We all enjoy it when our relationships with our colleagues are predictable, inspiring and productive and yet sales meetings are often none of those things, let alone all of them! Salespeople report fluidity around dates and times, badly thought out agenda’s and public shaming – running a good meeting is a sales leaders’ key competency.
If your team don’t leave your sales meeting more aligned, more focused on their sales targets, and better equipped to achieve them, you’re not getting out of the meeting what you could!
When Harvard Business Review ran a survey, asking 182 senior managers across a range of industries whether they found their meetings to be effective.
- 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work
- 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient
- 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking
- 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together
So, what elements make up a good sales meeting? Ideally it will be more than just reviewing numbers from last week and planning for this week
Although the measurement of numeric targets should always be central to the discussion, a good sales meeting agenda should also cover:
- Pipeline Review. It’s important to get an update on opportunities. As they say “what gets measured gets done” and so it is with sales people. A meeting that kicks off with a discussion about what’s closing and what’s not, supported by minutes or a to do list from the last meeting is the ideal. This activity will keep everyone accountable and also provide insight as to where help is needed…
- Metrics and Measurement. If you have implemented a sales process and you have introduced KPIs, dive into the metrics. Focus on the rhythm of your order book (weekly, monthly, quarterly) and the associated targets, as well as the metrics that lead to closed deals. Nobody likes being called out in front of their peers. Sales meetings should focus on team numbers. Performance related discussions and feedback can be saved for one-to-one discussions.
- Obstacles and Challenges. What bottlenecks exist that are stopping orders getting signed? Are there external factors or internal blocks created by other departments?
- Win/Loss Analysis. A sales meeting is a great time to dig deeper into the reasons why opportunities are won or lost. Deconstructing the details of a sales cycle and identifying characteristics that influenced the outcome will help to underwrite the success of future engagements. It helps you identify problems, understand the market, and stay close to the competition by utilising feedback from the best source of market intelligence: your buyers and sellers.
- Customer Feedback. Allow your team to share the insights and wisdom they receive from prospects. What are they saying about your value proposition, your team and how you sell? How could you make it easier for them to buy from you?
- Keeping Them Up To Date. As a sales leader, you’re likely to have more (factual) information about what’s going on in the business at large. Share the latest news —particularly those items related to product updates and marketing activities.
- Competitive Analysis. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer! This is an ideal time to focus on a competitor, to understand more about their strengths and weaknesses, perhaps to find out why a customer chose them over you. Who are the key personalities within the target organisation – why are they successful? Share as much market intelligence as you can to create an accurate picture of the competitive landscape.
- Training Opportunities. Sales meetings are an ideal time to deliver informal sales training and reinforcement of best practice. Highlight effective sales engagements to illustrate examples of best practice.
- Celebrate the big wins. End on a high. Close your meetings off on a high note to set the tone going forward. Insights, approaching challenging sales targets and acquiring strategically targeted accounts are all cause for a celebration.
You can include any other topics that are relevant to your industry or organisation. Remember, standardisation helps create consistency – use standardized agendas. Don’t reinvent the wheel for every meeting. Create “recurring” agendas and use these as templates.
Circulate the agenda ahead of every meeting, together with any reports or additional materials or content. Make sure everything is prepared. This includes equipment, software, and your own information. Follow up with minutes or a to do list. Remember, the 3 qualities that mark out a truly effective sales meeting:
- Value. the team should get something out of the meeting as well as you. In other words, have them leave the room a little wiser than when they entered the room…
- Participation. We tend to get bored if we’re not involved. Set expectations before the meeting – let them know they’re going to be contributing. Encourage interaction throughout the meeting but don’t be scared to close down discussions so that they can be revisited at the end of the meeting and the agenda can be followed.
- Consistency. Build the meeting into the fabric of the team’s belief system. Ensure that meetings are held at the same team with the same frequency. Make sure meetings are always held on the same day of the month or week, and time of the day. Start on-time, stick to the agenda. In so doing you will develop a rhythm that sets expectations for your team members and leads to an effective sales meeting and a more effective sales team.
For more information about our sales process development and deployment methodology call us on 0203 858 8030 email John.firstname.lastname@example.org