Sales managers, I have some bad news for you.
Your salespeople probably don't like sales team meetings. They find them boring and unproductive.
Wait – you’re not surprised? Is that because you agree with them?
In speaking with hundreds of salespeople and sales managers over the years, we’ve discovered that just about all of them dislike sales team meetings. Salespeople think they’re a waste of time, and managers don’t know what to include and are frustrated by the sales team’s attitudes.
Here are five strategies to make these meetings less boring.
1. Focus on overall goals, not individual performance.
In interviews and surveys, the single most hated part of sales team meetings is the tedious march down the list of opportunities. The format people dislike the most is marching down a list and having each person share what they’re working on.
People without much in the pipeline may be embarrassed about it, and may even make things up to sound busier than they are. And once a salesperson has shared his list he often tunes out for the rest of the exercise.
Instead, keep those discussions in one-on-one meetings. Use the time you have together as a group to focus on key strategic goals. Don’t just announce strategic initiatives – instead, work with your team to develop strategies that will allow you to reach your goals. Then make sure you consistently report on progress and adjust your strategy accordingly. Reporting shouldn’t just happen at the end of a quarter!
2. Work together as a team to brainstorm solutions.
This isn’t to say that you should never discuss opportunities in sales meetings! Take the opportunity you have with the whole team’s presence to brainstorm solutions to sales challenges.
Did someone run into an objection she’d never heard before? Has a customer requested a solution that seems impossible or misguided? Has a hot opportunity gone radio silent?
Work as a team to share ideas for solutions, and make sure you check back in the next week’s meeting to see how they worked.
Consider bringing other departments in for this portion of the meeting. A client of ours offered to have a marketing resource participate for 30 minutes in each week’s meeting, and the sales team welcomed the opportunity to work together to develop custom solutions. Asking operations or product teams to be involved can also help to fast-track solutions to opportunity roadblocks.
3. Include sales and product training.
Rather than confining training to major events, make skills improvement and product training a regular part of your interaction with the team. Your sales meetings are a great opportunity!
Take 10-15 minutes every week to review a training topic, introduce a new concept, or role practice. Include outside resources and other departments as well.
Check out our post here with 6 ideas for including sales training in your sales team meetings.
4. Allow the sales team to take the lead.
As a sales manager, you shouldn’t be the one doing all, or even most, of the talking in your sales team meetings. Foster as much interaction as possible throughout the meeting, and provide specific opportunities for your salespeople to take the lead.
For example, you shouldn’t always be responsible for sales training. Assign your salespeople to lead that portion of the meeting in specific weeks, then give them free rein. You’ll be surprised by what they share!
Provide your team an opportunity throughout the week to suggest topics for the next sales team meeting. Maybe they want to deep dive into a product, hear from another resource on the team, or discuss an operational challenge. When appropriate, offer to have them facilitate that portion of the meeting.
5. Recognize achievements.
Year-end awards ceremonies are always fun, and accolades for hitting targets are important, but many smaller achievements can be overlooked. Did a new hire schedule his first meeting? Did someone exceed her activity goals? Did you notice someone on the team provide excellent support to a colleague?
Take the opportunity to recognize these achievements every week. You can even ask your team to acknowledge each other – either go around the room and ask each person to recognize an achievement they saw in the past week, or ask people to randomly speak up and share.
What have you done to make your sales team meetings less boring? We’d love it if you would try these strategies and leave your feedback in the comments.