Retail & Distribution Management Meeting & Contests
Key Concerns of Sales Managers • Goal Setting – Audacious ? Achievement rare & Partisan Behaviour • Quality Manpower being pouched, especially by Insurnace / Banking – before they join and get trained…. • Business goals & strategic framework unknown to frontline • Do not know ! No one has ever told us ! • Focused on ‘selling in’ • Metamorphosing warfare with marketing battles – Not understood • More informed teams were found dynamic and their products moving faster off the shelf
Expectations from people What will make sales personnel strive beyond a fair day’s work: • Stretch • Passion • Self-starter • Self-directed They will meet expectations only if they have job satisfaction.
What brings people to sales ? • Needs for personal growth • Recognition • Fast-track promotions • Financial rewards • Higher responsibilities Needs fulfilled = Job Satisfaction
How do you stimulate these needs • Sales Meetings • Sales Contests
Job Satisfaction Vs Job Performance • Does job performance lead to job satisfaction OR • Does job satisfaction lead to job performance Well, there is a positive relationship – Direction can be anyway. Job Performance Job Satisfaction
Motivation & Performance What is motivation ? From above: Unhappy with current performance leads to motivation From self: Can decreased job satisfaction stimulate job performance. No simple answers here….. • Concern for people vs Concern for work • Leadership styles.
Leadership Roles In successful team meetings the requirements for task performance and social satisfaction are met. Roles Leaders Play: 1. Task Specialist Role: A role in which an individual devotes personal time and energy to helping the team accomplish its task. Behaviours of a Task Specialist: • Initiation – proposes new solutions. • Give Opinions – Candid feedback to others • Seek information – task-relevant facts • Summarize – Pulls ideas together into a perspective • Energize – Stimulates when interest drops.
Leadership Roles 2. Socioemotional Role: Support team members’ social needs. Socioemotional Behaviours: • Encourage – Are warm and receptive to others’ ideas. Praise others for their ideas. • Harmonize – Reconcile group conflicts. • Reduce tension – Bring in humour. Jokes when the team is tense. • Follow – Go along and agree to others ideas. • Compromise – May shift own opinion to maintain team harmony.
Leaders are responsible for creating teams What is a team ? “A unit of two or more people who interact and coordinate their work to accomplish a specific goal.” • Two or more people are required. – Teams can be large consisting of about 15 people or even All India teams. • People in team have long interaction. – People standing in a queue or in an elevator do not interact and therefore do not qualify for a team-like interaction. • People in team share a performance goal – design a new software, build a car or students doing an assignment in groups
Types of Teams • Formal Teams: Created by the organisation as part of the formal organisation structure. • Vertical Teams: A formal team composed of a manager and his subordinates through chain of command. • Horizontal Teams: A team consisting of same hierarchical level but from different areas of expertise.
Types of Teams • Committee: A long lasting, sometimes permanent created to deal with tasks that recur regularly – CECs. • Special Purpose teams: A project of special importance and creativity.
Greater autonomy to employees The idea of a team meeting is to increase the participation of low-level workers in decision making. The ultimate objective is to improve performance. • Problem-solving team Meet: People from the same department meet to find ways of improving performance. • Self-Directed teams Meet: People multi-skilled who rotate jobs to produce an entire product or service often supervised by an elected member.
Member Roles In successful teams the requirements for task performance and social satisfaction are met. Roles Members Play: 1. Task Specialist Role: A role in which an individual devotes personal time and energy to helping the team accomplish its task. Behaviours of a Task Specialist: • Initiation – proposes new solutions. • Give Opinions – Candid feedback to others • Seek information – task-relevant facts • Summarize – Pulls ideas together into a perspective • Energize – Stimulates when interest drops.
Member Roles 2. Socioemotional Role: Support team members’ social needs. Socioemotional Behaviours: • Encourage – Are warm and receptive to others’ ideas. Praise others for their ideas. • Harmonize – Reconcile group conflicts. • Reduce tension – Bring in humour. Jokes when the team is tense. • Follow – Go along and agree to others ideas. • Compromise – May shift own opinion to maintain team harmony.
