scattered around the room… more towels, pipe cleaners, etc. The exercise was one to test communications & leadership within the group, the smart use of resources, etc.
Making sure that any company meeting is a productive and efficient use of time is important (just think about how often your Monday morning staff meetings are a waste of time)… but planning a big sales meeting like this – when your entire revenue-generating team is out of the field – has to be a home run. Not only did Merrill and his colleagues crack the code on how to create, structure and run a large sales meeting, the investment of time and dollars was paying off almost immediately – everyone on the team was engaged in the class discussions, taking copious notes and even talking about the classroom content after hours. Clearly the lessons ‘took.’ Very impressive.
Think about the reasons for putting together a ‘big’ sales meeting like this:
- The sharing of information
- Adding a few new tools to the reps’ toolkits
- Adding a few new skills to the reps’ skillsets
- Helping them feel a part of the mothership (especially for remote staff)
I think all of these were accomplished at M/A/R/C last week.
Well done, Mr. Dubrow!
By the way, if you’re looking for a guest speaker for your next company function, reach out to me at Steve@HarpethMarketing.com or 615.721.5330.