Why everyone hates sales meetings and what to do about it
It’s Monday morning at 8:55 a.m. and your sales team are walking into the boardroom talking about their weekends. You, as the leader, come into the room and sit down to start the meeting. What typically happens next varies from business to business.
For some, the meeting is a discussion of the sales results from the previous week and a setting of the stage for this week’s efforts.
For others it’s an excuse or accusation or complaining session that devolves into finger pointing between departments. Suddenly, a one-hour meeting turns into two hours and nothing is accomplished. In fact, the team comes out in a worse mood then when they started. It’s not really a recipe for success.
If you do it every week, the negative spiral takes hold and the sales meeting becomes something that people dread.
Why have a sales meeting in the first place?
Businesses need data and intelligence to succeed and your sales force has it from talking with your customers every day. The feedback from that team is key to take actions and make your business better.
In other words, sales meeting provide a regular touch point with revenue generating staff to determine what opportunities are in the pipeline and what risks the business is facing (i.e. competition, pricing, awareness, etc.).
How to run an effective sales meeting?
The goal in any sales meeting should be structure. It should never be an open ended, catch-up meeting. It should have an agenda with timelines and boundaries to allow the team to give and get a maximum of information and value for their time. Formalizing and institutionalizing the meeting over time will make your sales team function at a higher level.
There is an anti-meeting movement in business these days. Yet, in my opinion, the sales meeting is essential to convey information from the field to management. It is also an opportunity to mitigate risks by proactively gathering and sharing information.
So how do you stay away from the minefield of things that can turn your meeting into an utter waste of time? What should a sales meeting look like? Let’s put some structure in place, and stick to it! And that’s your job as the leader of the business.
Have a standing agenda
Every sales meeting should have the same agenda, which will help your team build a cadence over time. It might look something like this:
For each phase of the meeting, you need to hold the timing firm. Assign someone the role of secretary to take meeting notes. Then make it clear that “we don’t go over time.”
What should be discussed?
- training issues
- product challenges
- competitive intelligence
- customer issues
- planning for illness or vacations
If you do this weekly, a surprise is less likely to pop up.
What if something big comes up during the meeting?
It’s bound to happen, there’s that one topic that is due to become a time-killer. A client problem, a performance problem, or just a hot topic threatening to derail the meeting.
Address the issue after the meeting.
We need to respect everyone’s time as well as the purpose of the meeting, which is to get the sales team on the same page.
It’s also your role as a leader to keep the team motivated and create a positive environment for sales to happen. These sales meetings are a key piece of that opportunity. It’s a place to build up your employees. I always refer to the adage: “praise in public, correct in private.”
For larger organizational issues, you can have a separate monthly sales planning meeting where the larger systemic issues are discussed with the group.
What happens after these meetings?
Follow up with individuals who had something to say but didn’t get the chance. Do it personally, not via email.
Have the assigned secretary circulate the notes and any action items with timelines. Again, you want to hold these every week so someone has to keep track of the discussions.
Getting sales team meetings right: What’s the upshot?
Sales meetings are important touchpoints for the sales team. They are not something to be done haphazardly. If you get things right, everyone will come out of the meeting with a takeaway.
Being dedicated and diligent about sales meetings will allow you to:
- Learn something new every week
- Teach your team something new every week
- Motivate your sales team
- Keep the sales team engaged with your business
If you have weekly sales meetings, we’d love to hear what makes yours effective or why you struggle with them? If you don’t run weekly sales meetings, then hopefully this post will offer some motivation for you to start…on Monday.
Let us know your thoughts.