This post is part of our series on The 5 Types of Work Meetings.
Many organizations struggle with how to run successful sales meetings. Salespeople are busy meeting the stretch targets you’ve set for them!
The best sales organizations have cracked the case and learned how to run successful sales meetings: they must be appropriately organized. Every aspect of the sales meeting (the before, the during, and the after) must be attended to.
Sales Meeting Tips
Organizations that want to have successful sales meetings should;
Set goals for the sales meeting
Setting a goal for a sales meeting will not only help the sales team to focus on achieving the goal but also improve the organization close more deals. Therefore, setting a goal should be the very first step related to any sales meeting activities.
Build an agenda
Sales meeting agendas help keep the sales meeting organized, on track, and on-time. A sales meeting agenda should contain the introduction, performance preview of the sales team, sales process, prospect presentation, request of scheduled sales activity report, review of quarterly sales goals, sales meeting time, success story sharing and opportunities, roadblocks, threats, and miscellaneous items.
Sales managers should ensure the sales team knows the agenda and expectations upfront so that they can prepare adequately. Sales managers should keep the sales meeting small for dedicated training. However, if they must deal with large teams, they need to ensure everyone is one the same page and focused on the meeting.
How do you start a sales meeting?
Successful sales meetings hinge on the preparation and clarity of the agenda. However, that’s not all. High performing sales managers use three strategies to hold successful sales meetings:
Plan for the sales meeting upfront
Successful sales managers prepare their sales meetings in advance. They draw up a plan of what to say in a sales meeting. They choose topics that connect with the sales team and flow naturally. Sales managers who fail with sales meetings don’t have a systematic conversation structure. They have a goal but have no plan in place to achieve it. Ideally, sales managers should plan how they are going to start and end the meeting.
Tell the sales team what to expect
When meeting with the sales reps or salespeople, sales managers should greet them and get to know how they’re doing. Then give them an overview of what to expect in the meeting. Specifically, the sales manager should address:
- The purpose of the sales meeting
- The sales team’s agenda and expectations
- The sales manager’s agenda and expectations
- The expected amount of time the meeting is going to take
- The expected outcome of the meeting
Address what changed since the last sales meeting
The sales manager should address any changes that have happened since the last sales meeting. They should discuss any progress made from the previous meeting, as well as anything that didn’t go according to plan. This is the time to congratulate the sales team for their progress and formulate new tactics for unattained goals. Also, dedicate time for the salespeople to ask questions to make the sales meeting engaging. Ideally, the sales meeting should motivate, encourage, and inspire the sales team to close more deals.
Building an effective sales meeting process
Set a goal
Setting a sales meeting goal helps sales teams know what the meeting seeks to achieve. It’s the bedrock of consistent action. It allows salespeople to have an idea of what they are going to learn in the meeting to simplify the sales process and close deals. If the sales team knows what to expect in the sales meeting, they’ll prepare adequately for it.
Create a sales meeting agenda
The main aim of creating an agenda is to sell the sales meeting to the sales team. So, the sales department or sales meeting organizers should distribute the sales meeting agenda to the sales team upfront. An agenda sets the right tone for the sales meeting. It makes the sales team aware, upfront, that there is a legit purpose for the sales meeting, with certain aspects to be discussed and the anticipated outcome of the meeting. An agenda identifies the topic to be discussed, keeps everyone focused, and prevents excuses for not attending the meeting.
Set meeting timelines
While sales meetings are vital for keeping everyone on track, time is always of the essence to salespeople. They have to complete many tasks in a shorter period. That’s why sales meetings must have specific timelines. Setting specific time frames for sales meetings make it productive. Therefore, organize meetings beforehand by including things that matter on the agenda.
Set agendas that impact the entire sales team
Most meetings fail to meet expectations because sales meeting organizers create agendas that appeal to only a section of the sales team. This results in a disengaged team members. Those individuals may feel like the meeting is a waste of their time. Productive and successful meetings create an agenda that appeals to the entire sales team by including things that matter to the entire team. Sales managers should set aside matters that don’t appeal to the entire team for one-on-one meetings.
Be open about everything
Naturally, people don’t like to be criticized, especially in public. The same is true about an organization’s sales team. When the sales team is not meeting targets, the sales meeting is an opportunity for the sales manager to bring the team back on track. And they have to do it without knocking down the team’s morale.
The sales manager should use the opportunity to point out aspects that are not going according to plan or things that are not being done right. They should also point out areas that the sales team needs to improve on. Ideally, the sales meeting should be used for post-mortem analysis, which includes pointing out weak areas and providing actionable measures to improve on them.
Prepare salespeople psychologically.
Sales meetings will be successful when salespeople know the meeting’s agenda and what is expected of them. Therefore, sales meeting organizers should ensure salespeople come to the meeting well prepared. Send out the essential aspects, including presentations that will be covered in the meeting.
For instance, the sales manager should let one of the top sales performers know that they will be presenting their best strategies for success to the rest of the team. Or inform the salespeople that there will be time for sharing success tips and updates with each other. When every sales team member knows what to expect in the sales meeting, the meeting will run flawlessly. The meeting will also be engaging because it will not only be about listening to the sales manager’s lecture.
Allow the sales team members to voice their opinion
Allowing the sales team to voice their concerns will enhance the probability of the meeting becoming successful. Statistics show that when people are given a chance to speak their minds and talk about their concerns openly, they become motivated and engaged because they feel their opinion matters. Therefore, sales meeting organizers or the sales manager should dedicate time during the sales meeting for salespeople to voice their concerns. Allowing salespeople to voice their concerns will help the sales manager know the challenges they are facing when searching and pitching to clients; the stage of the sales process that is presenting the biggest challenge to them; and the tools that would make the sales process more manageable.
Include other departments in the sales meeting
While it can be challenging to get the entire sales department in a sales meeting, the chances of the sales meeting becoming successful are higher when sales managers include other departments in the meeting. A sales meeting is an excellent opportunity to hear from other departments, especially the marketing department. When the sales department and the marketing department are on the same page, the odds of the sales department’s success improves significantly.