by Alan Rigg
If you have a sales team or are considering building one, at some point you will need to figure out how (and whether) you want to conduct group sales team meetings.
This article answers some frequently asked questions about sales team meetings.
How often should sales team meetings be held?
I'm not a big fan of regularly scheduled sales team meetings. I find it boring to go person-by-person and discuss the status of specific opportunities, the percentage each individual is to quota, etc.
It's one thing if a salesperson is doing something unusual or unique in pursuit of an opportunity and sharing what they are doing would constitute a good learning experience for other salespeople. However, I usually find that most discussions concerning individual opportunities are not very enriching for the other sales team members.
My philosophy is I prefer to bring the sales team together on an ad hoc basis when there is something to discuss that would be of benefit to the entire team. This could be for sales training, product training, important announcements, etc.
With that said, if a sales team is more junior, or if you are in the process of changing your sales culture, or if you want to teach all of your salespeople a specific new skill, then regularly scheduled training meetings can make sense. However, if a sales team is more seasoned, or if it has a mix of people with substantially different levels of knowledge and experience, working with salespeople one-on-one tends to be more productive than group meetings.
How often should I meet individually with salespeople?
If a salesperson is achieving or exceeding quota, I like to schedule a weekly, one-hour meeting. The focus of this meeting is to:
Discuss the progress (or lack thereof) of pipeline opportunities
Discuss new opportunities that have been identified
Strategize how to best pursue key opportunities
Often the greatest value a sales manager can add when dealing with a productive salesperson is suggesting creative ideas for advancing opportunities through the sales cycle more quickly.
For salespeople who are NOT achieving quota (including new salespeople), I suggest that management schedule one-hour meetings as frequently as necessary (including daily) to help the salesperson get on track. Going on "buddy calls" also provides great opportunities to observe the salesperson in action. In these cases the focus should be on determining:
The quantity and quality of the salesperson's activities
Whether their activities are producing the desired results
Sources of and solutions for any roadblocks they are running into
When performance issues are identified, conducting repetitive role plays is often the most productive way for management to help the salesperson become more comfortable executing specific skills and approaches properly. As the salesperson becomes more comfortable with, and more effective at executing, key steps in the sales process, meeting frequency can be reduced until you get to a single, scheduled, one-hour meeting each week.
Should members of the marketing team attend sales team meetings?
Absolutely... especially if you are tryng to instill a "one team" mindset.
When hosting a joint meeting that includes both Sales and Marketing representatives, try to focus the meeting agenda on information that will help the members of the two organizations understand each other better and work together more effectively to produce the desired end result (which is usually increased sales, higher profits, etc.). For example:
If marketing is conducting a campaign to generate sales leads, there should be discussion about what constitutes a qualified lead
If marketing would like the sales team to report information to help marketing gauge the effectiveness of a campaign, there should be discussion about:
The information that is being requested
Whether the sales team is the best resource to provide the requested information
Why marketing needs the information
The accountability sales management will ask the salespeople to accept related to providing the requested information
The frequency with which the information needs to be provided
How sales management will inspect to ensure that the necessary information is being provided in a consistent and timely fashion
There could be many other agenda items, but they will generally fit under one of two umbrellas: (1) helping Sales and Marketing understand each other better, and (2) helping Sales and Marketing work together more effectively.
You have probably attended many meetings that did not feel like productive uses of your time. Don't repeat this mistake with your sales team! Be very clear about your desired outcome(s) for each specific meeting. If you keep the desired outcome(s) firmly in mind, it should be relatively easy to determine who should attend each meeting and whether it should be a group or individual meeting.
©2010 Alan Rigg