Running a great sales team meeting is at the center of your responsibilities as powerful sales leader. It’s one of your most visible and influential tools available, with eyes on you from all directions being impacted. So, what’s the secret to running a sales meeting that inspires your front-line and impresses C-level at the same time? That’s exactly what this article will cover.
Sales Meeting Themes
Before we can look at actual meeting ideas, we first need to establish some best practices around how you should run your sales team meetings. The three methods that should be consistent across all of your various meetings should be positive reinforcement, team building, and dynamic tactics.
1) Positive reinforcement
“Positive reinforcement is the most important and most widely applied principle of behavior analysis”
– Cooper, Heron and Heward
It’s important to understand the differences between these types of reinforcements and punishments. It’s easy to become misconstrue the type of behavioral conditioning you are intending to use with the type of behavioral conditioning you are actually using. The 4 types of behavior conditioning in psychology are:
Positive Punishment – Adding something bad when something bad happens
Negative Punishment – Taking away something good when something bad happens
Positive Reinforcement – Adding something good when something good happens
Negative Reinforcement – Removing something bad when something good happens
For sales meetings, you can most effectively motivate your team by using positive reinforcement in the form of verbal praise. When recapping, recognize the positive work your team is doing and highlight it. Anything that you would like to see more of in the form of results or practices is great to point out. This is the most widely effective technique that will generate the motivational response that you intend in your sales team.
During discussion topics, positively reward engaged discussion. When people are contributing reinforce their behavior by engaging, exploring the idea, and praising the contribution.
2) Team Engagement
As a sales manager, one of the most impactful things you can do is promote a team centered environment. Although the difficulty of this task will vary depending on the group of individuals that you have, it always starts in team meetings. It’s the one place you always have the whole team together consistently so think of it as being in the locker room before the big game. Your responsibility as a coach is to prepare your team to perform at their maximum potential but ultimately once they head out on the field, they are the ones that need bring home the win. Make it known that you view your sales team like a team and use the time you have with them together to promote this atmosphere. In doing so, you’ll performance grow across the board and natural leaders will emerge to support the rest of the team.
You can help build a team-centered atmosphere by giving them responsibilities to complete as a team such as meeting ideas, optimizing the sales process, and competing against other teams in friendly competition.
3) Dynamic approach to meetings
Doing the same thing over and over again will always result in diminishing returns. At the same time, there are certain things that need to be done over and over again because they work. So how do you get your cake and eat it too? The answer is to take consistently fresh approaches to the same important activities. Change things up, use a different structure, even move the furniture around every so often. It doesn’t have to be different every time, but never let it go without change for more than a couple months max. This will go a long way to keeping your team engaged.
Sales Meeting Ideas
Keeping the methods above in mind, here are some meeting ideas that we have seen tremendous success with.
- Efficiency and Effectiveness
A great meeting idea is a critical discussion with your sales team about the difference between sales productivity and sales efficiency. Allow for some open responses and discussion to start things off. Then you can move into some guided interpretations to move the conversation to the next stage.
What is Sales Efficiency?
Sales efficiency comes down to the amount of resources (both time and money) that are spent achieving the set sales goals. For example, how long does it take to get a prospect to the first demo meeting? How many calls and emails did it take? Analyzing efficiency challenges us to make the most of our day.
What is Sales Effectiveness?
Are you doing the right things to achieve your sales goal and targeted revenue? Sales effectiveness can really be broken down into the success rate of your sales goals. Perhaps 5 phone calls and 2 emails are more effective than 3 phone calls. Perhaps 4 calls with a certain talking point is more effective than 6 phone calls without it.
So how do the two compare? Ask your team if they ever consider the difference between these two concepts in their own performance and daily resource allocation. Ask them to take a look at their own day-to-day and come up a translation into the current sales process and how they might make a suggestion to improve the sales process with these perspectives in mind. As an added bonus, here is a checklist to help you improve your team’s effectiveness:
- Availability of right tailored content at the right time
- Consistently improving the sales process by setting different goals
- Feeding data insights into the process
- Providing training to strike effective conversation with stakeholders
- Analytics vs Analysis
This next meeting idea is another discussion topic design to get your team engaged in critical thinking. Ask them what they think the difference is between analytics and analysis and don’t confirm any responses for the first few minutes. Just keep allowing different responses and open discussion.
A great discussion trick is to purposefully withhold validation of people’s responses. This subconsciously causes the people in the room to interpret that more discussion is needed or they should reconsider the response that was given. After you have gotten some good responses, you can jump in and give your thoughts.
Analytics: Analytics is about applying a mechanical or algorithmic process to derive insight
Analysis: Analysis is the heuristic activity used to gain insight
To simplify, analytics is the process of how you set yourself up to perform analysis. Ask your team to come up with examples of these two concepts in the current sales process. Do they track something specific that is used later to make analysis?
The end goal of this meeting is to drive critical thought around the important of CRM health which is used to fuel the analysis of the sales process.
- NFL Playoff Probabilities
This one is a fun take on a forecasting meeting that was a huge hit for us internally. We challenged our sales team to come up with a method of forecasting the NFL teams that will make the playoffs. We gave them about 30 minutes to come up with their answer and let them lead the discussions internally with minimal guidance from leadership. There was a great team atmosphere with heavy engagement that emerged and after they came up with their response, we spent time critically thinking about their strategies around both the forecasting model and the problem solving/role allocation they naturally used. To tie it all together, we wrapped up the discussion by discussing forecasting within our sales process and how we thought it compared.
We then kept a record of the results on a board and tracked the progress throughout the rest of the season, which continuously gave opportunities for team comradery and discussion.
Putting Your Meeting Together
Combining all these knowledge points together with flawless execution may seem like a daunting task, in fact it most certainly is, but it’s certainly within reasonable reach. What is most significant for improvement is consistency. Stay dedicated to important concepts such as positive reinforcement and strive for dynamic sales meetings that inspire critical thought. You will see results immediately, but they are nothing compared to the results you will see if you stay committed to maximizing the value of your sales meeting time over the long term.
If you found these meeting tips and ideas helpful make sure you check out our other article on team meeting ideas that inspire and motivate your sales team and subscribe to our blog or check back next week. We are dedicated to providing consistent content that helps sales leadership maximize the performance of their team, themselves included. Best of luck with your next meeting!