Sales meetings are a great opportunity for a sales manager to get their team together and to review performance and help with motivation. Run correctly they can work wonders to sales team performance. Run poorly and it would have been best not to have run one at all.
How are your sales meetings? Do they start well and end in a moaning fest? Or are they highly motivational and productive sessions that all your sales team look forward to attending?
Meetings with your salespeople can often be seen as a grind, or a necessity, rather than something to be looked forward to.
For many sales managers, they can turn into long, boring sessions that people can’t wait to get out of. But running sales meetings is an essential part of what a sales manager does each week. And the very best sales managers ensure that the meetings are focused, on point and are motivational.
Many sales meetings fail because of the following reasons:
– administrative matters receive more time than sales matters
– one or more salespeople dominate the meeting
– trivial matters encroach on more important subjects
– management uses threatening tactics rather than motivational ones
– when the format is more about lectures than participative discussions
– where attendees have differing levels of competences
– when there is no or little agenda
– when the meeting takes too long
– when there are few or no action points made at the end of the meeting
How To Run A Sales Meeting
There are normally 3 types of meetings. Regular, formal meetings. Regular, buzz meetings like on a Monday morning and then there are ad-hoc meetings here and there. If you want to avoid those pitfalls above, make sure you follow these essential tips for running better sales meetings.
Have A Clear Purpose
Always have a purpose for a sales meeting, not just because it’s a certain day.
If the only reason you’re meeting is because it’s a Monday, then prepare for poor results from it. The session shouldn’t be run simply because it happens to be a certain day. Instead, have a specific purpose for it.
I like the acronym PAIR for each meeting, which stands for ‘Purpose & Intended Result’.
Every meeting should have a purpose (e.g.. To agree on next month’s campaign backup) and an intended result (e.g., To ascertain everyone’s specific agenda for the next sales conference).
With a specific purpose, you have something to measure the meeting’s success against.
Ask For Everyone’s Input For The Agenda
You only call a meeting when it’s the only way to get the PAIR accomplished. If you can achieve the PAIR without calling everyone in, then you save everyone’s time and effort. By getting everyone to contribute to the agenda, you know that everyone has the will to attend and knows what the outcome is going to be
Having agreed what needs to be covered, is it necessary to get everyone in off the road or travelling to one place? Would it be possible to cover all the subjects via Skype, Zoom or by video conference? If so, you may save yourself and your team hours of travelling and wasted time.
We know of one sales manager who used to have a video conference with his team at 08.30 in the morning. Everyone was then ready for their day at 09.00 and he hadn’t wasted people’s time by getting them to commute to the office.
They could be out in the field straight after the call and be productive early on.
Timings Are Important
If you’ve scheduled an hour for a meeting that covers 8 points, and you’re only on point four after 55 minutes, determine if you need to carry on or maybe cover the other four points by email or at the next meeting. Don’t grind on regardless without everyone’s agreement.
Actions Points Are Crucial
If the meeting was called just to bring everyone up to date with certain information, question if a meeting was the most effective and efficient way of getting that info out to people. Each meeting needs actions to be followed up before the next meet up. If people know they must carry out actions and need to report back to you on them before the next meeting, they tend to take them more seriously than if the meeting is just a monologue of information download.
These pointers should help you carry out a meaningful and effective meeting every time.
You want to ensure your meetings are looked-forward-to rather than a painful interjection into your sales team’s day.
Our Sales Management Training course will help you further. You’ll attend with other sales managers from other organisations and create some great contacts as well as learning from one another. Our courses are ISM accredited so you will receive a certification too. We also offer Sales Qualifications as well.
Running Successful Sales Meetings
Here are three BEST practices to help you structure your sales meetings to raise people up, increase sales and elevate your sales team to the next level.
Educate Your Sales Team
While this seems obvious and easy, it’s usually not the case in most sales meetings.
You need to sales coach or conduct some sales training during every meeting. Your team need to learn more, and such continuing education is everlasting and is an investment.
The problem is that many sales managers have difficulty in figuring out exactly what to train/coach/teach. The sales team has already gone through the company sales training. You’ve been over how to overcome sales objections a dozen times and there seems to be nothing left to talk about when it comes to prospecting. In fact, the sales team feels that they know everything.
So where do you get educational topics that are not only informative, but also useful and timely solutions?
Uncover Problems and Pain
Just as when dealing with prospects, with your sales team, you need to unearth their problems even when they are unaware that they have any.
You then need to use those problems as the basis for your sales meetings.
You should have a personal one to one meeting with each salesperson at the end of every month, depending on the logistics and your sales cycle, even if it is by telephone or virtual meeting. During that individual meeting, you want to make note of the problem areas the salesperson has. However, do not correct those issues then.
If your correct the salesperson at that time, it will come across as a de-motivator. Instead, make note of the issues, and uplift the salesperson. Then, in the sales meeting, do not single out that salesperson. Simply use that issue as a training topic.
