Team meetings… just the term itself can elicit a groan from sales reps. It conjures up images of boring powerpoints and a sales manager droning on endlessly about pipeline reports or new product specs. The reps know they’re supposed to be paying attention, but really, they’re just itching to talk to the customer that emailed them ten minutes ago. So, how can a sales manager capture the attention of sales reps that would rather be anywhere else but the meeting? We will explore how team meetings can become engaging, interactive and informative so reps see them as critical to their learning and success.
First, we will examine why team meetings are important to the success of a sales team. Next, we will discuss the most significant reasons why team meetings fail and what you can do differently. Finally, we will talk about specific ways to make your team meetings more effective.
According to EcSell Institute research, reps that rate their managers highly in their ability to coach and help them improve their sales skills also report that their manager is effective at motivating them to sell more. This indicates a relationship between helping a rep improve their sales skills and increased motivation levels, which is why effective team meetings are so important. That is, team meetings provide a great venue for investing in the learning and development of a rep’s skills, which in turn, increases their motivation to sell.
Too often team meetings are seen as just a communication vehicle to discuss sales numbers and share company information. They are usually led solely by the sales manager and rarely create much interaction from reps. All too often they involve one-way communication with a more formal presentation style. Further, there is little shared ownership among the team for facilitating the meeting or for sharing content. In this way, the sales manager really “owns” the effectiveness of the meeting, rather than the whole team. Finally, the meeting agenda also tends to be driven top-down, either by the sales manager or even from higher ups in the organization.
So what can be done different to make team meetings more engaging, developmental and helpful to increasing rep performance?
One of the first things that can be done to improve team meetings is to create more interaction. This doesn’t mean just saving time for questions at the end of a powerpoint presentation. It means sharing information and driving discussion throughout the meeting. Another key idea is to share responsibility for meeting leadership and content. Managers should involve reps in leading different portions of the meeting and give them freedom to share information that is relevant to them. Along this same line, sales managers could also alternate between who creates an agenda for the meeting, with every other meeting involving topics identified by the reps rather than the sales manager. Finally, managers shoul make sure they set aside time each meeting for creating positive relationships among the team. This can be done through giving rep time to discuss ideas or issues, or simply to recognize each other’s successes.
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