When it’s time to get the memo out to create the agenda for the upcoming sales meeting, is there a pit in your stomach or do you look forward to the event? Are your sales meetings flat-out boring, filled with the same old speeches, and just a plain waste of time? Or is everyone pumped up, anticipating excitement, new tools, and a boost to help them achieve their goals?
Sales meetings are critically important to a successful sales team if structured and planned well, and if they’re respectful of the valuable time commitment they represent. Done well, they are a fantastic tool. Done poorly, they can diminish the team and the effectiveness of the sales leader. Here are several reasons sales meetings fail:
• Sales leadership is uncommitted to their role and therefore don’t plan.
• Sales team members are uncommitted to the “TEAM”, or to the leadership, and feel a victim of having to attend.
• The meetings are perceived as a waste of time (and many times they are!)
• There is little deliberate structure or value injected into them.
Remember the purpose of a good sales meeting. The following represents practical outcomes to gain, and therefore reasons to put energy into sales meetings:
• Gather the troops, who are usually out in the world on their own. “Herd the cats”, and let them have some team time together.
• Market Intelligence is delivered and war stories are shared.
• Education, marketing, sales training, or product knowledge is delivered. Be a “constant learning” organization, just like the most successful out there.
• Group accountability for the behaviors that dictate success is more powerful that individual accountability (i.e. KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)
• Inspiration vs. Motivation. You can NOT motivate. You can only create movement. But everyone wants a breath of fresh air to give them strength to carry on.
Here are the 5 tips to create successful sales meetings. If you concentrate a section of time in every meeting to each of these, you will start to see better results with the goals I mentioned above, and in the enthusiasm of the teammates in attendance:
1. Market Intelligence: Do your homework. In sales, knowledge is king, and the very best sales people are constantly looking for an advantage through learning about the “competitive landscape”.
2. Education: Different from the last tip, this involves skills and tactics. The best sales teams are constantly honing their approach to the market, the tactics that are producing the best results, and sharing what works with the entire team.
3. Accountability: Posting the Key Performance Indicators and results that followed are powerful. Everyone wants the approval of their peers. Sales teams are typically very competitive, and NOBODY wants to underperform in front of their peers.
4. Inspiration: Stories, articles, suggested readings and experiences from teammates having success gives people a chance to see themselves in that successful position. Everyone needs to be reminded of what is possible and attainable. Too often we focus on our shortcomings or performing pressures, and not often enough do we set our minds on what we want. Remember that “what we focus on expands”. Focus on what you DO want, not on what you DON’T want.
5. Rotate the Leadership: This is a powerful motivator when you rotate who is in charge of the meeting. Keep the same format, but have each person on the sales team take a leadership role in running it. The benefits include creating team buy-in, eliminates the “sales vs. sales management” gap that may be in your team, diversifies the “gene pool” and injects more new ideas, topics, and stories. Note that this does NOT eliminate your responsibility for producing a good meeting, just shares the leadership.
Applying elements of each of these 5 areas, particularly rotating the leadership, will transform the results of your meetings, and bring powerful energy to your time together planning the demise of your competition!
Phil Beakes, CEO
Peregrine Insight Group, LLC