What is a Sales Debrief?

Debrief after the call

Sales calls with prospects or even existing clients can get complicated with enormous amounts of information being exchanged. This can be compounded when there are members of your own team who have participated. Perhaps they were there to learn or more often, they needed to gather technical information and provide responses based upon this conversation.

No matter the circumstance, it is beneficial to all to have a debrief soon after, if not immediately, after the call.

Even seasoned sales reps benefit from a recap. Information is still fresh in everyone’s minds. There were likely questions that needed to be asked and it is important that participants got the answers they needed.

I have personally been on calls where I was unsure if the developer got the answers they were after but I certainly did not share that on the call. In similar situations I have also been unsure of the information that was conveyed because it was too technical (which is the whole reason I had them join the call to begin with.)

As the salesperson, it is your responsibility to make sure the goals were met from the call and that all is clear to the client, your team and yourself.

Using debriefs to train new reps

Never is this tool most important as when you are teaching someone new. To just have them join the call and observe and then have them just drop off when the client does, misses out on a valuable training opportunity.

Asking the new hire their thoughts on what had transpired. Questioning them on specifics so they understood what was important on the call and allowing them to in turn get clarification on anything that was unclear to them. Most importantly you can allow them to tell you what the next steps would be in the process and why. These lessons are far more impactful in a real life situation than any training could provide.

Post mortem after the loss

When a deal has been lost or a client leaves the natural inclination for most people is to forget it and just move on. In sales this is a very dangerous behavior. 

 A lot goes into getting to the point of proposing a contract to a prospect and even more work and effort goes into onboarding and working with a client. When these opportunities are lost it’s important to understand the big question of why. This is why a debrief, or in this case what some refer to as a postmortem. This is a dramatic term, but we are talking about a loss and some managers find the extremity to be useful in attributing value.

Soon after the dust has settled it is important for the key stakeholders within the company, those being quite probably the production manager, the salesperson, sales manager and anyone else in management that had a part or has a stake in the revenue from these opportunities.

These evaluations are meant to be able to either improve the offering or to help the business development team to better qualify and to improve the positioning of the company’s offerings to result in increased revenue overall.

These meetings do not have to be extensive. It can simply be a matter of walking through what steps were taken throughout the process or in the case of an existing client, providing an overview of the relationship that had existed. 

At that point, an open discussion is recommended to determine exactly where the client made the decision to either not commit or to leave. Many businesses reach a point where they determine that not every company is their client and perhaps in situations like this they were not going to be the right fit anyways. However, oftentimes faults in the sales process or in customer service can be uncovered and addressed to allow changes to be implemented and improve the process overall.

Explore the wins once in a while

While few teams wish to review every single sale, it is good practice to uncover keys to the big wins. In a monthly or quarterly sales meeting, it can be a good idea for your sales reps to bring to the table an analysis of how one of their big deals were closed.

Your junior sales teams can benefit from the real world knowledge and if other departments are invited to the meeting, you might be surprised at the productive value an overview can provide not to mention the boost to morale.