More than Just another Sales Meeting

By: Rebecca Doepke, Learning Expert, Mondo Learning Solutions
July 28, 2013

Most salespeople don't like meetings. Often times we hear these meetings take too long, end without specific plans, and are a waste of time, money, and resources. Your sales team would much rather be calling on prospects, presenting a proposal, and closing the deal. Time spent in a meeting (even in a sales meeting) is time not spent on generating revenue. However, sales meetings are important and, when done well, they get the team together to share information, ideas, overcome challenges, and energize.

Here are a few simple strategies to consider.

Change your approach
The point of a sales meeting is to share critical information, collaborate on current initiatives, and present ideas that support the sales team's current and long-term goals. Anything outside of this doesn't probably belong in a sales meeting and will be viewed by the meeting participants as a waste of time.

A common complaint in sales meetings is that the agenda is overloaded with too much irrelevant information. This often leads to the "here we go again, another silly meeting" attitude; the kind that results in a glazed over look in everyone's eyes.

When it comes to sales there are many topics you could plan your meetings around such as:

  • Developing relationships
  • Entering new markets
  • Pipeline conversations
  • Uncovering opportunities within existing relationships
  • Asking for the business

When preparing for your meetings, don't try to cover everything. The above list is probably 5 different meetings, not one long meeting.

It seems fairly obvious that a sales meeting should be about sales-related subjects, and yet topics like travel, schedules, policy, and procedure somehow find their way into your sales meetings. Stay focused on your meeting agenda and park non-related sales items "on a parking lot" for another time. Meetings often generate great ideas that you may not have enough time to discuss and explore during the meeting. Create an "idea list," and keep in mind this is not a to-do list, rather a place to capture and keep ideas to explore at a later time.

Make it an experience

  • Use activities and exercises when possible to increase engagement and participation.
  • Create an upbeat environment for your meeting. Play music for 5 minutes before your meeting starts. Music helps energize attendees before the meeting even begins.
  • Celebrate and recognize. Share good news and recognize individual contributions. Remember the simple rule of praise in public and save developmental feedback for your individual one-on-one coaching sessions.

Be timely and park it
Start your meeting on time. Don't wait for the last one or two stragglers that are running a few minutes behind before you start the meeting. Sure, you might want to avoid covering the material again, but you should not let this affect those who are on time.

If someone else is presenting at your sales meeting, becomes long-winded, and seems to be taking too much time, the question is…should you interrupt or not? It is ok to interrupt, just be tactful about it. The team will appreciate your efforts to stay on task with the agenda. Use your parking lot for things that come up that need to be addressed at another time or are outside of the sales meeting's purpose.

End your meeting on time. If you have planned one hour for your meeting, do not allow it to stretch to an hour and a half. If you need more time for an agenda item, park it, and suggest a follow up meeting. Starting and ending on time also shows that you value everyone's time.

Daily huddles
In addition to sales meetings, many organizations utilize morning huddles at the beginning of the day.

A daily huddle is a 5-minute meeting. Think of it as a quick touch base time with short and "bite sized" pieces of information. Don't confuse your daily huddles with sales or other meetings that are scheduled for a longer period of time.

The purpose of a daily huddle is to:

  • Start the day the right way
  • Support your environment
  • Focus
  • Reinforce teamwork
  • Communicate with each other quickly

Daily is the key word when it comes to huddles. It's a daily part of your culture, not a once a week event. Its purpose is to keep everyone on the same page and ready for the day ahead.

For effective huddles:

  • Stand up.
  • Keep your huddles short, five minutes is ideal.
  • Time the five minutes; have a buzzer sound at the end of five minutes.
  • Hold your huddle at the same time every morning.
  • Schedule your huddle at an odd time, 8:02 or 8:23 a.m. People will remember it more if it's an odd time.

Skip a meeting
And finally, when it comes to your meetings, here is one last tip. Consider skipping a meeting once in a while. Instead of having a meeting, make the decision to skip it. Your sales team will be thrilled, but they are not off the hook. Ask the sales team to do something that develops their creativity, such as taking a walk or listening to music and then ask them to share ideas they come up with during their individual creative time.