Depending on the size of your sales force, you may have hundreds of hours of selling time each week sitting in bad meetings. Your sales meetings are often run poorly by your front line sales managers.
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Stop this leakage of valuable selling time by having your regional sales leaders reinforce the basic blocking and tackling required to run effective sales meetings. Is this a problem? The common feedback we hear from reps on the street about sales meetings is that the meetings are a waste of time.
WHY? Because the meetings typically do not add value. Your sales manager typically likes to hear himself talk and there is no participation from the team. And with most happening irregularly, they often come when sales are down and ‘we have to motivate the troops’.
There are 4 keys to having a success sales management meeting to reinforce with your leadership team:
1. Consistency – The cadence around weekly meetings is critical to the success of sustainable growth. Schedule them at the same time, same day and same place every week. This expectation of having the sales meeting requires you (the sales manager) to be prepared. It forces the sales people to be accountable every week. It allows for dialogue, collaboration and interaction regarding the competition, pricing, territories and sales strategy in accounts. If you are NOT HAVING regular sales meeting, you just aren’t practicing world class sales management.
2. Create a standard agenda – Put on the agenda three basic items each sales team member needs to report to the group each week:
- Sales update – Everyone has to communicate what they sold that week. Peer pressure worked in 5th grade and it works in sales meeting. Use it to your advantage.
- Activity update – What the heck did you do this week? How many customer interactions did you have? ( Are you working?) The team learns from everyone. This dialogue holds people accountable and allows you to understand what is happening in the market.
- Pipeline update – What’s in the funnel is the key item here. Each rep needs to discuss how much they have and in what sales stage. You learn a lot from this exercise. Is the rep following the sales process? Do they have enough to make their quota? Do you (as a SM) have enough to make yours? Spend the time with the rep to review their funnel with the group. The lessons learned each week will be invaluable. Make the rest of the agenda then about new customers, updates from management and then train on selling skills. This leads to my next point:
3. Participation – Sales meetings are boring because sales people don’t interact. It’s the boss droning on about how we need more sales, you guys don’t sell enough etc, etc. Change the mentality by involving the reps in an interactive exercise. If nothing else, do a role play. Remember, you don’t have to be David Letterman trying to humor them. Get them speaking and learning.
4. Value Add – When preparing the meeting, ask yourself: Is there something in the meeting that my sales rep can use TODAY to sell more business or keep a customer happy? This is critical to your sales team looking forward to the meeting. Maybe it is in the training on sales fundamentals. Or maybe it’s a customer comment, feedback or blog that identifies some trends in the industry. Something they can use NOW. Trust me, they will keep coming back.
Sales meetings are critical to the success of the team. Have them early and often (like voting in Chicago). And watch the turnover drop and sales increase.
Here is a sample agenda to ensure you have effective team call. You can download it here.
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