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Will Technology Kill the National Sales Meeting?

Mark Magnacca | Nov 3, 2017 122 views 3 Comments

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Early sunsets, trees exploding with color, and Jets fans tearing out their hair after yet another mind-blowing loss. Yes, it’s the season for planning National Sales Meetings. Also known as fall. Yearly sales kickoffs seem as deeply woven into sales culture as Rolex and Glengarry Glen Ross quotes. In the pre-digital days, there weren’t any better ways for sales leaders to align and train their teams. But in a world of ubiquitous mobile, video and social technology, might the days of the NSM be numbered?

Everyone loves parts of sales kickoffs. Nothing strengthens teams like reconnecting in person. Highly anticipated launches build excitement behind new products and campaigns. Recognition in front of our peers properly rewards extraordinary effort. And embarrassing late night behavior fuels laughter for months and years afterwards.

Other parts, not so much, like lost selling time, narcissistic motivational speakers, high costs and yet more time away from home. Poorly prepared presenters who just mail it in frustrate leaders and send reps to their mobile phones. From a cold, hard ROI perspective, maybe the National Sales Meeting SHOULD go the way of Blockbuster Video.



But curiously, rather than burying the venerable National Sales Meeting, mobile video is giving it a new, stronger lease on life. Customers are using mobile and video platforms to improve sales training and reinforce information taught at the NSM by:

  • Swapping PowerPoint for live interaction: why waste valuable team time listening to presentations when they could easily be recorded and watched ahead of time? Free up group time to question, clarify, debate and expand. And/or cut the schedule down a day.
  • Spreading the knowledge: record valuable kick-off sessions to share with employees outside sales, future sales hires, and reps that want to utilize it again later in the year. It doesn’t take a professional AV team. YouTube not Hollywood.
  • Ensuring sellers remember and apply what gets rolled out: our brains start losing new information the day after we learn it, and up to 90% within a month. A little reinforcement learning after the event cements knowledge in long-term memory for reps to utilize in sales conversations.

National Sales Meetings powered by mobile video boost ROI by reducing costs and lost selling time, leveraging valuable content more broadly, and ensuring the new things sales team learn truly impact performance. The team gets more mileage from all the hard work that goes into an NSM and more value from the valuable time spent together.

Now, if only our development team could perfect a feature that cures hangovers and jet lag…

PS – check out the Best and Worst NSM Challenge we’re running over on LinkedIn. Share your experience or “like” your favorite. Winners get Bose headphones to take the edge off traveling to this year’s kickoff.

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3 Responses to Will Technology Kill the National Sales Meeting?

  1. Michael Lowenstein November 4, 2017 at 8:03 am (1320 comments) #

    So long as technology doesn’t dominate the National Sales Meeting, or any targeted communication and team-building conference, it can – as has been going on for years – enhance the productivity and individual value of these events. Technology can be leveraged to provide information, often in an entertaining and even interactive manner, which has the potential to be more memorable than personal presentations.

  2. Chip R. Bell November 5, 2017 at 4:56 am (189 comments) #

    This could also be the solution for family and class reunions, church services, and summer camps. Each family or class member could send in a selfie to be sent out to all. You could take virtual communion and Skype the sermon or the class president doing the “remember when” speech. And, you could take a picture of a camp fire and send it out to all the would-be campers along with a PDF of your favorite spooky campfire story. Oh, the time and expense you could save. Who needs a pep rally or cheerleaders anyway? Just watch the game…or better yet, just read the stats after it is over.

    If you look at a National Sales Meeting solely as the forum for communication and the dissemination of information, technology could effectively accomplish that goal. But, selling is far more than features and benefits, just like church is more than rituals and sermons. It is an assembly for forging supportive networks, a bonding experience that builds emotional connection to a brand and team members, and a crucible for encouragement, inspiration and learning.

  3. Andrew Hally November 6, 2017 at 5:51 am (1 comment) #

    Chip, your comment connecting NSM and church reminds me of that saying, “sales is a battle of beliefs!”

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