Sales Managers, Salespeople, you all have to live through this sequence every week, typically on a Monday morning, that one event you can’t skip: the weekly sales meeting! For some, this is a very intense, useful moment for ensuring teamwork, motivation and sharing. For others, it’s a time of stress, boredom and a waste of time. It all depends on how it is thought out and structured by the Sales Manager.
An article called “Five missing factors of a valuable sales meeting” published in early March on the US Sales Hacker blog, invites Sales Managers to organise these weekly meetings so that they offer the most for the entire team. This article was written by Tom Lavery, an American blogger specialising in sales matters.
He offers five pieces of advice for Sales Managers to follow:
Don’t spend time taking about sales activity
Managers, if you find your sales meetings start with a ’round the table’ announcement of sales activity from each person, you’re not getting the most value for the time spent by everyone in the meeting. Your CRM system, set up with the sales reports that are important for you to measure, already tells everyone on your team exactly what’s going on in the pipeline. Do not waste time discussing the numbers each member of the team can (and should) make themselves familiar with by consulting the appropriate report in the CRM system before the meeting. The sales meeting shouldn’t ever be a reporting exercise to the manager.
Have an agenda that focuses on shared learning and continuous improvement
For Tom Lavery, author of the article on Sales Hacker, the first thing to do is to give each member of the team an opportunity to talk about learnings over the previous week. Everyone should share their feedback with other participants, how they overcame difficulty, improved a technique, etc. and give everyone an opportunity to ask questions about it. The goal here is to enable everyone to take ownership of their colleagues’ best practices and thus improve via shared learnings: an informative and constructive exchange for all.
If, for example, a member of the team has experimented with a new way of making contact with prospects that is seeing good results, then discuss the idea as a team. Does it need further testing? Can it be improved upon? How? Is it something that should be rolled out across the sales team and what’s the best way of implementing the change?
To avoid blank faces and hesitation at the meeting where people can’t remember the key learnings from the previous week, have a central place, e.g. on SharePoint, where each member of team can headline their learning and document it immediately so it’s ready on the agenda for discussion.
Allow time to chat about challenges
Another essential point to truly make the sales meeting a constructive moment is when the manager gives each member of the team an opportunity to chat about any challenges they’re facing in their role.
The aim is to share with the team so as to gain practical advice on how to overcome these difficulties. There are bound to be members of the team who have already experienced similar challenges. Brainstorming together generates some great ideas, so that the team may quickly overcome these sticking points.
Hitting sales numbers is never easy. It’s helpful to create a time during which sales people can give each other advice on what they can do to reach their numbers, rather than sitting around presenting their numbers to other participants. It can feel like the loneliest place when you’re not on top. By organising a discussion on the challenges everyone faces, you can create a really supportive environment in which everyone feels that they’ve got a team of people to lean on when they need advice. This way the group pulls all of its members up together.
The meeting should be owned by the team, not the Sales Manager
As the manager, be part of the conversation, but don’t make yourself the central focus where everyone is directing questions and answers at you. That’s how you create a teacher/student environment. It is best when the team shares the meeting agenda and rotates who is chairing it each week. Working this way gives a real sense of ownership to the team, encouraging more involvement, for everyone’s benefit.
Communicate the goals for the meeting and get feedback on those goals
If your goal isn’t to get a report on the sales pipeline, then what is it? The goal of the sales meeting should be threefold:
- Creating an environment to share and learn from each other as a team,
- Bringing forth and implement new ideas that improve how you and your team sell,
- Creating a supportive sales team environment for your team.
Managers, ask yourselves if you are delivering in these three areas? Ask your team too. Send out a quick survey each month asking them to rate the effectiveness of the sales meetings based on these three things, or chat with them one-on-one to get feedback. Never forget to ask them for ideas on how these meetings can be improved. Their feedback is essential in ensuring that these moments are truly worthwhile for all and ensure that everyone can improve their sales performance.