Are your sales meetings productive?  Too many sales meetings are nothing more than a series of updates designed to help the sales manager do their job.

Ultimately, the salespeople in those meetings dread taking time out of their schedule to attend.  Worse yet, they leave such meetings less motivated than before they came. 

Below are 10 secrets to move your sales meetings to the next level:

1. Spend time focused on one key issue.

Don’t try to cover every single issue. If you try to cover everything, you really won’t be digging into the important issues to the degree that you need to. This means you need to control the agenda and the flow. You’re much better off discussing one item well than five items briefly. 

2. Recognize performance.

Salespeople love recognition. Have a process in place that people can look forward to as being their time to shine. Be consistent with recognizing performance. Don’t make it something you get to only if there is time. By being consistent and doing it every meeting, your sales team will look forward to attending.

3. Announce ahead of time the agenda and topics to be covered.

 Make people come prepared and hold them accountable. Just as your people expect you to come prepared to the meeting, so too should you expect them to come prepared.

4. Start on time. End on time.

Salespeople are expected to respect their customer’s time, right? You should do the same with your sales staff. Sales meetings are a reflection of how a good sales call should go. Not starting on time sends a signal to the team that you don’t value their time.

5. Follow up on individual items after the meeting, not during the meeting.

Don’t waste everyone’s time at a meeting by spending precious minutes dealing with one person. Nothing will cause people to check out of a meeting faster than if they see it as nothing more than going around the room and everyone giving updates.

6. Allow for discussion and input.

A sales presentation without input from the customer isn’t much of a sales call. Same goes for a sales meeting. Allow people an opportunity to discuss. As I said earlier, a sales meeting is a reflection of a sales call. Allow for discussion and encourage it.

7. Keep to a minimum the time allocated to supply-chain issues, volume updates, etc.

Salespeople will see meetings that are nothing more than updates as a waste of time.

8. Reach agreement on specific next steps.

Don’t leave things hanging. We ask salespeople to be accurate with how they close a sale to ensure the customer knows what they will and will not be receiving. The same thing goes for how we run a sales meeting.

Be sure to recap for the team via an email, or some other means, what the next steps are for anything decided upon. The sooner you distribute this information, the more salespeople will view it as important.

9. Allocate time at each meeting for a “personal growth/training” activity.

Use the time together as an opportunity to help people improve their selling skills, like a guest speaker or a hands-on activity. 

10. Motivate the team and build culture.

For most salespeople, the sales meeting is their biggest interaction with you and the company as a whole. Make sure they leave with a positive state of mind. Remember, the meeting is for their benefit, not yours.

The most amazing thing of all is that not one of the 10 things are out of reach for any sales manager. There is little reason for any sales meeting to ever be unproductive for you as a sales manager or for the sales team. 

Finally, what is the magic length of a sales meeting?  With rare exception, a weekly or bi-weekly sales meeting should not run more than 75 minutes.

Mark_Hunter_Web_Portrait_27Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter,” is author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price. He is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability. He was named one of the Top 50 Influencers in Sales by Top Sales World.  To receive a free weekly sales tip and read his Sales Motivation Blog, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, on Facebook and on LinkedIn.