This article originally appeared in the January 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.
Sales meetings are miserable. In reality, they aren’t much different than most internal company meetings; however, the experience is worse because sales meetings are full of salespeople. If you have the right ones, their nature is to be out in front of people, competing, and winning business – not on a web call or in a conference room talking about pipeline and forecasts.
It doesn’t have to be this way; in fact, sales meetings can be positive events that your team looks forward to. Here are four ideas that will help you conduct amazing sales meetings:
1. Don’t assume you have to hold weekly meetings. One of the most common challenges I hear from sales leaders is that they do not have enough material to fill a sales meeting every week. If that is the case, then hold meetings every other week.
Depending on how you run one-on-one meetings, you could even drop sales team meetings back to monthly. Believe it or not, your salespeople will look forward to getting together if the meetings are less frequent.
You might be thinking: “But I have to update our pipeline every week!” This is where the second secret comes into play.
2. Perform pipeline or forecast discussions in one-to-one meetings. The next time you are in a team sales meeting where individual opportunities are being discussed, look around the table. Everyone except the salesperson reporting is completely disengaged. An argument can be made that there is value in this exercise because others can give input on the opportunities – helping overcome obstacles or objections. This is true, but it rarely happens.
When pipeline discussion is a routine, the other salespeople tend to doze off and focus on their day. Do most – if not all – pipeline or forecast work in one-on-one meetings with each salesperson. It is acceptable to spend 10 minutes on two or three strategic opportunities that need assistance in a team setting, but the bulk of pipeline or forecasting conversations need to be one-on-one.
3. Send discussion topics the day before the meeting. One of the most valuable assets of a team sales meeting is the aggregate knowledge in the room. A sales leader should brainstorm and solve problems or prepare for obstacles in a team meeting. The leader should literally roll up their sleeves and be working on a white board most of the time; however, don’t expect your salespeople to have answers immediately upon being asked.
Send a list of discussion topics the day before the meeting and ask them to be prepared to offer input. If you send it sooner, then also send a reminder the day before and a further reminder by text message to look in their inboxes.
4. Always end on time and give a five-minute warning. The most common complaint I hear about team sales meetings is that they never end on time. As the leader, your job is to make sure the team is out of there before the proposed ending time.
You will be happy to see their enthusiasm increase as they begin to trust that you will be done on time. One method of enhancing this best practice is to set an alarm for five minutes before the scheduled ending. Everyone will know that you are serious about their time, and you will be able to wrap up the action items and parting discussion points in the last few minutes.
Regarding total time allowed, I suggest 90 minutes for monthly meetings and 60 minutes for bi-weekly meetings.
Chris Peterson is the founder and president of Vector Firm (www.vectorfirm.com), a sales consulting and training company built specifically for the security industry. Use "Security Business" as a coupon code to receive a 10% lifetime discount at www.vectorfirmacademy.com. To request more info about the company, visit www.securityinfowatch.com/12361573.