Sales meetings are a critical part of a successful sales culture. They are an opportunity to build the skills of the entire team and to motivate them. But if your team leaves the meeting with less energy than when they walked in, you may be running a meeting that is focused on your needs rather than the needs of your team. Ultimately the sales people in those meetings dread taking time out of their schedule to attend.
Here are five tips you can use to leave your team energized after your next sales meeting.
1. It's not an admin meeting. I visited a client's sales meeting recently and watched him spend the first 20 minutes going over an administrative to do list. After the meeting our conversation sounded like this:
Me: "So, tell me about the first part of the meeting. Do you talk about the administrative items every week?"
Sales Manager: "I do. I need to make sure we them."
Me: "Is it the same list of items every week?"
Sales Manager: "Yes"
Me: "Do these items, if completed, help them close more sales?"
Sales Manager: "Um, no."
Me: "So let me make sure I understand, you use 1/3 of your weekly SALES meeting to talk AT your sales team about tasks that have absolutely NO impact on them making quota? And you do this EVERY week?"
Your sales meeting is not the time to be talking about updating vacation trackers or other administrative tasks. You want your sales team to leave the meeting each week with a new idea, strategy or tactic that ups their game and motivates them to go sell more; not just checking a box on your to do list. If you have a sales person that is not completing required tasks on time, talk with them about it after the meeting.
2. Encourage discussion and input. A sales presentation with limited input from the customer is not much of a sales presentation. The same is true for a sales meeting. As the manager, be part of the discussion but not the central focus. You don't want everyone directing questions and answers at you. An easy way to encourage meaningful discussion is to focus on one topic that is based on shared learning and skill improvement. For example if you have a sales representative that has been having success up selling his prospects to a higher margin product, discuss his technique as a team. Can it be improved? Can it be replicated by the rest of the team? If so how do you implement the new technique.
3. It's not all about sales activity and forecasting. Your CRM should already be telling you exactly what is being forecasted and what is happening in everyone's pipeline. Trying to review pipelines in a sales meeting is usually a waste of time as most people will inflate their actual pipeline to save face in front of their teammates and most sales people couldn't care less about the rest of the team's pipeline. Which means they end up paying attention the 5 minutes they get to talk and then not paying attention the rest of the meeting. Conducting a detailed review of forecasts and pipelines is better accomplished in a 121 with each of your sales team as it allows you to dive deep into what the opportunities actually are and what activity is occurring.
4. Invite Marketing. Regular interaction between your sales team and your marketing team is key to maintaining a strong sales culture in your company. Don't just have them in the room, make sure they are engaging with the team. Give them the opportunity to lead a discussion on the competition, win/loss reviews, crafting effective value propositions, lead scoring or some other sales topic that marketing is involved with.
5. Motivate and reward successes. As a leader, motivating your team is one of your primary responsibilities. If your team doesn't feel supported and recognized, you will see production decrease and in time, you will watch your top sellers move on to new opportunities. It is important that you are consistent with your recognition and don't make it something you get to only if you have time. Recognition doesn't have to break your incentive budget and it doesn't always have to be metric based. You can make the recognition fun, individual or team based, or you can even recognized someone from outside the team that did something that led to the success of the team. The key is doing this recognition every week so that the team looks forward to attending the meeting.
If facilitated properly, sales meetings can be great opportunities to keep your sales team motivated, focused and on track. When your weekly sales meetings help your salespeople make more money, you will find that the once dreaded sales meeting is a welcome addition to their weekly schedule.
Action Item for the Week - Identify the one item in your sales meeting that you can update to bring more value to your team and come up with a plan to revitalize that agenda item.