Do members of your sales team work as a synchronized machine? Or, do they act like free agents that occasionally agree to collaborate?
Do you usually close meetings feeling that progress has been made? Or, do you close them concerned about whether or not you communicated your ideas and needs effectively?
Answering these questions gives you an idea of how effective your sales meetings are, but not how to fix them if they’re broken.
If you’ve realized that many of your meetings are ineffective - or even decrease productivity - don’t kick yourself too hard over it. Most meetings are a waste of time and money. They fail to have the desired effect intended.
But guess what? There’s a better way to hold a meeting. In fact, you can take several concrete steps to make your sales team work better together.
Whether it’s a discussion about new lead gen goals, a changing target audience, sales quotas, or someone getting a little trigger happy on social media, here’s how you can make sales meetings fast, painless, and effective:
Start (And End) On Time
This suggestion may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s incredibly common for B2B meetings in any industry to start a few minutes late.
Whether it’s the temptation to chit-chat beforehand, waiting for stragglers, or it’s considered acceptable for speakers to need a few extra minutes to collect themselves before speaking, late starts to meetings only lead to further delays.
Sales people are of necessity time-oriented. None would dream of showing up to a client meeting late, missing a sales call, or wasting client time. Plus, sales people are incredibly busy trying to boost profits, especially if they’re partially or fully paid on commission. So don’t hold them back by delaying meetings!
Also, when you commit to starting meetings on time no matter what, guess what happens: People start showing up on time, presenters show up prepared, and everyone stops fearing the dead-time where they try to answer emails on their phone while someone else fiddles with the projector.
One Meeting, One Topic
Limit meetings to one topic. For example, if the most important topic you want to talk about is lead gen, then that’s what the meeting should be about - and that only. If sales quotas are changing, save that topic for another meeting.
Lumping various topics together encourages you not only to lose focus in developing your presentation, but also your sales people to start mentally (or even physically) wandering - and getting lost - while you try to hit every point.
Keep it simple and your meeting will be more effective. If the meeting is to discuss personal updates, count this as one topic. But make sure that each person has a certain amount of time to speak to avoid any one salesperson dominating the time.
Also, focusing on one topic will not only keep meetings short - ideally under half an hour - but also help you realize when your meetings should really be an email.
This advice is especially true with certain topics like supply-chain and volume updates, new hires that won’t interact with the sales team, upcoming office parties, and announcements that don't benefit from discussion.
Combine Information with Motivation and Energy
Sales people are among the most stressed out people in the professional world. They carry your company’s success on their shoulders. Give them something to work towards by making sure every meeting starts and ends with an energy booster. A few examples:
- A surprise mini-gift for someone who has done particularly well the past day or week
- Announcement of an upcoming company-sponsored trip or outing
- An inspiring clip (keep it under a minute, please!) to get their hearts pumping a little
- A sincere thank you to the entire team (this never hurts)
- Close with recognition of exceptional performance, every time!
By providing emotional fuel at all meetings, you’ll make meetings feel more like a time to recharge and refocus, instead of busy work.
These tips boil down to a very simple sentiment as old as time itself: Treat your sales people as you would like to be treated.
Respect their time, show them you appreciate them, and don’t overwhelm them. Above all, don’t hold them back from cultivating and converting leads. That’s why you hired them in the first place!