41% of organizations missed the Q1 revenue number. Yet great people in the field are succeeding right now. Meanwhile, other reps claim your company’s performance conditions are holding them back. What’s really going on in the field?
This article is written for the top sales leader. It shows you how to leverage your team to solve your problems. What does the team think about the organization’s opportunities? Call upon the individuals who are currently making the number to find out. Use the concept of the Expert Panel. Whether it is Sales Strategy, Sales Performance, or Sales Force Evaluation, the Expert Panel can help.
Click here to receive the SBI Expert Panel Guide. It includes everything you need to conduct a deep dive into the roadblocks your organization faces. You get two important documents:
- Sample Expert Panel pre-work document
- Detailed template for an Expert Panel meeting agenda
The Expert Panel is a select collection of the top performers in the organization. It is convened by the CSO or the top sales officer. It includes representatives from sales and marketing. It may also include Ops people, Product Development, etc. The key is to think hard about whose POV you want to get. Skew it heavily towards top performers from the field organization. Skew away from “corporate” people. The value individuals bring is directly proportionate to their proximity to the front lines.
Here are the attributes of an ideal Expert Panel member:[p]
- Front line credibility
- Top performer in their area of expertise
- Respected by the organization as a whole
- Professionally Outspoken
- Capable of thinking outside their functional area or geographic location
- Personality is a “force multiplier.” They will take the positive output from the panel back to their locations.
5 Simple Tips for Expert Panel Success
- Position the panel for maximum impact. Make sure the individuals you select understand that it’s a big deal to be invited. Salespeople love recognition. When they get back to their jobs, their performance will probably get even better! Also, they will take best ideas back to their locations. Perception is reality, and your employees will perceive you want to make things better. Bring the panel together the night before for a nice dinner. You’re the top sales officer – people want your attention.
- Know what it is that you want to learn. When you selected the participants, you considered who to invite. Now you have to consider specifically what you’d like to learn. Where are the gaps in your team’s performance? List them. Review the two tools in the SBI Expert Panel Guide. Customize them to fit your company. They include over 50 quality questions. You can think of hundreds more for your top performers. Get the big items out on the table. Questions like:
- Are you using the Sales Process we taught you when you are in front of prospects?
- Why do our reports show poor adoption of the new CRM?
- Why do good sales reps leave us?
- When you first meet with a prospect, what research have they already done online?
- Ask the Panel to complete some pre-work. Your panel only has a limited amount of time (typically half a day) to meet. They need to be in the right frame of mind when they arrive. Use the downloadable pre-work document as a starting point. You can ask them to think about general topics. You can also get very targeted around the gaps you’ve identified. They can send their thoughts back in advance, or bring them along.
- Customize (and follow) an Agenda. Our experience shows that the time will fly. Use the agenda template from the downloadable tool as a guide for the meeting. Put it on your company’s PowerPoint template and make it yours. Appoint a timekeeper when the Panel meets.
- Don’t attend. The top sales leader should not attend the Expert Panel. You are thinking to yourself “What? I am bringing my top performers together and I won’t run the meeting? Ridiculous!” It’s true. Our experience shows top performers are less vocal and straightforward if executives are present. They’re too quick to agree with the boss. Instead, stop by at the beginning, congratulate the members for being selected, and leave. Use an outside firm to facilitate the meeting. Or appoint a trusted lieutenant.
Missing the number cuts like a knife. We are already two weeks into the second quarter. You’ve already made plans for the summer. When you head out on vacation in July, will you be ahead of your number? Your Expert Panel can help you find a way.