Why do so many people dread sales meetings?
I mean, really! In our travels, we talk with so many sales people who feel like their sales meetings are a waste of time. On the flip side, we hear from sales managers that the planning process is overwhelming and arduous. So my question is this… if sales managers are overburdened with the planning process, and sales people think meetings are a waste of time, why have a meeting at all?
No, not having sales meetings is not the correct answer. If you have a sales force, whether they are inside sales or field sales, you need to perfect the art of planning meetings that are exciting, informative, and engaging. Turn routine sales meetings into remarkable sales meetings with the following tips.
Reinvent Your Sales Meetings
Why are sales meetings a waste of time? Not everyone feels this way, but if you do, I’ll bet it’s because your sales meetings are overly administrative with one talking head at the front of the room for the majority of the meeting. I don’t blame managers for using sales meeting time to communicate important information, but the sales managers who spend too much time on administrative items has forgotten one very important thing…salespeople are social beings, and they can’t be spoken at for too long without checking out. You have got to engage them or you’ll lose them. Find different ways to deliver housekeeping items, make your meeting agenda powerful by focusing on sharing ideas, training, celebrating success, recognizing performance and motivating those present.
Who, What, When and Where?
While it’s traditional to host sales meetings for people who actually have the word “sales” in their title, everyone in your organization who has a responsibility for bringing in new business and/or growing existing business should attend. Depending on your organizational structure, that might include account managers, marketing professionals, and even some operations people.
Regularly scheduled meetings are best, and put them on the calendar way in advance, ideally for the year, or at a minimum 3 months in advance. For regional sales teams, we usually recommend once monthly meetings, but it might make sense in your organization to meet quarterly or half-yearly. However often you meet, make sure there’s a plan and a reason, and don’t just meet to meet!
You can get creative with the where of your meetings! With technology, you don’t even need to have everyone in the same room! Use Skype, GotoMeeting, WebEx, or the good old telephone conference line. The key is to GET THEM TOGETHER! Though we understand the various limitations some organizations might face, but we are fans of getting people in the same room, sharing the same energy (we are so California!) at least twice a year. But do what works for your team! Just make it a regularly scheduled gig!
Sales Meeting Tips
- Get everyone involved! Now, if you have a room full of sales people, lack of participation is probably the last issue you’ll face. But, be sure that everyone gets equal air time. Create a team environment. Reward and recognize winners and try-ers (the folks who are giving amazing effort but are not seeing results just yet).
- Have an agenda. Without an agenda you can easily get derailed. This will keep you on task, and let folks know what to expect out of the meeting. Give your team a chance to contribute even more by communicating the agenda in advance!
- Make it fun! Remember, they are being taken out of the field/away from their desk for this amount of time. Make it worth their while!!!
- Make it overly administrative. There is nothing more boring than sitting in a room listening to stuff you could have gotten in an email or video message.
- Get off on tangents. This happens to us all, but try really hard to keep it on track! Use a flip-chart labeled “Parking Lot” to capture items that are important, but not on the agenda.
- Make it all about your super stars. While recognition is important, it can be overdone in a team meeting. Foster a team environment by making sure that everyone feels valued…sales meetings are a chance for everyone to learn and everyone to shine!
Ideas to Spruce up Your Next Sales Meeting
- Role play. Yep, get the team playing with one another on topics such as differentiating statements, overcoming objections and asking for the business.
- Cold Call Contest. Get them calling for cash right there in the room and give a prize for the person who gets the most appointments/orders/referrals!
- Bring in an outside speaker. A top customer, a vendor in a related field, or an expert in sales (we know a few!)
- Sit down. If you’re the planner, and you’re the one always in front, turn it over to people on your team. Delegate agenda items to subject experts, or better yet, ask each person to take a turn running a portion of each meeting. You might be surprised at the results you get!
- Book Club. Sales people are notorious for being big readers of motivational or sales related books. Either pick one for the whole group to read, or have each person prepare a synopsis of the book they read, and have them share it with the group.
Sample Sales Meeting Agenda
- Icebreaker. Something fun (maybe show a video!!)
- Go over the agenda and the goals for the meeting.
- Review the goals of the company/sales team and the progress towards meeting those goals (revenue, orders, new clients, referrals, etc).
- Quick company announcements (less than 5 minutes…leave the rest to an email or video message).
- Highs/Lows. Have each rep report out one thing that went really well since your last meeting, and one thing that did not go so well.
- Training or guest speaker. Always TEACH something in your sales meeting, even if it is a review of something you’ve already trained on.
- Exercise. Get them trying what you just taught.
- Summary and next steps. Have each rep share their goals to hit before the next meeting.
- End on a high note! Play music, show a video, get them pumped to get back out there and sell! sell! sell!
- Compile the notes from the meeting and share them via email with your team (especially the part about goals!!!)
Grow Big or Go Home!