If you’re serious about upgrading your sales team meetings, ask your best salespeople what they would like to see covered in team meetings. Trust me they know what works.
Last week I was in Chicago and San Diego leading sales leadership workshops for two different large companies. We had a blast and it’s energizing seeing sales managers get refocused and recharged.
What I always find intriguing is how interested managers are in one particular topic: help with upgrading their sales team meetings. It’s almost as if most managers have come to the place where they simply accept that their sales team meetings are awful and always will be. That’s silly. Let’s fix that – right now.
Most Sales Meetings are Awful
Before offering a few tips and potential agenda topics to supercharge your sales meetings, let’s take a quick look at why most of them are so awful:
They’re not really sales meetings. Oh, there’s a meeting, but very little of it has to do with how to sell (or sell more). It’s a status meeting, ops planning meeting, sales manager monologue on various topics, an admin-update meeting, a bitch session… But it’s definitely not a “sales” meeting.
Too little interaction + mostly one-way communication = lame, unhelpful meeting
An inappropriate venue for hard accountability. Lazy sales managers who don’t do 1:1 meetings cheat by doing cheap accountability in team meetings. I’m sorry but that’s just wrong. Reviewing results is one thing (and I’m a fan of that), but embarrassing and demeaning salespeople in a group setting is another.
Salespeople show up with lousy attitudes, are “present” but not really present. And too often, meetings devolve into negativity and bitch sessions.
Meeting for the sake of meeting with no clear objective and no good outcome.
Boring. Same old same old. Zero excitement.
I could go on, but there’s no reason to. We’re all on the same page here. The bottom line is that in all of the cases described above and the many more running through your mind, the salespeople are leaving sales team meetings with less energy and no better equipped to sell than when they arrived for the meeting, and that’s pathetic – and stupid.
Sales Team Meetings Should Align, Energize and Equip the Team!
I have one very simple litmus test for sales team meetings.
Do your people leave the meeting more aligned, more energized to sell, and better equipped to do their jobs?
If the answer is no, then it’s time to make significant adjustments. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that until you get that figured out, I would suggest you stop meeting.
If you’re serious about upgrading your meetings, ask your best salespeople what they would like to see covered in team meetings, and inquire about what they have seen work well elsewhere.
Another key is for the manager to offload as much of the burden for the meeting as possible! I’m convinced the reason so many sales meetings are bad is because the manager owns too much of the meeting prep, content, and facilitation. Nowhere is it written that the manager must be solely responsible for everything surrounding the meeting. That’s ridiculous.
Success Stories – have reps brag about new deals, new clients acquired or major cross-sell/up-sell victories. Ask them to come prepared with details to share not just the “what” but the “how” so everyone benefits from the story.
Best Practice Sharing – rotate through your various people who excel at different aspects of selling and the sales process. Give Susie ten minutes to coach the group on why she’s so effective at getting C-suite meetings. Ask Shawn to expand of why his lead conversion rate is double the average. Have Holly deliver an example of her drop the mic presentation that’s been closing business left and right.
Book or Blog Review – have your team read a book. Before each meeting assign a chapter to discuss – and appoint a salesperson to lead/facilitate the discussion. Or rotate through each seller selecting a blog post relevant to a topic your team is facing and have the person send out the link with some primer question so reps come to the meeting prepared to discuss takeaways from the article.
Practice! – I don’t like to call it role-play because of the awkward and negative feelings those words produce. So call it “practice.” But do it! Toss out real-life scenarios that happen on prospecting calls, discovery meetings, or during presentations and have team members practice right there in the meeting. Crazy thought, I know: salespeople actually practicing instead of just winging it.
Non-Sales Inspiration – Bring in a war veteran or cancer survivor to share their story (and remind salespeople that they should stop whining about how hard sales is! Sales is not hard; war is hard. Cancer is hard). Or ask sellers to tell the group about a real hero in their lives who inspires them. Or rotate through sellers sharing some of their personal life philosophies that keep them motivated. Use video clips from movies or interviews with world-class athletes.