More times that not, a sales manager who runs an effective sales meeting is a sales manager that runs an effective sales team. Every successful person involved in sales is acutely aware that the saying “time is money” is more than a cliché, it’s a fact. In most organizations, the sales team spends a majority of their time plugged into their customer base and they need some scheduled time to energize and communicate.
Sales meetings provide a critical communication tool. It establishes a forum for the sharing of ideas, introduction of new products and concepts, an opportunity for earned recognition, and an opportunity to establish camaraderie amongst team members who don’t get many opportunities to interact with each other.
Keys Aspects for Successful Sales Meetings
Running a productive sales meeting is an art-form of sorts. There are certain attributes that have been proven effective. Above everything else, it is important to keep meetings positive and constructive. Here are some tips to help new managers get the most out of these meetings. One of the things that can also help you lead productive meetings in the long run is to go for an associates degree in business administration, and improve your skills.
- Scheduling the Meeting – It’s very important to establish set meeting times. By establishing weekly/monthly scheduled meetings on a consistent basis, it allows participants the opportunity to clear their schedule and set aside the necessary time without conflicts.
- Agenda – Three days prior to the meeting, managers can send out a request for possible agenda items. This helps to generate participation and input. Once agenda items are set, the written agenda should be sent out to participants at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. This will allow them time to gather information and be prepared to share when the time is appropriate. To whatever extent possible, agendas should have a standard format.
- Set the Tone – The best way to start a meeting is by getting everyone immediately excited and connected. It’s appropriate to have a little “Meet-N-Greet” period, with snacks and beverages, just prior to the scheduled meeting time. It helps to relax people, which puts them in the mood to listen and participate. After the meeting is called to order, bring on a little pizzazz, perhaps a funny sales video or entertaining sales stories.
- Core Items – Now that everyone is connected, the middle of the meeting is the best time to address core issues such as sales stats (sales numbers, pipeline numbers) and possible issues related to the competition, products or customer input. The participants should be encouraged to engage and bring to light anything that could be useful to others in the group. In order to keep people from rambling, set time limits for each participant. This will help them stay on point. Managers should hold off on their own agenda items until the sales reps have had an opportunity to participate. It is also very helpful to offer at least one valuable sales tip at every meeting.
- Time to Motivate and Reward – When business issues have been cleared, it’s time to offers kudos to the salespeople. Public accolades help establish a sense of pride. Also, salespeople love to compete. Set up sales “games” with specific rewards between sales “teams”. This helps to create camaraderie and offers an extra incentive. Finally, a simple “Thank You” goes a long way.
The best sales meetings are the ones that employees find enjoyable and productive. By following the suggestions above, managers will begin to see employees who are excited to set aside the time needed for meetings in order to come in for team-building and communicating.