Are Your Sales Meetings Ineffective?
Are Your Sales Meetings Ineffective?
Do you run dynamic and effective sales meetings or are they the same old boring kind of meetings that everyone else runs? Sales meetings in general have a bad rap. Deservedly so. Usually they are anything but sales related. In the years that I’ve been involved in sales, I’ve experienced more than my share of pedantic meetings. A good sales meeting will boost morale, get your salespeople fired up, and, ultimately lead to increased sales. A bad sales meeting will do the opposite.
Sales managers use sales meetings to cover multiple topics … housekeeping items, numbers, new products, credit problems, shipping, product training, etc., etc. Many of these items could be handled in emails and memos instead of taking up valuable sales meeting time.
Some sales managers are pulpit bullies. They use the sales meeting to humiliate and berate underperforming salespeople in front of their peers. Instead of motivating and helping salespeople to do better, they embarrass them. It’s the old, “the beatings will continue until morale improves” philosophy. It didn’t work in the past and it doesn’t work today.
Sales meetings should be motivating. You want your salespeople to leave the meeting all fired up and ready to go out and sell. You also need to be realistic. You can’t expect them to do the impossible. Take for example the VP of Sales of the dog food company: He’s addressing several hundred sales reps and brokers at the annual sales meeting. He’s all fired up and yells,
“Who’s got the best salesforce in the country?”
The group yells back, “We do!”
“Who’s got the best advertising in the industry?”
“Who’s got the best packaging?”
“Who’s got the best pricing?”
Then the VP pauses and asks, “So why aren’t we selling more dog food?”
There’s silence for a bit and then a lone voice from the ranks answers,
“Because the darn dogs won’t eat it”
Too many sales managers try to get their salespeople to do the impossible. It doesn’t work. In a sales meeting it’s demotivating and it kills your credibility. I believe in raising the bar and setting stretch goals. Just make sure that those goals are attainable.
- Back to running an effective sales meeting and what it should include as well as what it should not:
- Hold the meeting once a week at the same time. It can be in person if everyone works out of the same location, or using video conference if not.
- Have an agenda that’s published before the meeting so that everyone knows what to expect from you and what you expect from them.
- Have clear rules about attendance and behavior.
- Limit the meeting to an hour or 75 minutes maximum.
- Begin on time and end on time.
- Keep it positive and uplifting.
- Devote some time to improving sales skills.
- Don’t use it as a clearinghouse for miscellaneous housekeeping stuff.
- Recognize extraordinary accomplishments.
- Don’t let any individual salesperson use your meeting time to vent.
- Don’t let any individual salesperson dominate the meeting … stick to the agenda.
- If you have product training or guest speakers or anything else beyond the scope of your regular sales meeting, devote separate time to them. Perhaps you can cover them in lieu of your regular sales meeting once a month or at another time. Do not muddy the waters by trying to cover too much at any one time.
Sales meetings are important. In fact they are too important to not run properly. Use your meetings to inspire and motivate. Don’t use them to cram in a bunch of stuff that your salespeople will forget before they walk out the door. Next week, I’ll share a sales meeting agenda that I’ve found to be very effective.
Oliver Connolly coaches and mentors a limited number of sales managers and Vice Presidents of Sales. For more information please go to www.clevelstrategic.com or call me at 1 561 480 0563