Annual Sales Training/Meetings

Ah, I am procrastinating in the preparation of my decks for the sales meeting and/or training next week, I have come to reflect on the whole concept.

I have written in the past on “Sales Meeting Musings“, as have others, including a snark filled comment by The Cranky PM.

But this ritual is rife. Once a year (or every other year), you gather the sales people into a room, and you let them bask in the glory that is Sales, have them tell Paul Bunyon sized bullshit tales of their heroics (never once acknowledging the parachuting in of Product Management to salvage a HUGE deal), and to drink expensive booze and smoke cuban cigars.

Every time, I have to prepare a deck. I have to tailor it to the lowest common denominator, usually a greenhorn sales asociate, or a senior guy that “doesn’t know how to spell AFM let alone how it works” even though he has 10 years of experience in the company.

This is a hugely difficult task.  You have to cover the basics, and cater to the vast middle ground.

This invariably comes down to stroking egos, yielding up the best nuggets from my market and competitive analysis (that I don’t want to share, because the blabbermouths will email it to their friends at our competitors) to keep their interest.

One year, we had a product that was going gangbusters in photovoltaic research.  But our sales people couldn’t speak the language.  I put together a 4 hour bootcamp that started from the basics (semiconductor diode) through the principal technologies, and what we could do to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

And not even a week later, I was required to fly to the Philippines to talk with a customer, because our sales team was too weak to do it.

Weak sauce.

Why bother?

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