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Last week we introduced the Sales Coaching Best Practices Series and kicked it off with One-to-One Sales Meetings. Each installment in this mini-series will highlight a high-gain coaching activity that EcSell Institute—a research firm specializing in sales coaching, leadership, and management—has identified through their research as having the greatest impact on a sales rep’s ability and willingness to produce at higher levels.
Today we’re discussing Team Meetings—the time you dedicate each week or month to meet with your sales team (virtually or in person) to drive rep recognition, education, communication, and motivation.
Follow these 4 tips to make sure that your next sales team meeting is as productive as possible.
Keep It Structured
As with one-to-one meetings, you should establish a regular rhythm to your team meetings to emphasize the importance of the event and to make sure everyone is properly prepared and knows what to expect. Make your time together as efficient as possible by getting really tight on your agenda beforehand. While some of the topics will change week to week, your team should know the structure that you’ll be adhering to.
For example, meetings start promptly at 10 AM Monday morning, begin with a recap of the previous week’s action steps, and end not one minute past 11 AM. A strict time frame keeps meetings from being drawn out and pushes the team to stay focused on the most pressing issues.
Make the Meeting Interactive
Sales meetings that force attendees to sit through classroom-style presentations aren’t any fun, and they aren’t very effective at improving performance, either. According to Atlassian, employees spend 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings, and 90% of average meeting goers admit to daydreaming; 73% are doing other work during that time.
Make your team meetings interactive by getting input for the agenda from reps ahead of time (perhaps during one-to-one meetings) and sharing responsibility for meeting leadership. Designate team members as subject matter experts, and allow time for sharing successes.
Encouraging sales team members to share their own best practices not only improves camaraderie and a culture of trust, it benefits the rest of the team as peer-driven info is often seen as more valuable and reliable.
Encourage Open and Honest Dialogue
Most sales leaders claim that they have an open-door policy, but unless you truly create a space and opportunity for reps to feel comfortable expressing frustrations and challenges, the vast majority aren’t going to take advantage. Carve out a dedicated time in your team meeting agenda for reps to share issues and brainstorm solutions.
In his book Traction, Gino Wickman recommends including a time within every meeting for IDS topics (Identify, Discuss, and Solve). It’s not a time for complaining, and reps understand that if they submit an issue it has to be one that they’re willing to work out within the framework of the meeting.
The opportunity helps to increase open communication and reinforce that you have your team’s best interest in mind, and nine times out of ten, addressing one issue will inadvertently solve several others.
Create Value in the Eyes of Your Reps
According to EcSell Institute research, only 20% of reps feel information from team meetings is as beneficial as it could be. The meetings should provide a venue for learning, skill development, and motivation, but if you’re just using them as a communication vehicle to discuss sales numbers and company info your team is less likely to be engaged.
Intentionally include some educational aspect that your team will be able to reap immediate benefit from. If one of your reps needs improvement on a particular skill or topic, have them prepare and deliver a 5 minute presentation at the next team meeting. The research they put in will help them improve their own performance, and the rest of the team will benefit from the presentation. Be sure to follow up with a discussion that details how the rest of the team can apply what they’ve learned to real opportunities.
The key to an effective sales team meeting is to balance discussion around sales numbers with development opportunities in a way that motivates your reps to push themselves towards high performance. Follow the tips above and take advantage of the collaborative coaching opportunities team meetings provide.