Have you ever sat in a sales meeting and thought, “What is the point of this meeting?”
Even worse, have you ever been running a sales meeting and half-way through thought, “What is the point of this meeting?”
Weekly sales meetings often turn into a “zombie activity”. We put it on the calendar without thinking, it’s just there because it’s there every week. And then we go through the motions until the meeting is over and we don’t have to think about it until the next one. No one seems to know the purpose, and no one gets anything of value from attending or leading the meeting. Eventually, they drop out of the schedule due to lack of interest or purpose.
Here’s How to Test Your Meetings
Whether you have one salesperson or one hundred, sales meetings can be a powerful tool to improve your team’s performance. They allow you to leverage your time and energy as a leader. You can multiply the results that your team achieves by putting some attention on this key inflection point in the week.
I learned this early in my career when leading a sales team of independent sales reps who were usually part-time and mostly college students (talk about a whammy of motivational hurdles). The weekly sales meetings were of paramount importance if I wanted to create any significant activity from the team. It was the one time during the week I had them all in front of me to hear the same message.
When you have non-existent or lackadaisical sales meetings you are losing out on massive amounts of revenue. Your team is missing out on developing their skills and also there is an opportunity cost to your meetings. A salesperson in a meeting isn’t prospecting or in a sales presentation! So you have to make sure that the time becomes an investment that makes their other activities more valuable.
The place to start improving your sales meetings is with a litmus test. It’s time for some honest feedback for yourself:
Did taking the reps away from their regular sales activities lead to more sales in the long term?
Does your team leave excited, with new skills, and motivated to create more sales activity than before the meeting? If so then the answer to the above question is probably yes. But if you aren’t sure if they are selling more because of the meeting, then the answer is probably no.
Don’t Give Up
Let’s make sure that every sales meeting adds to your salespeople’s sales results. Whether through skill development, motivation, or positive recognition, the meeting has to make their activities more effective, efficient, and productive. If that doesn’t happen, then the meeting was a net drain and you should have kept the team in the field.
But don’t do that!
It’s easy to let meetings fall off the calendar, especially if you feel they’ve been a waste of time in the past. But then you are abdicating your responsibility as a sales leader (and you are losing revenue opportunities).
To borrow an idea from the motivational giant Zig Ziglar, your sales team’s motivation and skills are like cleanliness… they wear off over time. So sales meetings should be like bathing, a regular and consistent activity that gets everyone back on track.
3 Steps to Effective Sales Meetings
1. Make it Consistent
Create a schedule that your team can organize their week around. Provide a reliable source of training and accountability by keeping the day and time of the sales meeting sacred on the schedule.
There are different philosophies about the best times to run a sales meeting, but the most important criteria is that you can stick to it every week. Have everyone put it in their calendars as a recurring meeting so they won’t schedule anything else during that time.
2. Spend the Right Amount of Time
There’s not a “perfect” length for a sales meeting, but 20 minutes isn’t enough time and 2 hours is too long. If it’s too short, you aren’t going to have a meaningful impact. If it’s too long, you will lose everyone’s attention and they won’t be as motivated.
For a weekly meeting, shoot for 45-60 minutes. That’s enough time to cover any announcements, share one or two training topics, and end with a motivational message.
3. Prepare Beforehand
Don’t try to wing it. Don’t just show up and then harangue, cajole, and BS with your sales team. Have a prepared agenda of what you are going to cover. Actors can spend months rehearsing a play that’s just a few hours long. At least try to spend the same amount of time preparing your meeting as you will running it.
Remember that this is the one time every week when everyone will be in front of you and hearing the same material. Don’t waste that opportunity.
Simple and Sustainable is Key
The goal isn’t to run a big production. If you try to run a Tony-Robbins-esque sales kickoff on a weekly basis you are going to burn out.
Instead, provide your people with reliable and consistent accountability, training, and motivation. Create a structure that you can replicate for the long-term. When you have a simple and sustainable program, and you execute on that program, your people will appreciate it and your bottom line will reflect it.