Sales meetings don’t have to be worthless – in fact, in many organizations reps love them! How many of your sales reps resist going to the weekly sales meeting? How many are engaged? Happy to be there? Asking if you can hold MORE sales meetings?
Do your sales meetings result in motivated sales pros going out and doing their best work? Does your sales meeting structure ensure that your business stays on message, overcomes objections, and maintains and grows market share? Do they help you position yourself in your market as the customer’s best choice?
If your reps aren’t happy to attend meetings, you have to ask yourself, “why not?” And, “are these the meetings we need to have?”
Sales reps only want to attend meetings that routinely make them more money. They don’t want to attend meetings where they’re scolded, lectured, or pushed. Any meeting that makes their job easier or celebrates their hard work will be welcome.
The question isn’t really “Are Sales Meetings Worthless?” The question is, “Are OUR Sales Meetings Worthless? And How Can They Make Us A Better Sales Team?” Here are 10 ways sales meetings can increase your sales numbers.
Don’t Use Sales Meetings To Scold
This is the #1 complaint I hear from both reps and managers! If someone is underperforming, or a whole team is missing their numbers, this isn’t the place to discuss it. The rest of the team is uncomfortable and embarrassed for those who are on the hot seat. It isn’t motivating! Address underperformance in one-on-ones or team meetings. Those missing their numbers need help, not a temper tantrum. Group scolding is a surefire way to make a sales meeting into a death march.
Hold Developmental Sales Meetings
Developmental sales meetings are sales meetings that address a specific sales skill, and strengthen it. Skills soften when we’re not focused on building them! It’s like going to the sales gym and working out your sales muscles. With planning you can work sales muscles in groups – one month is cold calling and prospecting, one is gap analysis and discovery skills, etc. In just ten minutes per week you can keep skills fresh and growing! Sales reps know that “skills pay bills.” You’re helping them make more money!
Share and Integrate Key Marketing Messages at Sales Meetings
Whenever your marketing team puts new ads, PR, social, and other messaging out there, your sales team should be on the same page. Is marketing targeting a different market segment from sales? Keep them on the same page for more effective results on both sides. Review new messaging and ad placement with the team and make sure sales can integrate the messaging into their sales process. It’s another way to help your sales pros make more money!
Share Competitor Intel Often, And Describe How to Sell Against Their Offering
Whenever you have access to competitor information, share it with your team. It could be their ads, their website, their product, a news article about them, their contract – anything you can learn is worth sharing with the team. Go over a specific competitor at least once per month to keep your team fresh on how to position your offering against them. Cover your top three competitors several times each year.
Set Achievable Goals and Share Incremental Progress
Use sales meetings to set goals with and for the team, and keep those goals achievable. Nothing is less motivating than pie-in-the-sky goals that no one can possibly achieve. Stretch goals make sense, though, and the rewards should be more than bragging rights. Make them into contests. Simple weekly contest awards like gift cards and PTO hours are always appreciated.
Once the goals are established, share incremental progress and praise for the efforts of the team. Build on the excitement week over week until the final awards are announced. Then, buy breakfast for the team and crown the winners!
Celebrate Every Measurable Metric
If you measure a metric, your team should know it’s meaningful. Celebrate each metric with an award, an email, or other prize so your team knows you value it. Do I really mean EVERY metric? Maybe not. But you get my point. If you’re holding your team to a call quota, door swing quota, etc., make sure they know you believe in it.
You don’t have to celebrate every metric every week, but you do want to celebrate every metric at least once per quarter. That should give you at least a couple of metrics to celebrate each week. “Jane had the highest closing ratio on the team this quarter!” “Joe had the strongest net new numbers on the team!”
Meetings full of good news where everyone feels like they could be recognized for their efforts are attractive to everyone.
If You Can Say It in An Email It Doesn’t Need A Meeting
If you have updates to share with the team, do it in a memo or a newsletter. Clogging up sales meetings with non-sales content is an unnecessary waste of valuable selling hours! It bores your reps and makes everyone wonder why they have to sit through this. Exceptions: celebrations, sales-specific news.
Begin and End Your Sales Meetings on Time
Sales is an appointment-driven business. We only make money when we’re selling to someone, and sales meetings full of colleagues don’t end in closed business. Let your team plan their day effectively – never run late with a sales meeting!
Ask Your Reps What They Need, And Listen To The Answers
Once per quarter ask your reps to tell you what they need to be more successful: no emails here, instead use a comment box. (Anonymous input will be more honest.) Anything they tell you should be considered from both an emotional and a practical standpoint. If there are many angry messages, try to figure out why the team is so stressed, and help them. If they mention personnel issues, address them. Your sales pros are the leading indicator of the health of your business. When they aren’t happy, they aren’t performing at their best. They know what the market thinks of the company, they know how hard it is to bring in new dollars, and they’re doing their best to make it work. Listen to them!
Once you’ve collected the feedback, mention which items are being acted on “this quarter” in a sales meeting. This leaves open the possibility that some items can be re-submitted next quarter, and addressed later.
Plan Your Sales Meetings At Least 4 Weeks at a Time
The only way to have these effective meetings is to plan your meetings in advance. If you plan in 4 or 6 week cycles you can plan your developmental content and your contests to coincide with the normal ebbs and flows of your business. This advance planning also works well when coordinating with marketing, as their messaging is scheduled in lengthy ad runs, often 6 months to a year in advance. Block out your sales meeting concepts 3-6 months in advance. A six month plan could look like this:
Then create detailed messaging for each meeting within a single concept. Make sure you rehearse a little so your content fits within your allotted time. If you spend 10 minutes on skills, 5 minutes on contest updates/awards, 10 minutes on marketing messaging, and 5 minutes on competitor updates, you’re done in 30 minutes. Send the agenda in advance so your team is ready.
When you have one or two weeks left in your current block, plan the next block outlines. Then fill in your outline for each meeting of the month you’re focusing on about a week in advance. Hold your meetings. Then, get your team on the road!