Tick, tick, tick…
The clock’s ticking is a reminder that the weekly sales meeting will soon be over. Among those present, one is constantly looking down at his phone, probably on social media. Another tries to pay attention, but his eyes are glazed over like the donuts in the break room. And one attendant in the back can’t keep nodding off despite the two cups of coffee she had.
Nobody likes pointless meetings, especially team leaders and executives. Meetings that fail to motivate or develop skills, cost hundreds of dollars and set a workplace culture that leads to lower productivity.
The inverse is also true. Effective meetings inspire sales teams to drive company growth. While still costing time and money, the return-on-investment (ROI) of such meetings will be positive.
Here are seven sales meeting ideas that can improve efficiency.
1. Set a Goal for the Sales Meeting
The importance of setting a goal to the meeting is paramount to its success. Another way of approaching this is by asking the question, “What is the purpose of this meeting?”
If the answer is that the weekly sales meeting is just a routine practice, then the effectiveness of it is limited to monotony at best.
Setting an effective goal for the meeting requires a careful analysis of data and an understanding of the team. If the week prior was successful, then the goal for the meeting will be to praise the wins and identify what worked and why. If performance was low, then the goal of the meeting is to identify what went wrong.
Ask questions like these when setting a goal for weekly sales meeting:
- What key performance indicators do we want to improve?
- What changes does the team need to make to drive growth?
- How should the team feel when leaving the meeting?
Remember, every story has a climax, every joke has a punchline, and every meeting has a purpose.
2. Construct a Sales Meeting Agenda
Creating an agenda comes second because the goal of the meeting determines the agenda, and if goals change from week to week so too must the agenda. The agenda should avoid becoming static. Keep sales meeting agendas fluid.
A fluid agenda is one that is flexible and adapts to different challenges and opportunities. For example, if the goal of the meeting is to implement a new sales technique, then the agenda will be comprised mostly of role-play
Just because an agenda is fluid doesn’t mean not preparing in advance. It’s the opposite. Because the agenda is fluid, it requires proper preparation. Think of clay that is easy to mold and shape, but the moment it goes into the kiln it solidifies. Mold and shape the agenda, but once it is sent out to attendants it is solid. This process prevents the meeting from going off track.
3. Plan a Sales Meeting Ice Breaker
Ice breakers are normally reserved for first time greetings, but their purpose is to do the same thing that should happen at the beginning of every meeting. Namely, that it gets everyone talking and builds team unity. While playing name-games is fine for the first couple gatherings, those ice breakers will lose relevancy, so why throw an ice breaker into meetings?
A lot can happen in one week. For example:
- New technology and tools are created to help the sales process
- Current events like new government policies change industries
- New trends within the market change consumer’s focus
- Sales techniques get adapted and modified
And these events, changes, and discoveries reshape team members and their approach to sales. New hires become very different after a year and sometimes just a month is enough for a change. So constantly breaking the ice can become a time of sharing experiences, successes, and ideas that will help company growth.
4. Follow-Up on the Previous Meeting
Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of a weekly meeting is the acknowledgement of the prior week. What good is it to set actionable goals if no one ever returns to them? If the goal the prior week was to implement a new strategy, ask how effective the strategy was.
Following up with team members has a dual function. It helps guide future meetings and reveals how effective the last meeting was. Suppose no one used the new strategy because no one expected to report on its effectiveness. The question can then be asked, “Why did the last meeting not convince anyone to adopt the new strategy?” The answer to such a question can help one know how to improve meetings in the future.
5. Set Action Items for the Week
The end of the meeting should be reserved for goal setting. When it comes to setting goals for the meeting, the result should always have an action tied with it. There are two categories action-centered goals fall into: general and personal.
General goals generally are referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs). These are general and apply to every member of the team. A simple way of goal setting for general goals is to set a standard of excellence across every KPI.
But a one-size fits all approach isn’t focused on individual goal setting. To optimize each meeting, encourage participants to record thoughts and ideas. Create an environment where they will set personal goals in addition to the standards of excellence. Ask participants to send their individual goals to the team leader, and then support them in those initiatives.
6. Avoid Going Over Time
A key element to a successful meeting is timeliness. If a meeting is set for an hour, then the expectation across the board is that the meeting will be one hour. Keeping a meeting from spilling over into extra time can be a challenge at first, especially when there is a lot to cover. But brevity has value.
It can be frustrating for attendants if the meeting goes overtime. They have schedules too, and when their time is respected it fosters a positive working space. Plus, sales never get closed during meetings anyway.
If you struggle to keep the meeting within the proper timeframe, here are a couple hints to help.
- When planning the meeting, plan less. Oftentimes, over preparing means there’s more to cover.
- If there’s more to cover at the end of the meeting, find a good stopping point and set aside time on another day to finish.
7. Encourage Participation
Long monologues aren’t associated with success. An effective meeting is one where all attendants feel invested, and having attendants lead portions of the meeting is a way of fostering that. Simply have someone lead the role-play or take charge when reporting numbers.
One final note, don’t be afraid of silence when asking discussion questions. Silence can be a powerful when trying to encourage participation. It can be used to get attention from participants, and it gives room for them to think. Not every silent moment needs to be filled.
Results to Expect
There is no one perfect way to run a weekly sales meeting, and that is good. This is because creativity breaks monotony. Andy Grove once said, “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure.” This means repeating the same weekly meeting—despite its past success—has declining efficiency. So experiment and throw a little change in to save yourself and coworkers from the drag of inefficient sales meetings.