Depending on the size of your salesforce, you may have hundreds of hours of selling time each week sitting in bad meetings. Your sales meetings are often run poorly by your front-line sales managers.
It’s a sad truth that many sales meetings are run ineffectively and are losing value for the business. Did you know the average cost of a meeting in a Fortune 500 company is almost $500?
Beyond just the cost, this fundamental corporate ritual is so often misused and changeless because “that’s the way it has always been done.” Sales leaders will frequently cancel the meetings. And when meetings do happen, leaders will try to pull out their best William Wallace speech to rally the team for one last push to hit their number.
Meetings don’t have to be a weekly annoyance for your teams. Transforming your meetings can have a meaningful impact ranging from your culture to helping you make your number. Use the following qualities to help transform your leaders’ sales meetings and begin to add value:
1. Meetings Must Be Consistent
This is the golden rule for meeting effectiveness! Meetings must be consistent.
That means the meetings happen on the same date, at the same time each and every week. There is no easier way to marginalize the importance and value of your meetings than to move it, cancel it, or skip it.
2. Create a Standard Agenda
Keep the meeting agenda and topics standard and simple! Put on the agenda three basic items each sales team member needs to report to the group each week:
- Sales UpdateEveryone has to communicate what they sold that week. Peer pressure worked in 5th grade and it works in sales meetings. Use it to your advantage.
- Activity UpdateWhat the heck did you do this week? How many customer interactions did you have? ( Are you working?) The team learns from everyone. This dialogue holds people accountable and allows you to understand what is happening in the market.
- Pipeline UpdateWhat’s in the funnel is the key item here. Each rep needs to discuss how much they have and in what sales stage. You learn a lot from this exercise. Is the rep following the sales process? Do they have enough to make their quota? Do you (as a Sales Manager) have enough to make yours? Spend the time with the rep to review their funnel with the group. The lessons learned each week will be invaluable. Make the rest of the agenda then about new customers, updates from management, and then train on selling skills.
This leads to my next point:
Keeping a consistent agenda forces your team to come to the meeting prepared and assures they know their own numbers.
It also forces the third technique for an effective meeting.
3. Participation Nurtures Team Work and Team Culture
Sales meetings are boring because salespeople don’t interact.
It’s the boss droning on about how we need more sales, you guys don’t sell enough, etc, etc. Keep your team involved in the meeting by engaging them throughout. Set the expectation prior to the first meeting that the expectation is that everyone there will participate.
Foster the open interaction. Team participation will have the added benefit of nurturing teamwork and culture.
4. Every Meeting Should Deliver Value
Make sure each meeting delivers value to the team.
When preparing the meeting, ask yourself: Is there something in the meeting that my sales rep can use TODAY to sell more business or keep a customer happy? This is critical to your sales team looking forward to the meeting. Maybe it is in the training on sales fundamentals. Or maybe it’s a customer comment, feedback or blog that identifies some trends in the industry. Something they can use NOW. Trust me, they will keep coming back.
Carve a portion of the agenda to your sales development goals and have the team present best practices. Incorporate a monthly review of customer feedback. Use role-playing activities to test the team a high-pressure team environment. Bring in a guest speaker to motivate, inspire, or teach the team. The key is to make sure each meeting adds value to the team.
As a sales leader, the idea of delivering inspirational quality content each week can be overwhelming. Leaders can build their meetings on these four qualities to simplify and drastically improve the effectiveness of their meetings.