The weekly sales meeting is a manager’s best opportunity to connect with reps, get a sense of their challenges and progress, and keep them on track to meet quota. But the familiarity of a weekly meeting is a double-edge sword. On one hand, a routine cadence establishes discipline and support. On the other hand, following the same pattern each week can put reps on mental autopilot. When others are talking, they tune out. When it’s their turn to talk, they’re clearly winging it.
If you want to hold more effective and productive meetings, here are the four key elements you should consider.
Many sales teams meet at 9 a.m. on Monday only because they’ve always met at 9 a.m. on Monday. But if that time isn’t working for you, change it. To evaluate your current situation, ask yourself these questions:
- Does everyone generally feel energetic during our meeting times?
- Did we recently onboard new reps who work in different time zones?
- Does anyone have new commitments or obligations that conflict with our usual meeting time?
- As the manager, do I get all the information I need about pipeline and deals in time to roll up my sales forecasts?
Make sure to hold your meetings at a time that works for everyone; this will help with attendance and productivity.
Many sales meetings take place as weekly conference calls. Dialing in is usually the easiest and fastest thing to do, but it’s also nice to see faces every now and then. If your reps happen to live in the same general area, get together in person once a quarter. A video conference call can also be an easy and cost effective way to connect voices with faces.
Part of the purpose of the weekly meeting is for reps to share their selling challenges. Frequently, they direct such problems to the sales manager by saying, “What should I do?”
Even if you know exactly how this sales rep could solve the problem, try asking, “Does anyone have any ideas about how to overcome this problem?”
Some managers fear that this approach will leave the impression that they don’t know how to solve problems. In fact, there are a number of advantages to soliciting group input.
- Putting questions to the group keeps reps on their toes. Their attention is less likely to wander if they know they might be asked to contribute to the general discussion.
- Sharing solutions builds a sense of camaraderie and collaboration.
- Reps are forced to think through solutions on their own. This helps them retain information better than if someone simply gave them the answers.
- Managers get a chance to observe group dynamics and learn more about the their reps’ selling skills.
Generally speaking, what’s the emotional tone of your sales meetings? Argumentative and hostile? Neutral and boring? Fun and energizing?
There are some simple ways you can keep meetings positive and productive.
By and large, salespeople take their emotional cues from the manager. As the group leader, your mood and energy can have a huge impact on whether you’ll have a productive meeting or not. If you’re cranky, impatient, demanding, or belligerent, these meetings will raise their stress levels, and they won’t look forward to these times as opportunities to learn and improve. They’ll arrive feeling shut down, defensive, and resentful.
- Set aside time for group praise. Compliments have the power to put smiles on faces. Find some specific opportunities during the meeting to reinforce good behavior or great results. You can also ask reps to come prepared to share one thing they (or someone else) did well the previous week.
- Weekly meetings during layoffs or economic rough patches can become grim. In these situations, be as open and honest as you can about changes at the company, and help salespeople keep their focus on the things they can control.
Share something inspirational. Salespeople face rejection day in and day out. Your weekly sales meeting should be a source of motivation and inspiration. Share content — quotes, articles, short video clips, etc. — that gets them fired up and feeling good for the week ahead.