When businesses first went remote back in March, it was unclear if the transition would yield similar results to in-person work. But here we are now, eight months later, and many sales teams have been able to acclimate to working virtually.
But typical sales team issues were also able to transfer over from in-person to remote work, like the common occurrence of boring or unproductive meetings.
We’ve interviewed hundreds of sales managers over the years, and one of their biggest complaints is that team meetings are frustrating, monotonous, and ineffective. Some even wonder: should the sales teams just stop meeting altogether?
Instead of avoiding meetings with your sales team, use these 5 strategies to rescue your team from having meetings that feel valueless, and learn to make the most of your time together.
5 Strategies to Fix Sales Team Meetings:
1. Monotonous meetings are always led by the same person. Interesting meetings allow others to lead.
Set up a rotating facilitator schedule. Doing so will provide two immediate results: meetings will have a different atmosphere set by the facilitator, and team members will gain experience in leadership.
Plus, the team will have the opportunity to learn directly from one another if they are exposed to different leadership styles.
Lastly, since each person will take a turn facilitating, it's likely the team will be more engaged and tuned in to meetings knowing that their turn to lead is coming up in the future.
2. Frustrating meetings provide no avenue for interaction. Empowering meetings are highly interactive.
A ninety minute monologue on what’s going on in sales will almost always lose your participant's interest. But group discussions and brainstorming sessions are key to a successful sales meeting.
Encourage folks to speak up, offer feedback, or ask questions. This might be the only time in a week the whole sales team is together, so make the most of it! Think quality over quantity, and take advantage of the combined knowledge of all participants.
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3. Boring meetings cover information that is irrelevant to most participants. Fascinating meetings are focused and useful for everyone.
Are you marching down a list of all open opportunities and asking each sales rep to provide an update? If you have less than 8 opportunities, that might be okay. But any more than that, and every other sales rep will have their eyes glazed over.
In person, you might have been able to do stand-up meetings. But virtually, it can be a real challenge to keep people's attention. Be conscious of not wasting your team's time. Schedule individual check-ins to review most opportunities, and then only discuss key opportunities or ones in which you want the team’s input during the bigger gatherings.
4. Ineffective meetings look back. Motivating meetings look forward.
While it’s important to cover sales results in team meetings, that shouldn’t be the key purpose of the meeting. Instead, quickly review the numbers, then discuss what you can learn from them.
For example: if you exceeded your goals, it will probably be more of the same activity. If you fell short, you can decide what to do differently.
This is also a great time to set a key goal for the team in the coming week. Understanding what your team is capable of and knowing what you know now, what is your next objective?
5. Unproductive meetings only cover news and numbers. Informative meetings take time for skills improvement.
Sales and product training shouldn’t only happen at the annual retreat. As a sales manager, you should always be looking to better yourself and your team. Use these meetings to do just that. Take 10 or 15 minutes to spice things up with an activity of some sort.
Here are 3 examples of activities:
- Try having everyone read an article or watch a video beforehand, then discuss what they learned at the top of meeting.
- Ask everyone to share or reflect on lessons they learned in the past month.
- Bring in an outside speaker to lead a training or interactive discussion with the team.
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Remember, the brain craves novelty.
Get creative with your meeting leadership and style, and use everyone's time wisely. We guarantee you will be able to get more out of your team than you ever thought you could.
We love to hear from our readers! What are your best practices for sales meetings? Or alternatively, what are your horror stories from poorly led meetings?