Here’s an example:
In your one-to-one meeting with Steve, you noted that at least twice, he lost sales you think he should have closed. You ask some questions of Steve and find that he is not correctly demonstrating how to run the Profit & Loss Reports of the accounting software.
There are three ways you can handle this situation.
a) You can inform Steve of the problem right then…
b) You can bring up Steve’s problem during the sales meeting and completely embarrass and berate Steve. Not good.
c) You can bring up the problem as a general training topic for the group.
You can bet that if Steve is having the problem others are as well. Also, it cannot hurt to reiterate something that is apparently so crucial that it can mean the difference in closing the sale or not.
With this method, you single out or berate no-one, and the sales team always receives just-in-time sales training topics that are always relevant.
Ask questions to uncover the problems and then offer the solutions as educational topics in your sales meetings.
Illustrate Examples With Your Sales Team
By illustrate, I’m referring to demonstrating, or proving what you say. This relates to such things as in the above example. Demonstrate the method of how to show the P & L report. If you have salespeople who may be experts with that part of the sales interaction, then have them illustrate to the group. In this way, you not only keep the older pros interested, but you also help ensure they stay on track.
Illustrate other topics as well. When you speak of sales targets and milestones that are possible, exemplify such with someone who has done it. The key is always to back up, show and prove what you say.
Motivate Your Sales Team
As you can see, with this structural process, there is already a certain amount of motivation embedded into the sales meeting. In fact, the very structure itself leads to motivation.
Now it’s time for the rah-rah, pep rally. Now is the time for the cheering, congratulations, and new sales incentives. Now when you talk about reaching new heights, the sales team can believe it because you demonstrated exactly how. You illustrated how to do it or showed how someone did it in the past. Also, you gave them the education and the tools they need to reach the next level.
Why is it that many salespeople hate those Monday morning sales buzz meetings?
You know, the ones where everyone sits round a desk and covers off the trivia and very quickly get bored with the whole process because the only result is that the manager gets to criticise and moan about the current sales figures again?
Monday morning sales motivation meetings should be where everyone gets together and they’re vigorous, exciting affairs that get everyone buzzing and ready for the next sales call, not a dreaded amalgam of dry, stale, and flat minutia.
How can you ensure your meetings are those that people look forward to rather than trying their hardest to find excuses to miss?
Here are seven ways that would make everyone feel it’s a worthwhile use of their time:
Don’t Be The Mayor Of Boredomville
Plan and prepare effectively. If you have to go over company policy, updated sales forms, reasons for why targets weren’t achieved, etc, etc. then don’t use the morning meeting for this. Send the forms out and have a different way of discussing them. These meetings are for up-building, encouraging, and supporting the sales team, not making them feel like death warmed up.
Rotate The Sales Meeting Leader
Get different people to lead the meetings on different occasions. This will mix up the sessions and make the sales manager aware of people who have potential leadership credentials to show others. Yes, it means more time spent in preparing, but this is what makes salespeople take responsibility for progress. If they don’t want to lead the meeting, don’t force them, but make sure they understand it’s a great way of developing problem-solving, decision-making and critical thinking skills.
Show Me The Money
Do things that help people make more money. This will get people talking and identifying changes they may have to adopt. Discuss what sales objections prospects are coming up with. Role play scenarios that might make sense in the real world and cover some of the top sales tips of your best performers. Build credible alternatives to what you’re doing now so that everyone is enthused and ready to try something different.
Use Your Customers
Bring in customers for an early breakfast and a discussion. This helps you identify the ‘buying’ process and starts you moving away from your ‘selling’ process. Buyers’ information on how they go about making decisions is gold-dust to any sales team. It helps everyone to recognise how they should structure their approach to prospects. Of course, you would need to make the time your customers are giving worthwhile to them. Imaging the value of the information you might get. Well, you need to ensure customers feel they are a valuable asset to the whole team.
Start & End On Time
Reward those who are early and fine latecomers (money raised goes towards donuts for the next meeting!). By starting and ending on time, the team realises how important the meeting is and that you are serious about the ideas being discussed.
Use Sales Movies & Clips
Find some quality films or videos that encourage and motivate the team to achieve. One of my favourites is Al Pacino’s Inspirational Speech and we’ve also got some of the best sales movie clips you can play. They can be easily downloaded or simply shown straight from YouTube. By getting the team to suggest their favourite parts of films or most motivating short sketches, everyone gets to be involved and shares what makes them feel good.
End with a positive
Discuss successes, improvements, goals, and awards. Highlight the wins and the gains, rather than being on a downer with negative input. When you send the whole team away feeling good about themselves and ready to start the week on a high, everyone wins: the team, the prospects they are contacting and the customers who will benefit from the enthusiasm and zeal that will be evident.