This week, I would like to share with you my response to a group of sales executives who asked me to make suggestions for better internal sales meetings - the weekly or daily meeting with the sales team.
Here is my response…
A mediocre person tells. A good person explains. A superior person demonstrates. A great person inspires others to see for themselves.” - Harvey Mackay
Plan the meeting:
- Start and end on a positive note. A sales meeting should be a festive occasion, so make sure you start with some good news, a great result, or a salesperson who deserves recognition. Similarly, the salespeople should leave the meeting with their arms raised up through the sunroof. Hence, the last item of the day should also be a positive one.
- Ask the salespeople for inputs for the meeting — is there anything they want on the agenda? And when they don’t reply to your email (and they don’t always), then call them.
- Send out a professional agenda — purpose, objective, agenda, timetable, participants, and meeting venue.
- Consider having individual meetings about topics that aren’t relevant to the whole team anyway.
- Evaluate the meeting and use the evaluation as an input when planning the next meeting.
Set the framework for the meeting
- Set the scene from the beginning: Make sure the meeting room is in order, the table has been set, there is coffee and tea in the thermos, maybe bread and fruit, make sure there is water, etc.
- Dress as if you were going to a meeting with an important customer. The sales meeting is important, and your attire should of course signal that fact.
- Take charge of the meeting, maintain momentum and stick to the timetable.
- Have breaks — and have them often. Salespeople aren’t meant to be sitting in a meeting room for half a day or a whole day.
- Use ‘walk and talk’ for discussion in groups of two to three people. It stimulates creativity and breaks up the meeting nicely to get out of the meeting room.
- Minute any decisions and send the minutes out before the salespeople get home. Make it clear, where in the minutes you have noted something the salespeople have to follow up on, answer or do.
Set a good theme, such as:
- Attitudes — to customers, to the sales role, to the products
- New products and how they are sold (which challenges does each of your solutions address, for example?)
- Stakeholder analysis — Who in your customers’ organisations owns the problem you are solving?
- Return On Investment — how do you calculate/substantiate the customers' return on the investment that your products and solutions require?
- Best practice — what is the best, fastest and most cost effective way to attract new customers and sell more to the customers you already have?
- Twin analyses — which characteristics best match your customers, and which companies fit that description (the easy way to precise selection of customer leads)?
- 'My best sale' — the salespeople take turns telling each other about their biggest success. Not necessarily the biggest order, but the sale where the salesperson did a good job and got the order because of good effort. As the sales manager, you facilitate the discussion and make sure you identify the learnings from each story.
- 'My biggest challenge’ — the salespeople take turns presenting a sales opportunity that they are having a hard time closing. The team makes suggestions for alternative angles.