Stages of Team Meetings Forming: Characterized by orientation and acquaintance • Possibilities of finding friendship – uncertainty • Trying to know ground rules – “expectations” (Will I fit in, What is acceptable) Storming: Individual personalities emerge • People become assertive • Conflict and disagreement • Leadership – encourage participation and surface differences
Stages of Team Meetings Norming: Conflicts developed during the storming stage are resolved. • Establishment of order and cohesion • Clarifying team roles, norms and values (Leadership) Performing: Focus on problem solving and team’s accomplishment • Cooperation • Facilitating task accomplishment (Leader) Adjourning: Members prepare for ending the meeting • Especially in the case of committees and task forces who have limited roles to perform. • Emotional for some – Members may regret end of the meeting, especially if there are unresolved issues.
Managing Conflict What is a conflict ? “Antagonistic interaction in which one party attempts to thwart the intentions or goals of another.” What are the causes of Conflict ? • Scarce resources – Desire to achieve lead to seeking resources. • Jurisdictional Ambiguities – job boundaries and responsibilities are unclear • Communication Breakdown - misunderstandings • Personality Clashes – People do not see eye to eye. • Power and Status Differences – Hierarchy and status • Goal Differences – People pursuing conflicting goals.
Styles to Handle Conflict Team members are either assertive or cooperative. However effective team members vary their style of handling conflict to fit a specific situation. • The Competing Style: Assertiveness to get one’s own way; this can be used when quick and decisive action is vital. • The Avoiding Style: Neither assertive nor cooperative. This can be resorted to when the issue is trivial. • The Compromising Style: Moderate amount of both assertiveness and cooperativeness. When goals on both sides are equally important. Time pressures lead to compromises. • The Accommodating Style: When maintaining harmony is important. • The Collaborating Style: Bargaining and Negotiation to reach a win-win situation.
Potential Costs of Meetings Power Realignment: If suggestions of one group prevails, the other group loose on power and resources. Free Riders: A person who benefits from realignment due to contiguous location. Coordination Costs: Groups need time getting ready to do work and loose on productive time in preparation, travel and subsequent brief-meets.
Field Sales Meetings are about getting together • Are for communication and motivational purposes. • Sales People are out in the field Without day-to-day supervision No fixed hours Own interests • Sales Meetings are occasions to stimulate people and raise their standards. • It is all about leadership and balancing of concern for task and concern for people.
How do you go about it ? • Defining the specific meeting aims • Deciding the meeting content • Determining methods of conducting the meeting • Deciding how to execute the meeting. • Deciding how to evaluate the meeting. There cannot be an “excuse for holding a meeting” Also important would be: • Minutes of the meetings • Action Plans
Purpose of Meeting - drive performance What drives performance - Interaction • Open environment • Stimulate questioning • Challenge the Leader • Leadership task to provide the right environment • Performance is a result of pushing for results within the organisation • One employee demanding from the other • No fiefdoms – Managers are possessive of information • More aware person is a more educated – Economic Times reading………
Sales Meeting is a platform for communication • Brings about clarity and cohesion of action plans • A tool for periodic review • Team building exercise • An effective tool to make information available to a large number of people • Examples of ‘excellence’, ‘success stories’ and ‘failures’ • Take the example of a typical MBA class – “case studies” and the fear of failure in the class. • In effect, a sales meeting can send strong signals and mesages
Communication prior to the Meeting is the key • Why are we meeting ? – typical reactions…. • “Oh no, not again….” • “How can I contribute” ? Some frequently observed comments: • “It is a bloody circus”, • “It is a necessary evil…a ritual to be performed” • “Boss has to save his job” • “It is an eye-wash” • “They are wasting my time !” In most cases, communication or lack of communication is the fundamental issue.
Noble intentions are also there……… • Noble intentions are common…… Boss’s concern for work - professional approach. • An employee essentially wants to learn and grow with the organisation. • Both have common goals… Issue is knowing that they have common goals. But does the boss know how to call for a meeting ? • Communicate, Communicate and Communicate….. • Make terms of reference clear…….. • In sale of goods - ‘conditions of sale’ • In contracts – ‘The use of words Whereas’ and definitions • ‘DKDK’ phenomena
Grand Plan for the Meeting Doing small things well • Clarity on specific purpose to be achieved prior to the meeting. • Sequencing – Brief by MD to add seriousness and setting-up the stage….. • Contents – Priorities and schedule of time for each topic • Presentations by field staff and HO staff – it is no performance appraisal. • Theory of ‘Reciprocity’ • ‘Work-shops’ and Outside Speakers to address monotony but check ‘relevance’
Types of Meetings Objective-Linked and Typical Meetings • National Sales Conference – Annual • Regional Sales Meetings – Quarterly Review • Branch Sales Meetings – Monthly Review • Local Sales Meetings – HQ Meetings “Concept of Invitees”………. On-line / Real Time Meetings • Telephonic • Dinner at home • Traveling together and the list goes on
A-C-M-E-E approach • Aims – Objectives e.g. new product launch / competitive reaction / sales promotion initiative / advertising campaign / New reporting systems etc. • Content – An outline of agenda / Sets expectations. Consider a Pricing Decisions – Content should seek forecasting with the new price, competitive reaction, “What-If” scenarios, Sales promotion to cushion the effect of price-hike etc. • Method – Time-frame for each topic – “No free-wheel discussion • Execution – Venue / Menu / Speakers / Trivia like seating arrangement • Evaluation – Criteria / What shall be the outcome / Have we achieved the desired outcome / Feedback and improvement.
