Why Sales Managers Should Shun the 10/10/10 Rule

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Sales managers who follow the 10/10/10 rule for one-on-one meetings with reps may be missing a major opportunity to boost reps’ productivity, sales and morale. The old-school rule allows for 10 minutes to discuss them, 10 minutes to discuss you and 10 minutes to discuss the future. That rule appears to be an easy-to-follow layout for a productive meeting with a rep, but, when examined deeper, this strategy leaves much to be accomplished, according to a recent article on the Lighthouse blog.

For starters, ten minutes isn’t nearly enough time to have a well-rounded, productive discussion with a rep and learn about any issues, worries or concerns he or she is having. If a rep is only given ten minutes to discuss himself, he is likely to only bring up trivial issues that can be discussed quickly, rather than delving into more serious concerns. Additionally, many managers will focus on “status updates,” asking the rep what she has recently worked on, who she’s called, etc. These updates do nothing to showcase the value of the rep’s work. And finally, the article notes that the 10/10/10 rule only amounts to a total of 30 minutes, and often, major points aren’t brought to light until 25 minutes into a one-on-one meeting, meaning that the manager has to wrap things up before any resolution is made.

Instead of following this rule, Lighthouse suggests alternative tips for meetings with reps, including these two:

  • Set aside an hour. A full 60 minutes will leave enough wiggle room to delve deeply into any issues, as well remove any time-induced pressure for both the manager and the rep. “If you can’t make time for everyone for an hour every week, an hour every 2 weeks is better than 30 minutes every week; much of the value of a great one-on-one is in going deep on critical subjects, which means you need to have enough time to do so,” according to the article.
  • Ask great questions and have follow-ups ready. A great manager asks great questions, and these one-on-one meetings are the perfect time to get curious and inquisitive. Questions can open up dialogue and bring insight into the rep, the sales team, and you, the manager.

When it comes down to it, no sales manager is going to root out and solve issues in only 30 minutes with each rep. As the article states, “with just a few small tweaks to your approach to one-on-ones, you can see a tremendous improvement in your relationship with your team, their growth, and their motivation.” By giving each rep more time, you are making a big investment in your sales team and company.

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel and Media Sales Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.
November 16, 2015 Leadership + Management