Our new sales culture research reveals that only 50 percent of sales organizations have productive sales team meetings. If you hold a one-hour meeting with ten people, that’s actually ten hours of time. When you think of it that way, you want to make sure that you’re creating value for your team and organization. So, as a sales leader, how can you make sure that the time your employees are spending in meetings will bring both them and your company value?
Rate your Sales Team Meetings
The first step is to get feedback from your team. Ask them to rate your sales team meetings on a scale of one to ten where one is unproductive and ten is valuable.
If they aren’t finding your sales team meetings valuable, find out why and adjust your meetings accordingly. If the team expresses that the meetings feel stagnant, mix it up. Change the location, timing or topics.
If you are rating the meetings lower than your team, ask yourself why. If it’s because your team isn’t coming in prepared? Consider including a competition to make contributing fun. If you’re feeling like your team isn’t responding during meetings, share the accountability by rotating the energizer or having different people lead different parts of the meeting. Try new things to find what works for you, for them and for your organization.
Planning the Sales Team Meeting
The key to running a good sales team meeting is to be purposeful when planning it. What are your objectives, and how can you meet them in the meeting? If you can’t clearly answer the question, “What’s the purpose of the meeting?”, then you shouldn’t be having it. Consider using tools or technologies to illustrate your points (for example, if you’re talking about data, show a relevant dashboard from your CRM during the meeting), and make sure those tools are set up ahead of time.
Create an agenda and send it to everyone who is invited, along with a note about what they need to prepare before the meeting. The agenda should include:
- Energizer (Open the meeting with something fun to engage the group and break the ice)
- Support and challenge (Create value for the team through capability activities such as practicing a targeted skill, role playing or identifying a gap and brainstorm how to close it)
- Team update (Share monthly and YTD results, corporate updates or employee engagement initiatives)
- Individual update (Give individuals a voice by having them share a success, a key learning or their focus for the month ahead)
- Rewards and recognition (Recognizing team members can be impromptu, but sometimes, it’s a good idea to plan to recognize someone’s success during the meeting)
Keep the agenda as simple as possible – not only does this make it easier for you as the manager, it also helps the team know what to expect.
Leading the Sales Team Meeting
One key to a good meeting is making sure all attendees are engaged. One-way communication is typically less effective – or, at the very least, perceived as less effective. Don’t let anyone (including yourself) dominate the conversation. Having a quick energizer activity at the beginning of the meeting is a good way to warm people up, get them motivated to participate and set a good tone. When providing business updates, keep it succinct and clear, ask relevant people to contribute, and don’t share information that could effectively be shared in an email.
Be respectful of people’s time; if the meeting looks like it’s going over the designated time, ask everyone if they want to take the last items off the agenda for a second meeting or if they’d prefer to extend the current meeting.
Meetings can also be a development opportunity. For example, if your team members just participated in training on a new skill, you can reinforce it during the meeting with a quick capability activity, comment or success story. This is a simple and cost-effective way to continue investing in your people’s abilities, in a way where they can learn from each other.
Encourage quieter people to participate and more dominating personalities to let others speak. Set the expectation ahead of time that you’d like everyone to bring one or two ideas or points to discuss.
After the Sales Team Meeting
After the meeting, make sure to follow up on action items. It’s also a good idea to ask trusted team members for feedback on the meeting: “How valuable was it? If we could improve something, what would it be? Did we allocate the right amount of time?” Soliciting feedback not only provides you with helpful information but also engages team members, making them more motivated to attend future meetings.