Over the past couple of months, I’ve been asked to sit in one several of our clients’ weekly [online] sales meetings. It’s been really eye-opening.
Like the vast majority of seller-doers in our industry who have no real sales background, the sales managers in Market Research (with actual titles like President, Owner or Practice Lead) also have no real background as sales managers.
Which, unfortunately, leads to bad sales leadership and guidance and can have a dramatically negative impact on your sales efforts.
To help, here’s a menu of ideas/topics to help you prepare for your future sales meetings…
The Sales Meeting Agenda
Yes! You need an agenda! Don’t just show up and then try to figure out what to talk about. Everyone should come to the meeting knowing what you (as the sales manager) are expecting and what they should be prepared for.
Key Agenda Items
Here are handful of broad categories that much of your sales meeting content will fall under…
Dissemination of information: This is your opportunity to share information and news with the team so that everyone receives the same message delivered in the same way. This could include what’s going on at your firm (general news, update on sales, new employees, HR updates, pricing changes, etc.), or what’s happening in the industry or with your competitors.
Product Training: This is the perfect place to help your team get up to speed with new product or services you’ll be offering. If there’s an expert on the new product – internally or externally – bring him/her in to lead the discussion.
Sales Training: The same goes for any selling skills you want to review/refresh with the team. To put a little pressure on them, consider employing ‘role playing’ to help them practice client interaction skills, like rehearsing capabilities presentations. Or flip the script and have your sales reps prepare to teach the other reps about a particular selling skill. [“The best way to learn something is to teach it.”]
Sharing: Anytime you have your team in the room, you’re surrounded by a lot of knowledge and experience… why not take advantage of it? Have your seller-doers do three things:
- Give a 2-minute high-level overview of what they’ve been working on… just a few highlights. IMPORTANT: this is NOT the place for each rep to spend 15 minutes talking about all the details of their previous week. That content is simply irrelevant to everyone else in the room.
- Come prepared to share any ‘success stories’ from the previous week… how they won a particularly tough client, overcame a difficult competitive situation, etc. But be careful… this is one of those places where you might have to reign in the big talkers!
- Come with any ‘problems’ they’re having in their market… with a specific client or contact, etc. Then use the collective brainpower of the whole group to throw out ideas that might help. “Two heads are better than one.” Note: this is not a ‘bitch session’ – so guard against that. It’s the chance to tap the collective wisdom of your team to make everyone better… not to complain about marketing’s cheesy giveaways for the upcoming conference!
OK… so you have a solid agenda and know what topics need to be covered, but how you pull it all together is just as important.
Frequency: Assuming you’re receiving regular sales and pipeline reports so you know what’s happening amongst your team, guard against meeting too frequently. Start with every other week. If you need more, go weekly. Or less, go monthly.
Day of the week: Traditionally, most meetings are held on Monday mornings to help everyone prepare for the week ahead. And that’s still probably your best bet. But whatever day and time you set… cast it in concrete. These meetings are not optional! Make sure your team puts them all on their calendars and plans around them. Sure… there will be some valid reasons for missing a meeting, but your team (and you!) need to be there. Period.
Invite guests: While salespeople are traditionally the most independent employees in any company… they do not operate in a vacuum. As part of ‘dissemination of information’ above, invite someone from Operations to talk to your group for a few minutes about what’s happening in that department.
More importantly, make sure someone from Marketing attends every meeting. Sales needs to know what Marketing is working on… and Marketing needs to know what the Sales team needs and what they’re hearing from the marketplace. Sales & Marketing are joined at the hip in the race to grow revenue… give them every opportunity to work together and grow into a team.
Have a little fun: Speaking of growing into a team, the same needs to be true of your group of seller-doers. To that end, find ways to engage the group in fun activities… games, sales contests (with rewards) or – when we’re back to normal after the pandemic – occasionally hold your sales meeting offsite… at a bowling alley, restaurant or other fun locale.
Selling is hard. But I submit that Sales Management is even harder. You have the collective pressure of all of your seller-doers trying to achieve their sales goals, plus the responsibility to lead, manage and coach. Nuthin’ easy there.
If it helps, here are two books from my Covid reading list (I’m up to 27 books so far!) that I thought were really good reads for those shouldering the responsibility of Sales Management:
The bottom line on sales meetings is this… make sure everyone attends, make sure everyone is engaged and make sure to work on those things that provide benefit to everyone on your team. Do that… and your seller-doers will want to attend the sales meetings. And that’s a good thing.
Need a little help with your sales management systems and processes? I’d be happy to talk with you about it. Please reach out to me at Steve@HarpethMarketing.com or call me at 1.615.721.5330.