Your IFM's should be the most productive and most important time spent with your sales reps every week.
For those unfamiliar with the acronym IFM, it stands for Individual Focus Meeting. What is an IFM? It's what our team at The Center for Sales Strategy (CSS) calls your weekly one-on-one meetings with your salespeople (CSS loves to create an acronym for more common sales terms to keep you on your toes.)
Numerous studies support the fact that one-on-one meetings have a large impact on your team’s performance. So, if you’re struggling with IFM’s, it’s time to prioritize and improve with these three tips.
Purpose of an Individual Focus Meeting
You don't like the meeting because it often turns into a gripe session by your AE's. Your salespeople don't like the meeting because you turn it into a gripe session about their billing, activity, and/or paperwork and reports.
News flash — no one likes a negative meeting that’s a rehash of things that you both already know!
The IFM has a very distinct purpose and structure. An IFM is an opportunity for you and your salespeople to focus on activities that will help them move prospects and large clients through their sales pipeline. A great IFM will motivate your reps and provide concrete next steps for both their top prospects and best clients.
3 Ways to Improve One-on-One Meetings with Salespeople
1. Know the Purpose
The IFM is NOT a time to discuss billing, budgets, or pending business. It's also not the place to discuss their gap plan or how they will get to quota. This information is incredibly important, but one-on-one meetings aren’t the time or the place to address it. You have two goals for your IFM.
- First, your focus is to help your salespeople brainstorm ideas and actions that will help them move their target prospects through their sales pipeline so they close new business dollars.
- Secondly, you will discuss things that they can do to help grow their largest accounts, their key accounts.
2. Plan Your Approach
Request that each AE brings 2-3 target accounts and 2-3 key accounts to talk about in their hour-long IFM. They’ll need to be prepared to discuss:
- The current situation with these accounts
- How they have recently engaged with them
- If they have any new relevant information about these accounts
You’ll spend 10-15 minutes on each account discussing the details and brainstorming new ideas to assist them with either breaking through with the prospect or delivering new solutions for the client. During each IFM, you should discuss 4-6 accounts.
3. Map Out Your Productivity
Now that you have planned your approach to these target and key accounts, you need to connect with your AE's to determine their next steps. Even more importantly, discuss when they expect to accomplish these steps. Have specific deadlines for each actionable item for each account that you discussed.
Finally, be sure to take good notes of your IFM's and provide detailed recaps of these meetings. The recap will serve as a way for you and your reps to be on the same page and as an accountability tool to keep everyone on track.
Final Tips for Successful IFM’s
The key to a good and productive IFM focuses on the positive and productive ways that you can help your salespeople generate more new revenue for them. The tips above will help improve your weekly one-on-one meetings, but there are a few tips to keep in mind when times are hectic:
Don’t reschedule and cancel IFM’s — unresolved employee performance issues don’t resolve themselves.
Involve your AE in the IFM agenda before the meeting takes place — this meeting is about them; they need to be brought into the process early on.
Stop asking, “How can I help you?” during the IFM — this is an intimidating question that gives no direction or feedback, and reps will likely give a safe response (which is no response.)