Unproductive meetings are an expensive time suck. Self-estimates of meeting productivity by managers range from 33% - 47%. Below are five keys to ensure that your next sales meeting is both efficient and effective.
1. Time – Meetings are a necessary evil and anything that takes away from the time sales reps could be spending on selling will be seen as an inconvenience. Therefore, it’s important to respect the time of your sales team.
Give plenty of advanced notice about when the meeting will take place and what the agenda is. Start the meeting on time and stick as closely to your predetermine agenda as possible. Allow enough time to address each item in your agenda, but also aim to keep the meeting brief.
Send any documents that will be reviewed during the meeting such as new training material in advance so that reps may read it prior to the meeting.
2. Define –Use the beginning of the meeting to set clear and realistic goals for your sales team. Make it known to all attendees what the objectives of the meeting are, to ensure that you are all working toward the same goal.
Here’s an example of a clear objective: “In this meeting, we’ll teach all sales reps to sell our newest product.” Also, define how the success of the meeting will be measured. “We’ll know we have been successful when 90% of our reps make quota within thirty days of the meeting.” Once the goal has been set, keep the meeting laser-focused on it, so that each salesperson knows exactly why they’re there.
3. Disconnect – Studies have shown that the average person can pay attention in a meeting for approximately 20 minutes before becoming fidgety, starting to daydream or working other projects.
Ask your team to turn off their cellphones and answer emails prior to the start of the meeting. To ensure that team members are not browsing the internet, reading texts or drifting off during the meeting, request their undivided attention. Management should lead by example by doing the same.
4. Connect – Now that you are disconnected from the internet and the outside world, allow team members to connect with each other during the course of the meeting.
In a three-year survey of 10,277 U.S. workers from all levels of employment, 97% reported they need conditions that encourage collaboration to do their best work (Hall, 2003).
Encourage questions related to the meeting topic and allow sales reps to voice any concerns. If any problems are brought to the table, allow your sales reps along with management to brainstorm as a team in an effort to find a suitable solution.
5. Review – Don’t announce that the meeting is adjourned until it’s crystal clear what the next steps are. What action items came out of the meeting? Who is responsible for them? What are the deadlines? What are the next steps? Once there’s a plan in place to move forward, send an email to the team outlining the answers to the questions above letting them know who is responsible for each task and when you’ll expect results.
By carefully planning out the agenda and flow of your meeting and making an effort to stick to it, you can maximize the value of your sales team by having them spend less time in meetings and more time selling, thereby increasing your company’s bottom line.