Dusting off and reworking a post from a couple of years ago because it’s still too true today! Many of you aren’t having regular sales meetings, meetings not just to meet, but to improve sales performance. Others aren’t sure what to do in a sales meetings. Let’s change that.
Next Monday morning—I like Mondays, but choose whatever slower sales morning works best for your team—start to turn this meeting into an essential part of your sales process. It should be a way to help each person on the team perform better, and help your business perform better.
Your job is to put the agenda and structure in place. Everyone should have their information and metrics at hand. Regardless of the systems in place, that meeting is the time to discuss positive results and plans, not search for results and plans. And built into the entire conversation is time to practice. You conduct the same meeting every week. You and the team know what you’re looking at, and they know what you’re going to be asking, and they know what you’ll be working on together.
As just alluded to, a core element you should include is training. Some of it technical. Some of it product specific. But much of it sales skills training, especially regular role-playing. Short, bite-sized chunks, every week. Sometimes you’ll need a bigger training block to tackle new offerings, or more intensive technical training. That’s OK. But don’t ignore the sales skills sessions the following week.
What should that look like? Here’s an example agenda.
- 9:00 – 9:10 – Announcements
- 9:10 – 9:30 – Share the good news from last week. and identify any trends in your market (this is NOT the time to beat up individuals having performance issues). This can include not just sales results, but also happy customer testimonials than have come in.
- 9:30 – 10:20 – Training, including a short technical note, and frequent role-playing parts of the sales process, and discussion of any changes to process
- 10:20 – 10:30 – wrap up and homework for next week.
This meeting is not a time for you to give the long keynote speech. It’s not diving into administrative issues or production issues. Yes, these can be flagged, but the meeting isn’t the time to solve them. It’s not a lecture. In fact the others should be doing most of the talking. That talking, though, isn’t just swapping stories from the trenches. It’s problem-solving and role-playing, building and sharpening sales skills.
Consider some key points to help you avoid the common pitfalls that turn sales meetings into times of dread rather than a platform to boost your team’s performance. You meeting should be:
- Short and tight. The length will depend in part on how big your sales team is, but for most of you this meeting should about 90 minutes or less.
- Mandatory and on time. People need to be there. And you and everyone need to respect the others’ time. It the meeting starts at 9:00, everyone is present and ready to go at 8:59, not dropping off a laptop and then going to get coffee and sitting down at 9:20.
- Participatory. You need to create the environment where sales team members don’t hesitate to point out obstacles they face and where the team expects solid support.
- Reinforcing the process and building the skills to deliver on it. You need to create the environment where sales team members don’t hesitate to point out obstacles they face and where the team expects solid support. And role play, role play, role play.
- Open and transparent. Whether on the big whiteboard, or the dashboard on the computer, everyone gets to see not just their own numbers, but everyone else’s numbers, too.
- Focused on outcomes and results, not on a litany of tasks. Think what was achieved not just what was done.
- Practical. Helping your sales team answer questions, reinforce good selling behavior and build an understanding of the actions needed to deliver value.
- And yes, a bit managerial, too. Planning and accountability are parts of committing to a forecast so you know what to expect in sales over the next week.
It’s time to make time to help your sales team excel. A good sales meeting is part of that.