Trudie Avery is a branding expert who helps start-ups and small businesses stand out from the crowd. With almost 25 years of branding experience behind
Have you ever been in one of those meetings where the clock keeps ticking, the speaker is rambling and you’re picturing the neverending list of work you’ve got to finish? This scenario is more common than not when it comes to sales meetings that are run inefficiently and offer little or no value. This can leave salespeople feeling stressed and can lead to negative feelings about the leader, the company and their job. However, the good news is, this situation is easily avoidable! All you’ve got to do is try out these 9 tips to help you run an efficient and effective sales meeting…
Take A Look Back:
First things first, you need to delve into the past. Asking your employees to come prepared with a review of their accounts from the last month is a great place to start. You can look into what’s in the pipeline, what’s been going well or what’s not working, and a brief look into what your competitors are doing. These overviews shouldn’t be too long, aim for 10 minutes or less per person and give them a format such as their 3-5 most important issues. Not only will this prepare you for the next month, but it’s also a productive way to overcome any issues and gives your salespeople a chance to speak, rather than be spoken to for the whole sales meeting.
It’s no secret that your customers are the most important aspect of your business and therefore should be focused on in meetings. It’s vital that your meetings keep everyone up to date with which new customers are coming in and which ones are leaving. It’s also important to mention any customers who have expressed a need for additional customer support, as you don’t want anyone getting neglected and ultimately creating a bad reputation. You want your meetings to be positive and not having to relay bad reviews or feedback from customers. Keep everyone up to date and your customers happy!
In With The New:
To keep things exciting, give people an insight into what’s to come. Whether there’s a new product rolling out, an upcoming trade show or fresh company product promotions, it’s important you let everyone know. This means you can brainstorm and plan for each project, creating timelines, goals and deciding who’s involved. This gives everyone the chance to have their input and potentially jump on projects they may not have gotten the chance to.
Give Some Feedback:
To keep your employees engaged with the meeting, offer them some feedback on their performance. Sales meetings are a great time to review the accountability report, to assess who’s doing well and who’s not. This doesn’t mean pointing out people who could be doing better, but giving reminders about commissions being paid and any other incentives or contests. This will give your team motivation to work to their full potential when they see rewards being given for hard work.
You can never be too good at something and often salespeople are eager to hone their craft. Training shouldn’t be a once in a blue moon opportunity and you should be prepared to devote a portion of your meeting time to helping your employees improve their skills in some way. This can be scratching up on their closing technique or even just a motivational exercise for the team. Training is key to keeping people engaged and performing productively.
The Wider Team:
Although your meeting is primarily covering sales, don’t be afraid to involve other departments too. Being in a team and having a sole focus to make sales can make it easy to forget other departments doing vital work for the business. Bringing in a team member from another department for an update can give a wider view on how the business is doing and help sales stay in touch with the likes of Marketing, Accounting and IT etc. It’s a smart move to keep your sales team appreciative and understanding of other departments’ challenges.
It’s vital that everyone involved in a strategic plan knows exactly what their role is and what steps they should take by the time the next meeting comes around. This isn’t just for salespeople, but the managers too. As a manager you should also focus on encouraging your sales team to be actively thinking about the 80/20 rule of Pareto Principle: 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes, or in this case, 80% of revenue comes from 20% of the efforts!
By surprise guests, I don’t mean inviting in a juggling professional to provide entertainment in the meeting. I simply mean the issues or projects that don’t fit into any of the sales meeting agenda categories. Although you might not have a place for them, it’s vital that you can make a bit of time for them. However, this means that salespeople and managers need to submit them beforehand so that they can be included. Otherwise, you’ll end up with unanticipated issues and going over time to cover them, which is a bad note to end on.
It’s A Wrap:
The time has come where you need to start wrapping things up. If you’ve followed these tips, hopefully people are going away fulfilled and not yawning their heads off (unless they’ve not had their coffee fix yet). At this point it’s important to double check that everyone understands the actions they are expected to take, their role in certain projects and the timelines. If everything has been covered there shouldn’t be many questions to take at the end, but it’s a good idea to leave a little bit of time for them, so people don’t go away with any confusion.
Although there’s a lot to consider when running a sales meeting, putting these 9 tips into action is a good place to start. An efficient and effective meeting will not only keep projects and strategies moving forward, but it will also leave your sales people raring and ready to go for the work ahead.