The most important element that an effective sales team contributes to their company is hitting their sales targets, so all of the activities of this team should focus around this goal. Internal sales meetings are no exception. Here are some key points to consider when organizing your sales meetings. We will look at each of these in detail:
1. Develop the agenda – and stick to it
2. Review key metrics
3. Build in accountability for activities/results
4. Involve the team
5. Keep the meetings short and not too frequent
6. Teach something
7. Share success stories and best practices
1. Develop the Agenda – and Stick to It
In crafting the agenda for your sales meetings, be sure to include an answer to the question, “What’s in it for me?” The “me” is your intended audience, the salespeople. The way to do this is to involve them in the development of the topics for discussion. Although not all will contribute ideas, many will and you want to be sure to include this input. Be sure to distribute the agenda before the meeting and outline any items that they need to prepare in advance.
2. Review Key Metrics
Since you “get what you measure”, it is critical to review the key metrics that enable your team to achieve their sales targets. This might include sales, margin, number of new customers acquired, number of new business meetings, and other vital activity and results measures. Review these by salesperson, not just the team in aggregate. Show the group who is in the lead, and let those who are lagging know who they can go to for help.
3. Enforce Accountability for Activities and Results
As you review the metrics, it is also important to hold your team accountable to achieving these results. Go around the room and ask everyone to report how they are doing relative to their stated goals: both activity and results. An example of an activity goal is “book three meetings with new prospects each week.” An example of a results goal is “achieve $10,000 in sales in October.” Beware that salespeople don’t like this kind of exposure. However, once they get used to it they will begin to boost their success and be proud to report their results.
4. Involve the Team
Allow different people to have the opportunity to present ideas, changes and updates on a rotating basis. This engenders involvement from everyone and makes them feel like they are a bigger part of the team. Getting them involved also increases their level of interest, improves their buy-in, and demonstrates that you take their ideas and input seriously. It may take a while to get people onboard when you first implement this approach, but after a few meetings the process gets easier. Never reprimand individuals in this setting. A public flogging is destructive and highly demotivating. Showing respect to each person is critical.
5. Keep Meetings Short and Not Too Frequent
By short, we mean one hour or less to ensure people stay focused. Forty-five minutes is optimal for a person’s attention span, but often not much can be accomplished in that time. Consider running your meetings every other week instead of weekly and during the meetings watch for signs of frustration or impatience. If your team expresses their concern about meeting every week, consider the content that is being delivered. While it is important to keep people up-to-date on changes, some messages are best communicated via email, your company’s Intranet or bulletin board, or even voicemail blasts.
6. Teach Something
Salespeople are always looking for new ideas or an update to how they are doing things now. As a sales manager, you should dedicate some time each week or month to research new sales methods. There are some wonderful resources on the internet that you can share with your team. Sometimes the ideas you can discuss highlight a better way to write an introductory email, sometimes it’s a tip on LinkedIn, or a high-powered question you can ask a prospect in a new meeting. Anything, even a small idea, is welcomed by hard-working salespeople.
7. Share Success stories and Best Practices
Similar to teaching them something, this involves stories and best practices from your own team. Again, it’s all about generating new ideas for them, so have them share a big sales success, a challenging customer story or something else that will stimulate their thinking. Ask the salesperson to prepare a PowerPoint deck with a few key topics such as:
- background on the account
- how they approached the company
- how they conducted the first and subsequent meetings
- how their approach influenced the customer to buy
It is not as effective for the salesperson to merely tell the story; a PowerPoint is required.
Salespeople’s time is money, and using this valuable resource wisely is critical. Make your sales meetings bear fruit for you in terms of better activity and results that get your team to their sales goal.
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