What gives rise to meetings ? - AIMS • Uncovering of new insights • Bosses tend to read… and get ideas. • Competition bench-marking stimulated by marketing intelligence Perfect reasons as far as we have our aims • Right • Realistic • Attainable Questions to Ask:What will be the outcome ? Will the outcome be profitable ? Priorities of time ? Justification
What is the agenda ? - Content • List of things: - An outline e.g. “Competition launching a new product” • Informational • Reduces Anxiety • Counter Moves for a competitive launch – when and how. This requires research: • Why is competition launching • What is their strategy • How are they going to launch – “Noise levels” • React or Watch and react…. Over-reaction can be dangerous and send wrong signals.
How do I conduct a meeting ? - Method • Methodology depending on the aim. • Short meeting for a briefing – what else can be done. • Interactive – “Brain-storming” – how long ? • Planning – Pre-meet formats to be circulated. • Time frame to be examined – wider content versus focused points. • Mix of methods
Success dependent on Execution • Speakers – who will initiate • Day - by sessions • Meeting site • Room arrangement based on active participation or Listening, Noting • Depending on number of people: Round Table / Oval Shape / British Square / Inverted “U-shape” or Work-shop….
Pre & Pot Meeting - Evaluation • Often neglected. Boss: “My job is over; now it is for them to do it” Subordinate: “It was the usual aimless, away from ground reality, jamboree event….boss had nothing to do”
Individual Interactions Conferencing with each sales person Inter-personal touch for commitment • What are expectations • Resources & Help critical for success • How much independence • How well they are doing – “Feedback” • Basis for future rewards – incentives (Short-term) • Annual appraisal (Progress to promotion)
Contests • A special campaign to achieve ‘focus’ e.g. “Operation Volume” • Shift ‘comfort-zones’ of routine work • To achieve ‘stretch’ – Do more rather than less ; To the limit and beyond • To bring about a team-spirit and add excitement to the mundane job The idea is to provide impetus “Shahbash Jawan”………. Let’s get on with this………. Let’s achieve a million cases today and so on
Objectives of Contests • New Customers – New Geographies • Push slow-moving items from the portfolio or achieve a more profitable mix • Seasonal slump • Productivity of sales personnel – Own or Trade Partner’s • Improve top-of-mind salience during a TV Campaign • To involve trade-partners in the marketing process of the brand • Trade partners can fall in love with your brand only if you show the passion
Kinds of Prizes • Cash Prizes – Incentives (Monthly & Cumulative) Substantial amounts are effective • Merchandise – Items of interest to the audience Evidence of achievement to be shared with family • Travel – Conferences / 5 star stays / Holiday resorts • Travel – “Come fly with me contest” • Special Honour – Letters of appreciation, Salesman of the year award etc. Stimulating for progressive & mobile employees
Objections to Contests • No preferential treatment to ‘sales function’ • High calibre people consider it undesirable because they are self motivated • Short-term and customer focused and not consumer focused leading to over-stocking • Generates disappointment in large number of losers versus small number of winners • Narcotic effect – “I will sell when the contest is announced” – scheme-brands The answer lies in a balanced view. There are no black and white answers.
Issues with Contests Number of Prizes • Can you make everyone win ? • Do Consolation prizes have adverse impact • Element of Bias Duration of Contest • Interest levels go down with longer durations • Too short a duration will lead to temporary gains and then proportionate decline • Series of promotions – pre-planned as a part of the yearly calender but not cast in stone • Short-term and Long-term gains …