Salespeople are only spending 35.9% of their time selling. This makes the quality of your sales team meetings critical. We’ve all suffered through boring, poorly-planned meetings. Don’t allow your sales team meetings to fall into that category. Your team meetings should educate, energize, and engage your sales team, not leave them looking at the time and wondering when it will be over.
We know how busy you are. Although planning productive meetings may seem time-consuming, it doesn’t need to be. Here’s 12 ways to fix your unproductive sales team meetings, so you never waste your team members’ time again.
1. Don’t do 1-on-1’s there:
Save individual feedback for one-on-one coaching sessions. This is especially true if improvements need to be discussed. Nobody wants to be singled out. Discussing individual matters leaves the rest of the group listening in, feeling uncomfortable, and becoming bored. Not only that, you run the risk of damaging the critical coach to coachee relationship along with the respect of the team.
2. Share the burden:
Don’t carry the entire planning load alone. Delegate various portions to be planned by a different team member and consider having that rep lead the meeting as well. It’s good practice for them and frees you up to focus on other matters. To do so, be sure that each member of your sales team takes a turn. Be sure to provide them with guidelines and support as well. You don’t want to cut into their valuable selling time much, if at all.
3. Act it out:
Have a segment of each meeting set aside to practice commonly challenging situations, pitches, or responses to common objections. This will help your team get better at handling these scenarios when they actually occur during sales calls.
4. Brainstorm solutions:
Have your reps come to the meeting with difficult situations they’ve encountered during the week. The team should then brainstorm an effective solution to each one. Encourage them to share freely concerning any issues, blockers, or objections they’re experiencing during their day-to-day routine. It can even be a time for them to ask the group for tips to improve productivity as well.
5. Read and discuss:
Get your team members reading the greats. Select a sales-oriented book. Have them read a designated chapter or section prior to each meeting and reserve time to discuss the material. Another variation would be to have your reps take turns sharing a favorite sales blog post or article with the team, summarizing what they learned from reading it. Follow this with a brief period of group discussion.
6. Practice demos:
Demos can have a critical impact on whether prospects advance through the sales process. Including practice time during team meetings is a great way to help reps improve on their presentation skills. Pair them up with a partners or have reps take turns doing demos for the entire team. Be sure to incorporate feedback into this activity to ensure continuous improvement.
7. Share success stories:
Have reps share their recent successes. Be sure they include background info, an explanation of how they generated the results, and why they received the particular outcome. Your team will learn from each other’s experiences. Be sure that everyone has a chance – don’t constantly have the same reps share.
8. Have your stars teach and share best practices:
All of your reps have their strengths. Identify at least one for each team member. Have them take turns teaching the team on best practices and skills that are their strengths. This will not only help team members improve their techniques, it will be another mode of recognition. And who doesn’t like to be recognized?
9. How would you handle this?:
Play a call recording for the group and pause it. Next, have each person in the group say how they would respond to a question posed by a customer during the call. When all have commented, play the rest of the recording to hear how the call actually went. Make sure all reps are on a schedule to have their individual call recordings used in this way. As long as everyone’s on the calendar to share their call, there’s less pressure — and it emphasizes the idea of collaboration even in a competitive sales environment.
10. Bring in guest presenters:
Change things up by inviting guests from other departments or external vendor partners. Have internal guests talk about workings in other areas of the company as they relate to the sales department and external vendor partners may present updated information about new resources available to reps or new products being introduced.
11. Company & Team Transparency:
Take the time to share what’s happening in the company, such as awards and recognition received by industry organizations, changes to internal policies, or improvements to existing products. Be sure to also share dashboards, showing metrics relating to your team’s performance as a whole. This may also include where they stand compared to other sales teams within the company – feeding healthy competition between teams.
12. Take it outside:
Mix it up periodically by taking sales team meetings outside the office. Do a walking meeting instead of one in a conference room. Fresh air and exercise, combined with new ideas, is a great change of pace. Another occasional option may be to treat your team to lunch or coffee offsite and have the meeting at the restaurant or cafe.
Obviously, you won’t be able to incorporate all of these ideas into each sales team meeting. If you want to give them all a try, plan to rotate different elements through your meeting schedule to keep it fresh and interesting. Changing things up will keep your sales team meetings from becoming boring and routine, while improving rep skills and knowledge.