Most people find meetings to be a painful experience—and not without reason.
Meetings often lack an agenda, purpose, or direction, and on top of that, they're usually inconveniently scheduled and easily get off track.
Salespeople typically detest meetings because they take time away from what they’d rather be doing: calling prospects, scheduling appointments, and closing deals. And since time is money, every minute a rep isn’t on the phone or meeting with clients is a minute wasted because they aren’t generating commissions.
Of course, no organization can completely do away with meetings, so you’ve got to find a happy medium—one that supports the company’s goals while also providing value to your salespeople.
Read on for our top five tips on how to hold a sales team meeting that's actually worth everyone's time.
1. Make the Meeting Convenient
The biggest hurdle when scheduling team sales meetings is finding a time that works for everyone. Monday morning meetings can be disruptive, since sales reps are more concerned with returning their prospects’ calls or contacting any new leads that came in over the weekend.
Instead, schedule your weekly meetings for Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons. That way, people who have a habit of showing up late to work or skipping meetings due to morning phone-catchup have no excuse.
Keep in mind that salespeople are always frantically busy near the end of the month or quarter, so be a little flexible around those critical times; if your company’s financial goals are dependent on your reps staying on their phones the last day of the month, the weekly meeting can wait.
Pro tip: If you want to maximize attendance, offer incentives. Providing free lunch or coffee is a super-simple way to boost attendance.
2. Ensure Your Meetings Are Purposeful
One of the biggest let-downs for employees is spending an hour in a room listening to their manager drone on and on, only to walk away not knowing why they were there in the first place. Everyone should leave your meetings knowing exactly why they needed to attend, and what their next steps are.
When your sales reps repeatedly leave your meetings wondering why they attended, they'll be more likely to skip future meetings, indulge in distracting activities (like being on their laptops or phones), or steer the conversation off-topic.
Some legitimate reasons for a sales meeting are:
- Reviewing sales numbers and other key performance indicators from the previous week, month, or quarter
- Planning ahead for the coming week, month, or quarter
- Answering the sales team’s questions
- Assigning specific tasks or forming special teams for upcoming projects or challenges
- Sharing insider knowledge, tips, scripts, or templates that your reps can use to maximize their time selling
Related: Check out marketing extraordinaire Seth Godin’s "Whose Meeting Is This?" checklist and see if your next meeting hits all seven criteria.
3. Recognize Greatness and Encourage Feedback
The sales process is long and challenging, so taking a moment to recognize hard-fought battles, new deals, and other wins can really motivate and set the right tone.
Treat every win like it counts, no matter how big or small. Call special attention to those crushing their numbers, since it not only boosts morale but shows others that those goals are attainable. This process of recognizing greatness is easy to skip, but don't do it. Taking even just a few minutes to celebrate with your team at the beginning of your meeting can make the rest of your agenda easier to swallow.
Lastly, go beyond praise by asking any goal leaders or experienced salespeople to share a suggestion or two with the team. New sales tactics and feedback can go a long way towards getting people to attend and pay attention.
4. Stick to the Schedule
Before the meeting, you should designate a certain timeframe for specific subjects, and consider pushing them to another meeting if they take too long to cover. On top of that, be considerate of other people’s time by not letting employees ramble or get off topic for too long. If their individual issues and conversations take up too much of the team’s time, then consider conducting mini one-on-one meetings with individual salespeople throughout the week. Those mini-meetings are the perfect opportunity to go over their sales dashboard and discuss individual concerns and questions or conduct specific training, freeing up meeting time for more pressing topics.
Maximizing attendance and productivity is all about sticking to your schedule. The last thing you want to do is let meetings creep past the allotted time, because it tells your team that you don’t respect their time. If you let meetings run long, even by a few minutes, you could be inadvertently interrupting scheduled calls or meetings your salespeople had planned, costing them sales or breaking precious promises to customers.
5. Invite Decision-Makers and Provide the Right Tools
True meeting productivity means having the right people with the right tools in the right place so decisions can be made. Make sure you end meetings with action items so that everyone knows what to bring for the next meeting. Clearly outline what the expectations are as they relate to customer or prospect cultivation. On top of that, it wouldn’t hurt to send out a reminder before the next meeting so no one forgets their task.
It’s also a good practice to start integrating your meetings with other departments if their input is necessary to create a plan or make decisions on certain subjects. At the very least, invite representatives from your marketing and product teams to your weekly sales meeting, so they can be aware of your team’s strategies and concerns, and offer assistance as needed.
Holding a productive sales team meeting isn’t rocket science, but it definitely takes a little finesse, some consistent tweaking, and a dash of luck. With enough foresight and planning, you can turn your sales meetings into productive sessions that your team actually looks forward to.
How do you keep your sales team meetings productive and on track? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us @nutshell!