article | March 24, 2013
VP Sales: What To Do On a Branch Visit
The challenge is how to use those 10 hours in (insert city here) effectively. This article tells the sales leader how to spend time, their most precious commodity.
Download the complete Guide to an Effective Location Visit by clicking here.
To be effective, you need to know what’s going on. How do you gather the right information? Some leaders provide a template for their teams to complete in advance. This can prevent them from surfacing issues that don’t fit into the pre-determined format. Some leaders ask for a presentation, but give no specific guidance. “I want to see what they focus on” is the idea here. Much gnashing of teeth ensues as the team tries to anticipate the leader’s expectations.
This scenario has become even more confusing with the proliferation of cheap data. Some Fortune 1000 companies now capture enough information to paralyze their leaders. Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran several articles on this phenomenon. One issue: some organizations capture data without having any specific plan to leverage it.
You need a framework for thinking. The smart way of understanding a situation is to view it through multiple lenses. The sales leader should “frame up” the visit by visualizing this Venn diagram:
A Venn diagram shows all possible logical connections between sets of items. The advantages of this process are many. First, it makes clear big issues that pop up across multiple lenses. More importantly, it reminds you to look at your business from your Customers’ POV. Finally, you have to evaluate Competitors on a market or LOB level.
Each lens can be divided into two actionable parts – “Ask For” and “Ask About.” Here are some examples. For the complete Guide, you can go here.
This list of things to Ask For and Ask About is your starting point. It’s infinitely customizable to your specific situation. Next time they ask you to “power down all portable electronic devices” on the plane, start your own list. Use the Venn to spot logical relationships between items in the different lenses. Your visit will be well-rounded, effective, and full of timely topics. You’ll watch your team think on their feet. You will gain more insight into their grasp of the market – and its potential.
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