Do you and your team collectively groan at the thought of yet another sales meeting? Whether together or with clients, there are some simple but effective strategies that can help improve your skills in this area.
Improving your approach to conducting meetings is the first step in getting everyone excited about them again. What's more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average expense of a single internal meeting is $658 for employee opportunity costs and average wages.
Applying one or more of the following tactics will not only make your team more productive but will also save you time and money in the long run. Here's how to run the best sales meeting.
Have a Clear Purpose & Be Hyper-Focused
A meeting agenda is a powerful tool in the hands of your attendees. The average sales manager will satisfy themselves with a simple calendar invite, but outlining your key talking points can do wonders for setting expectations and getting everyone on the same page.
Unless you want your team to quietly ask each other what they think this meeting is going to be about all week, do your homework and supply them with a comprehensive outline the day before. They’ll have time to review and prepare any materials they’d like to bring.
When preparing for the meeting, choose one point or topic for discussion. This should be the crux of the conversation. We often overestimate what we can accomplish in one meeting. Instead of trying to compact ten different ideas into thirty minutes, try your best to be hyper-focused. Your team will appreciate the clarity and you’ll find that having a single main idea for the meeting will drive productivity.
While conducting the meeting, make sure that any questions or concerns from your staff are related to the stated meeting purpose. Meetings can often get derailed by well meaning associates who bring up different topics of discussion that you hadn’t planned to tackle in this session.
Or worse, they can even lead to a mixed group discussion that is completely off topic (the latest season of Game of Thrones can do that!). If it doesn’t align with your written purpose, table it until next time or follow up the meeting by scheduling another one for this topic at another time.
Underneath the general purpose of the meeting, note the expected duration and stick to it! You know how busy your team is so make sure you allocate enough time for your planned mission. Show them some ❤ ️ by respecting their time and you’ll see an improvement in their general enthusiasm for meetings in no time.
You can also be hyper-focused about the way you structure the meeting. Having a consistent format will set expectations, speed up the planning process, and give your employees something to look forward to. This structure can follow a simple formula but whatever you do, make sure you stick to it.
Provide Clear Next Steps
Your ultimate goal for any meeting is to supply your team with clear next steps and action items ✅ With these next steps in mind, meeting participants will have a clear idea of what to do or how to apply the knowledge they’ve just gained. The best outcome for any meeting is to give your employees a clear direction for how to continue doing great work.
As sales expert Mike Weinberg so wisely put it in a recent interview, “Here is my litmus test for a sales team meeting: are your salespeople leaving more energized and better equipped to do their jobs than when the meeting started? And if the answer is no, then your meeting sucked and you need to stop meeting and rethink the way you go about it.”
Mike continues, “Instead, [tweet_dis excerpt=""We should have meetings where we actually practice #selling and do training." - @mike_weinberg"]we should have meetings where we actually practice selling and do training.[/tweet_dis] Share best practices, read books, discuss difficult opportunities, bring an inspirational guest – the point is to energize your team and equip them to win.”
Your reps are interested in bettering the company and the team, so they can only benefit from a meeting that fosters a proactive learning environment. Don’t just talk at them; allow moments for mutual collaboration so your reps can share their stories and experiences. Processing their ideas for various challenges as a group will greatly improve performance and employee satisfaction, as well as foster peer-to-peer coaching.
Finally, a good habit to get into when hosting sales meetings is to end on a positive note. Recognize and praise your employees for a job well done. Name specific accomplishments that the whole team contributed to and how those successes have helped move the team forward. A little appreciation goes a long way.
Provide Valuable Tools
If knowledge is power, then reports are king 👑 Meetings can sometimes be derailed by lack of information. How many times have you had to write down a question only to look it up later when everyone has moved on from the conversation?
Remember, the key to a good meeting is collaborative discussion and issue resolution. By having a strong reference platform for facts and figures, your team can come up with informed solutions to the topics at hand.
Having sales reports readily available at the meeting will ensure your team is on the same page. You’ll gain insight into your sales process and aid your team in improving overall performance. They already use the program every day, so having the information they’re familiar with will help keep the flow and mission of your agenda in tact.
Using your CRM during the meeting will help them work smarter, not harder. When discussing challenging issues, having your CRM readily available for fact-checking and investigation will keep everyone on task.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to boost your performance through effective meeting strategies, be sure to check out our resources on how to get the most of the ultimate meeting-helper, your CRM!