It’s Monday morning and you’re about to start your weekly sales meeting. But this week it’s going to be different. It’s going to be engaging, energetic, and most of all – productive. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
No matter the size of your sales force, the industry within which you work or the needs of your customers, sales meetings are an inevitable part of business. They are important for a number of reasons. They allow colleagues to engage and build relationships, they provide new learning opportunities and they keep your team on the same page.
Often times, companies suffer from sales meeting fatigue. This is not uncommon and it can be a handicap to your team’s overall success.
It might sound simple but the key to an effective and efficient sales meeting is preparation. I know, it’s a little lack-luster – but consider how frustrating and demotivating it is to attend a meeting without a purpose or a plan. Attendees moan and groan, spouting things like “not another useless sales meeting” or “what is the point of this meeting, anyway?”
When preparing for your next sales meeting, implement these three tips and start transforming your meetings from drab and repetitive to effective and efficient.
Focus on outcomes, not objectives
Give a purpose to your meeting by setting specific outcomes that will drive the direction of the meeting. Objectives aren’t enough. Objectives are easy to ignore and generally set a broad overall goal that tends to be carried from one meeting to the next. Outcomes, however, need to be realistic and achievable and should be met by the end of the meeting. Consider this example:
- Objective: To review the latest training material for new sales software
- Outcome: The entire sales team fully understands the training material covered and can immediately implement the material to further develop their skills
The difference is you are now holding yourself and your team accountable to this outcome and therefore will ensure the outcome is achieved in the duration of the meeting.
Use an agenda
Note I didn’t say ‘have’ an agenda. A meeting agenda is a powerful tool. It provides a roadmap to the meeting and ensures everyone understands what is expected of them during the meeting and sets expectations for the next meeting.
Your agenda should:
- Focus on issues at hand
- Encourage participation
- Recognize success
- Establish areas for further focus
Prepare the agenda in advance and distribute it to the entire team a few days prior to the meeting. This allows team members to prepare individually, bring forth ideas and join the meeting with a sense of purpose.
In addition, the agenda should be printed and available in hardcopy for all meeting attendees. Agenda items should be organized in minutes to demonstrate the projected amount of time that will be dedicated to each item. Action items, or items that require an action to be taken before the next meeting, should be documented and distributed to team members once the meeting commences.
Keep it positive and constructive
Sales meetings should focus on group concerns not individual issues. Focus conversations on challenges that affect the entire team (or most of them) and try to control dominate voices that are focused on individual circumstances.
It’s up to the sales manager, or whoever is leading the meeting, to keep communication open to the entire team and encourage everyone to provide input, share ideas, and express concerns. Foster an environment that promotes honesty and builds trust within the group. This will create a happier sales force and lead to productive behavior.
Sales meetings are what they are, and serve an important purpose. Creating effective and efficient meetings can increase group productivity, inspire pride and leave your team with a sense of accountability and accomplishment. The result – a highly productive and successful sales force.
What tactics do you use to keep your sales meetings effective and efficient?