Regular sales meetings are an essential component in building and maintaining a positive and productive sales culture, yet somehow, they can turn into the same old agenda meeting after meeting. The good news is, you can plan and run effective sales meetings that your sales reps feel are a valuable use of their time. Here’s how to run an effective sales meeting with a focus on the structure of it.
1. Plan the Agenda Carefully
Sales teams are often known for their short attention spans, and if that’s true of your sales force, it’s because they are juggling multiple opportunities, customers, and priorities. When you’re planning your agenda that will take them out of their daily hustle and bustle, be sure to take this into account by only including the most valuable items and having a goal or key takeaway for each. This will ensure the team feels you are making the most of their time away from making sales.
Practical Tip: Send the agenda out in advance, along with any pre-work and important reports. Also, make them a promise to start and end on time – and stick to it.
2. Make It Fun
No one likes boring sales meetings, but putting some effort into making meetings fun has some serious benefits. According to Scientific American, adding humor to meetings can enhance creativity, group cohesion, and long-term job performance.
Practical Tip: Use an event theme that can be used to weave fun elements throughout the agenda and be sure to include hands-on activities, humorous slides, and team jokes where appropriate.
3. Include Organizational Updates
While you don’t want your meeting to turn into a day-long “event-that-should-have-been-an-email,” sharing organizational updates gives a sense of the bigger picture. Spending a little time on key metrics and gaps, big opportunities on the horizon, and the overall direction of the company helps create a shared sense of purpose and is key to making a sales meeting effective.
Practical Tip: Bring in the CEO or another top executive to help the team feel like part of the organization as a whole. Also, be sure to send out any reports you plan to refer to in advance so you don’t have to spend time going over things people can read themselves.
4. Include Individual Updates
Allowing time for individual updates is valuable because it gives everyone a chance to share information that is helpful to the team. This can include things like wins or successes, feedback they’ve heard from prospects or clients, and sticking points that the group can work through as a team.
Practical Tip: Have each salesperson share a key learning point or challenge and set a time limit per person. You should also recognize issues that are not relevant to the whole group and park them for individual follow-up.
5. Don't Skimp on Recognition
Everyone likes to feel appreciated, so make sure you spend time celebrating wins, calling out accomplishments, and doling out recognition.
Practical Tip: Recognize individual and team accomplishments by giving out small rewards that fit with the event theme, or have attendees give shout-outs to each other, or even to people outside of the sales team.
6. Build in Productivity Breaks
As mentioned above, the sales team is juggling multiple priorities and reps don’t like to be inaccessible to their contacts for too long. Accommodate this by building time into the agenda specifically for them to check email and return phone calls.
Practical Tip: Set time aside mid-morning, after lunch, and at the end of the day and mark in the agenda what that time is for so people can schedule calls or can let contacts know when they can expect to hear from them.
7. Make The Time Away From Making Sales Time Well Spent
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to talk about everything in every meeting — if you do, you will only skip along the surface of each item. Instead, try picking one key issue to focus on, and really dig into it. For example, this might be the meeting where you dig into the market and competition, including what they do well, the gaps and mistakes that create opportunities for you, and the points of comparison that prospects will be thinking about.
Practical Tip: Dig into a topic with a concrete goal or outcome in mind, whether it’s to make a decision, develop a skill, or create an action plan. Also, do not be afraid to tackle a bigger challenge, as long as there is something valuable at the end of it.
8. Incorporate a Team-Building Activity
As mentioned above, sales meetings are essential to the sales culture at your organization. One of the most valuable aspects of getting everyone together is to help build a sense of teamwork and collaboration, so don’t leave it to chance — while unscheduled social time is also very important, make sure to include a team-building activity in the agenda.
Practical Tip: Choose an activity that everyone can participate in, regardless of age or physical condition. Sales teams will appreciate if it is something unique, hands-on, and relevant to their daily lives. Experiential events are sure to fit the bill!
9. Wrap Up With Intention
Any meeting is only as effective as its outcomes. Make sure you schedule time for a wrap up that includes a summary of the training, as well as a call to action so the sales team knows what is expected of them as they return to work.
Practical Tip: Summarize the key takeaways from the meeting and commit to action items with firm follow-up dates and send them out afterwards.
Getting the most out of your sales meetings takes a bit of work, but the payoff is worth it. Effective sales meetings make for happier, stronger, more productive sales teams. By building a sales meeting agenda that takes these considerations into account, you will help make the most of your time together, and leave everyone feeling motivated, informed, appreciated, and ready to sell.