Feedback Fun

By Lain Ehmann

Whether you’re being asked to justify the meetings line item in next year’s budget, to see how much information your reps absorbed from the latest training seminar or to improve your planning operations, surveying meeting attendees can assist you in your quest, says Lisa Marshall, CMP, president of Market Link, Inc. Asking for feedback can be done in a number of different ways, but Marshall has discovered the following truths through experience.

  • Know what your objectives are before you design the survey. Do you want to check how thoroughly the sales team understands the new accounting procedures or merely see how they felt about the golf course and hotel food? Whatever your goals, spell them out beforehand. It’s difficult to create a method of measurement if you don’t know what you’re measuring.
  • Put the survey online. While you can print out a simple questionnaire and mail it, Marshall says sending it online is a better process. After all, if there’s one thing salespeople hate, it’s more paperwork. Offering them the option of completing the survey online means one less piece of paper for them to track. It’s also quicker and easier for the planner because respondents are keying in the data for you, Marshall says, and you get the responses immediately.
  • Use the information you collect. If everyone says they want more hands-on training opportunities and fewer speakers, you’d better incorporate their suggestions when planning for the next meeting or let them know why you couldn’t, says Marshall. If it’s not feasible to adopt certain recommendations, at least tell folks so. If you ignore their suggestions, they’ll be more upset than if you hadn’t asked for their feedback at all. “Once you ask someone their opinion, you set up the expectation that they’re being listened to,” she explains.
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