When they are done well, sales meetings can be a valuable part of your overall strategy. Since salespeople are often on commission or have lucrative bonus structures, asking them to take time away from selling and making money can prove to be a challenge. Even the most important information will lose value if the team is distracted thinking of other things. In order to capture the attention of the team and provide the most value, sales meetings need to be engaging.
So, how do you plan a sales meeting that engages your team? The key is to focus on making it about them. Yes, you have objectives to achieve and things to tell the team, but if you plan your sales meeting around how the sales team works and what they need in order to do their job well, everyone wins. Here’s how.
Before the Meeting
Before the sales meeting, consult with the team to see what would provide them with the most value for the time spent away from making sales. From information on processes, to product knowledge, to skills development, you can get some great ideas on how to add value to the meeting by asking what people want.
Then, build an agenda that incorporates breaks for returning calls and checking email. These breaks should be in addition to meals and networking time. Doing this demonstrates to the team that you understand that some tasks can’t wait, and this shouldn’t come at the expense of bonding with their teammates and eating lunch. Be sure to send the agenda in advance so that people can schedule sales calls around these times if they would like.
When you send the agenda, also remember to include any prework you want completed. This might include collecting stats, reflecting on wins, and completing any tasks you don’t want to spend time on in the meeting but want to discuss.
At the Beginning of the Meeting
Always start the meeting on time, and set the expectation that you will respect the timelines as laid out in the agenda. If there are any changes to the agenda that haven’t been communicated, share them at the beginning.
Begin your sales meetings with an ice breaker, energizer, or team-building activity to help override any distractions and get the team motivated. Free food never hurts either — save your team time and keep them happy by making sure they’re fed.
During the Meeting
The simplest way to make a sales meeting engaging and fun is to make it interactive. Plan agenda items and activities that are fun to participate in, get everyone involved, and are upbeat and motivating.
- Share stories and celebrate wins — This is highly motivating and really gets people excited.
- Spend a bit of time on shout-outs, inviting everyone to call attention to someone who somehow contributed to their success. This fosters the mindset that you’re all in it together.
- Discuss the competition — Talking about what they are doing well, as well as where your team excels, alerts the team to blindspots, generates new ideas, and motivates people to either chase or widen the gap.
- Discuss the market — Talking about general market conditions, challenges, and prospects can highlight opportunities and generate creativity.
- Have some hands-on activities throughout the meeting — Whether it’s to help with skill development or to generate new ideas, having hands-on activities engages people in the task at hand and brings their concentration back into the room.
After the Meeting
Don’t let the meeting objective fade away when everyone leaves. Follow up with post-meeting communication that includes all of the decisions and action items, as well as the timelines that were set. Include reminders to apply what was learned by referencing some of the activities and any inside jokes that came out of them. This is also a great time to collect feedback to help you plan the next sales meeting.
It can take a bit of work to design an engaging sales meeting, but the benefits definitely outweigh the effort you’ll expend. The key is to remember that the whole point of a sales meeting is to help the sales team sell more — which means it needs to be about the sales team, not about what you need to tell them.
Designing the sales meeting agenda in a way that respects what your reps need to do shows that you get them and want to support them, rather than pull them away from important tasks. And by making the meeting fun and interactive, you’ll keep their attention, which means you’ll be able to give them the information you want them to have, while also providing motivation, increasing teamwork, and making them feel like sales meetings are worth their time.