I’ve had many sales managers in my day. Some, of course, were better than others. They all wanted to imprint their "style" on the department. One constant thread was the ubiquitous internal sales meeting. In retrospect, it occurs to me, the least effective managers held these sessions more for control or rigidity than for imparting any relative insights.
The tyranny of the sales meeting
One of my sales managers scheduled the internal sales meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Monday mornings. This, he claimed, was to start the week off on a positive note and to set the tone for the following four days of super selling! Conversely, a second manager scheduled the weekly sales staff meeting at 4:00 p.m. on Fridays. As ridiculous as this sounds, it was allegedly to recap the week and give the team some vital insight that we could think about over the weekend. Sellers would be excused only if they were dealing with a client or prospect. Seemingly, these meetings were more about a headcount than providing inspiration or sharing knowledge.
Give respect to earn respect
In my experience, the most logical and effective sales meeting was scheduled Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. immediately following the department head meeting. More importantly, the manager could directly relay information from that session to the sales department. Sellers who missed the meeting simply needed a rational excuse. In addition, the sales meeting began promptly but attendees could leave early if necessary. As a result, the team felt valued and attendees were treated as adults who could set their own priorities. The sales manager, in turn, was appreciated and respected.
Conducting an effective sales meeting
A successful internal sales meeting maintains a logical, consistent and methodical schedule that fits the office workflow. Ideally, it serves as an internal check-in between sales leaders and the team charged with bringing in sales revenue. An effective sales manager knows that any meeting must have a primary purpose and a specific direction. Ben Greeley, writing for salesforce.com reveals “10 Secrets to a Successful Sales Meeting Agenda” and I’d like to share a few.
Have a clear outline
Handle tech issues before the meeting
Today’s meetings typically include at least one technological component. When remote participants must link in, assure firm connections prior to the meeting. Additionally, take precautions when screen-sharing to avoid downtime due to glitches in the presentation equipment. And remind team members to be careful about other windows they may have open on their computers. More than once, people have been embarrassed by not realizing they are sharing private chats or compromising photos.
Cover essential, in-person items first and foremost
Managers should review the agenda to assure that critical issues are handled first. In other words, do not waste valuable time on something that can be handled in a memo. Moreover, once the entire agenda is complete, dismiss the meeting. Everyone appreciates the bonus of a few free minutes.
Take time to recognize accomplishments
Your agenda should allow for praise of a worthy deed. Likewise, ask attendees to give kudos to a fellow associate for something that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Finally, take a moment to motivate
Everyone struggles to get ahead. Words of encouragement and positivity can help team members to push harder and stay productive. Greeley concludes with “Tough times don’t last, but tough sales teams do.”
For more words of encouragement and tips on running effective sales meetings, download SalesFuel’s special report “Managers as Coaches in High Performing Organizations.”
Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash
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