Meetings can take many forms. They can be highly effective in engaging, motivating and inspiring your team. Or, they can be counterproductive, waste time and distract your team from the mission at hand. There are certain elements that every sales meeting should have, in order to supercharge your reps and send them back into the field sporting their game face and high confidence levels.
Here are our top tips for running a successful sales meeting:
1. Maintain consistency
It’s helpful to hold the meeting at the same time each week so that your sales representatives get into a routine and habit of blocking off the same time on a weekly basis. This will improve attendance, as your team will always know not to overbook that time unless it’s absolutely necessary. If your team consists of seasoned salespeople only, you can likely scale your sales meeting back to biweekly to give them more time to close deals.
It’s also helpful to have an agenda template that covers the same topical areas each time—broadly speaking. Of course, you’re going to mix it up from time to time, but sticking to a standardized agenda helps keep the meeting on track and prevents you from going into the weeds. You can include a block of time for miscellaneous items if you feel the need, enabling you to bring in new items when it makes sense and not break with your set agenda.
2. Keep them to one hour, max
According to MeetingKing, people’s focus and attention start to drop off rapidly after 30 minutes, with an average of 84% of attendees paying attention at the 30-minute mark, falling to 64% at the 45-minute mark. If you can discuss everything in 30 minutes, that’s advisable. However, larger sales teams likely need 45 minutes to an hour to cover everything. Take into consideration your team and their needs, and organize your agenda to be as concise as possible. Setting and sharing your agenda prior to the meeting helps to minimize the time needed.
3. Set and share your agenda beforehand
As mentioned above, sales managers can reduce the time needed for meetings by sending the sales meeting agenda beforehand. This will give attendees the chance to find answers to some of the questions they would otherwise take up a meeting time to ask. Plus, this encourages attendees to come prepared to discuss the agenda items you shared and allows you to hold them accountable for doing so. Finally, it helps the meeting flow smoothly and elicits a more productive discussion.
4. Allocate time to sharing successes
Give everyone one or two minutes to share one success from the last week. It doesn’t have to be winning a huge new client. It can be as simple as a compliment or positive feedback that a client provided. The point here is not to boost individual reps’ egos, but rather to encourage them to think positively about their week and find something to appreciate. This will help generate an environment of optimism, which is great motivation for sales reps.
5. Be punctual and never run over
First, your team’s time is important—both to you and to the company’s bottom line. Starting on time and ending on time allows reps to get back to prospect outreach and moving deals through the pipeline.
Second, being punctual sets an example for your reps to follow. It’s critically important that they develop a deep respect for prospects’ and customers’ time. If they show up late to prospect meetings, they likely lose deals. Sticking to a strict timetable in your sales meeting reinforces to them the importance of punctuality, which they will then take with them back into the field.
6. Acknowledge performance and award praise
Motivated reps will open more opportunities and close more deals, plain and simple. This is why it’s so important for sales management to recognize the performance of their team. It’s also helpful to reward your team for their performance. This doesn’t need to take the form of monetary rewards or bonuses—often, a simple thank you will provide motivation enough. Your reps work hard all day, and they deserve a little pat on the back.
One way to coordinate this element is to integrate gamification into your sales process. Gamification of sales increases motivation improves collaboration and helps to develop interconnectedness between your reps.
7. Include an interactive element
Sales isn’t a particularly collaborative career, and your sales meetings may be the only time all week your reps have a chance to interact with one another. Whether it’s a simple role play to help the team understand a unique use case a particular client has, or a group learning activity, including an interactive element helps to maintain focus and brings the team together. Besides, if there is no interactive element and all you do is discuss sales strategy, tips , nd the pipeline, you could just as easily communicate this to them in a long email.
8. Only address items that apply to everyone
This is important to keep everyone’s focus during the meeting. Don’t let the conversation get derailed by a topic that applies to just one or two reps. Instead, when those questions get asked and those topics raised, tell your reps that you can take that topic offline and discuss it directly with them after the meeting concludes. And, especially, steer clear of reprimanding anyone in front of the group, as that will kill morale in a big way.
9. Include a skills-building or educational element
It’s important to ensure that your reps continue to grow their skills and learn new sales tactics and concepts on a regular basis. Block off time for something each week that helps them grow as professionals. This could be a group learning activity, a guest speaker, or even sharing a blog with an industry thought leader and asking them to discuss it during the meeting.
10. Wrap it up neatly
Don’t leave any items pending when the meeting closes. If there are open items on the table, be sure to follow up after the meeting to close them quickly. Address all next steps to be taken by team members so that everyone is clear on what is expected of them. Follow the meeting by sending out a meeting summary via email so there is no room for anyone to misinterpret what took place and what should happen next.
The sales meeting ideas, themes, topics and structure that you put in place will depend on the size of your team and the nature of your business model. But the tips above should be applicable to just about any scenario. Adapt them if you need to. Never be afraid to spice things up and introduce new elements. Just keep an eye on engaging your team so they take away real value from each meeting.
What strategy do you use to improve your sales meetings? Let us know in the comments below!