Sales meetings are often seen as opportunities to simply review numbers and see where the company is at in reaching its quotas. But if that’s all that happens at sales meetings, they’re missing out on a lot of potential.
Around 70% of employees find meetings unproductive. At their worst, sales meetings could feel like a drag—a time-sucking event that interrupts important work with little to show for it. Unfortunately, many salespeople see them as a necessary evil: something the company requires but not necessarily beneficial for them.
This doesn’t have to be the case. With a few changes, sales meetings can be transformed into something productive and helpful for sales employees.
Shifting the focus
Sales meetings have great potential beyond a simple numbers review. They can be an opportunity to discuss strategy, share best practices, and build relationships.
Instead of dedicating the whole schedule to reviewing numbers and quotas, the meeting can be broken down into smaller sections.
This allows for a more diverse discussion that can include other topics, such as how to use the company’s CRM better, the best way to follow up with potential customers, and tips for handling objections.
To avoid going off-tangent in meetings, it’s also ideal to set standardised agendas. A meeting template lets sales reps know what to expect and keeps the conversation focused. It could change their attitude towards attending and make them more open to participating in the discussion.
By shifting the focus, employees can walk away feeling like they’ve learned something new that will help them in their job. They’ll also better understand the company’s overall strategy and how their individual role fits into it.
Celebrate the wins
Sales meetings can be a celebration of the team’s accomplishments. Too often, they’re focused on what needs to be improved. While it’s important to identify areas for improvement, it’s also essential to recognise when things are going well.
What has the team done well in the past month? Who closed the most deals? Which products are selling the best? Sales employees are often driven by ego, hence recognising them in a public forum will give them the boost they need to stay on top of their game.
Analyse the data
Yes, reviewing numbers in sales meetings is important, but there’s more to it than that. Sales reps should also be encouraged to analyse the data and look for trends.
For example, if sales have been slow in a particular region, employees can look at the data to see why that might be. Is it because of a recent change in the economy? Or is there something else going on?
The data will be able to provide sales teams with some much-needed context, which can lead to better forecasting. Accurate predictions are essential for any successful business, and sales meetings are the perfect opportunity to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Develop each other
In addition to discussing work-related topics, sales meetings can also be used to develop employees. Sales teams should focus on revenue enablement rather than just quota achievement.
This means that your employees should be working to help each other close deals rather than just trying to reach their own individual numbers. By developing a culture of collaboration, sales teams can help everyone succeed.
This can be done through activities such as:
- Role-playing: is a great way to practice handling objections or working through tough situations. Employees can take turns being the customer and the salesperson, trying out different approaches until they find one that works best for them.
- Brainstorming: If a problem needs to be solved, allow employees to brainstorm solutions as a group. This can help generate new ideas and get everyone thinking creatively about how to address the issue.
- Training: Use sales meetings as an opportunity to provide employees with training on new products, updates to the CRM, or changes in company policy. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and up to date on the latest information.
Study the competition
In addition to discussing company strategy and best practices, sales meetings can also be used as a time to study the competition. This can help identify new industry trends and give employees a better understanding of what they’re up against.
To do this, set aside time for everyone to research a competitor. Then, have each person present their findings in the meeting. This will help keep everyone up to date on the competition and allow for a more well-rounded discussion of the industry as a whole.
Competitor research can also be used to find potential areas of opportunity. For example, if a competitor is successfully selling to a particular type of customer, that could be something worth exploring for your own company.
Determine the outcomes
Effective sales meetings have specific objectives or takeaways. Otherwise, it’s easy for the discussion to get lost in the weeds.
Some examples of objectives for a sales meeting could be:
- By the end of this meeting, we should have come up with 3 new ideas to increase our close rate by 5%.
- Every person in this room should leave with at least 1 new tactic to increase their pipeline by 10%.
- As a team, we will identify 2 areas where we need to improve our process and establish action items for each.
These objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Having SMART objectives gives the meeting a clear purpose and helps ensure everyone is on the same page.
Additionally, these good sales meetings close with action steps. After discussing the objectives, the team comes up with a plan of action to implement the changes. This could include assigning tasks to specific team members and setting deadlines.
Some specific ideas include:
- Mary will research 3 new CRM software programs and report back at the next meeting.
- John will test the new follow-up process with 10 potential customers and give us his results in 2 weeks.
- The team will brainstorm ideas for handling objections and develop a list of responses for future sales calls.
Action steps help ensure that the meeting doesn’t just end with good intentions but also leads to real results.
Respect the time
The average person’s attention span is only about eight seconds—and it’s getting shorter. This means that salespeople are likely to tune out during long, drawn-out meetings.
To keep everyone engaged, respect the time limit. This can be done by being selective about who gets invited to the meeting and having a clear purpose for why the meeting is taking place.
It’s also helpful to use a timer during the meeting to keep track of time and ensure that each discussion doesn’t exceed the allotted time. This ensures that everyone gets a chance to speak and that the meeting stays on track.
The goal of a sales meeting should be to help employees close more deals, not just review numbers.
By shifting the focus towards developing skills and relationships, sales meetings can be a more productive use of time for everyone involved. This may even change how sales reps see these meetings and make them more willing to participate.
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