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I’d like to talk about the sales managers role in joint sales calls. Joint sales call defined as when a salesperson brings someone else along into a meeting with them. It could be you the manager, it could be a technical person, it could be a variety of people. I’ve talked about some of the drawbacks to and the negatives that can happen with a joint sales call.

For today, I want to talk about joint calls from the managers perspective, how can you better shape and manage and coach the process.

The biggest problem can be, when we have a joint sales call, everyone is on different pages. A salesperson brings you on a call, and the prospect or the client isn't sure why you're there, or they're not sure who they should talk to, or they just don’t know what’s going on.

Or, we get to the meeting, the salesperson thought you were going to talk, and you thought the salesperson was going to talk. The salesperson thought you were going to ask questions, and you thought the salesperson was going to ask questions.

It's a train wreck most of the time.

You need to help shape that process as the manager.

You need to drive a ‘pre-call process’ where you plan out, with a checklist, what things you need to prepare for with the person they're bringing with. Then some practice, if necessary, to role play a bit of what happens with certain scenarios. Because a lot of things can happen.

Let's say a technical rep is with the salesperson on the call. The prospect asks a technical question of the technical person, and then the technical person starts giving all kinds of information, way more than you'd want them to (we call that unpaid consulting). Then the salesperson is trying to kick the technical person under the table to get their attention to stop.

So, you have to look at it from the technical person’s perspective. With many technical people in organizations, their role is to provide solutions. That's fine. But if you’re in the sales process, at that place where you’re not trying to give solutions (you’re trying to better probe for needs, concerns and pains), now you have a technical-type salesperson giving solutions that could lead to unpaid consulting.

That's just not good.

Have your salespeople on board with a pre-call process and have you ensuring it's happening. I know it's one of those things that takes a back seat. There should be a pre-call meeting, a checklist, and a process for most meetings of any consequence.

When you're going on a call with your salespeople or they're bringing someone with, I highly suggest you do these two steps. Planning with a checklist to make sure everything's covered, and everyone knows their roles, responsibilities and what to do in certain situations. Then the second part is to practice. Role play and get the word track down so you're practicing before the game, not during the game in the actual sales meeting.

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