Sales meetings are a special type of meeting. Because of the close connection between your customers and your salespeople, sales meetings help to close the gap between your company and your customers. Consequently, the time and energy spent on a good sales meeting is worth the effort. Of course the time and energy spent on an unproductive sales meeting is a terrible waste of resources, so prepare wisely.
There are at least four good reasons to hold regular sales meetings.
- To train — The constant improvement that we have spoken about so many times before must find its way into your sales department. One quick and simple way to do this is to incorporate mini-training sessions into your sales meetings. For example, if your company sells a wide variety of specialty items, you might review the features of a new product at each meeting. Another idea is to offer sales tips at each meeting.
How might you incorporate training into your sales meetings?
- To inspire — We all need motivating occasionally, but the department with the greatest need in this area is sales. Your salespeople hear “no” more often than any of your other employees, so replenish them with positive feedback, enticing challenges and motivational support as often as possible. You can do this by sharing success stories, for example.
How might you incorporate inspiration into your sales meetings?
- To inform — Keep your salespeople up-to-date concerning company direction, new product developments, and so forth. Your salespeople are your direct link to your customers, so if your salespeople are in the dark, your customers will be too.
It is also important to remember that the number one complaint employees have about their work is that they are uninformed about company plans. When employees feel out of the information loop, they feel unimportant and consequently unappreciated. Keeping your employees in the dark is a slippery slope to unhappy employees.
What information should you share with your salespeople on a regular basis?
- To learn — This point is two-fold. You need to learn about the needs of your customers and you need to learn about the needs of your salespeople. Your salespeople know your customers better than anyone else in your company, so ask, listen, and learn everything you can. Your salespeople are your direct link to your customers.
This is also the time to gather information on how you can better service your salespeople. Do they need more administrative support, improved marketing materials, more training or an improved compensation structure? Sometimes a small adjustment is all it takes to make a big difference.
What questions should you ask about the needs of your customers?
What questions should you ask about the needs of your salespeople?
How often should you hold sales meetings? Weekly? Biweekly? Monthly? Quarterly? When it comes to sales meetings, it is usually better to hold more frequent, shorter meetings than less frequent, longer meetings. This is especially true if your sales force could benefit from ongoing inspiration and motivation.
If your company is spread out or if your sales force is large, however, it may not be appropriate to bring all of your salespeople together on a regular basis. In this case there are a number of alternatives. For example, sales meetings could be held on a telephone conference call, or via the Internet. Another option is to hold regular departmental meetings combined with less frequent company wide meetings. Alternatively, you might hold more than one meeting at different times of the day or week.
Neglect your salespeople and you neglect your customers.
Using your answers to the previous questions, design a Sales Meeting System. Remember to include a schedule and a sales meeting agenda template. For more information on meetings in general, see Management: People.