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Marijane Milton

Do Your Sales Meetings Inspire?

10-4-2013

The average sales manager runs more than 50 sales meetings a year. Thats one a week, assuming you get to go somewhere else for two weeks a year (likely nonconsecutively). Some clusters have multiple meetings weekly training meetings, sales meetings, forecast meetings, etc. Lets focus on the primary sales meeting, the time you gather with your sales team to strategize about the week ahead.

The best sales meetings are planned. But planned can be a scary word. Youre already time-starved. How will you carve out time to plan a meeting on top of everything else? The secret is in the structure.

Consider this: If your sales meetings follow the same general structure week after week, its a snap for you and the people around you to fill those slots with meaningful, relevant content that resonates with the sales team. Heres a sample.

1. Meeting opener. Quickly around the table, everyone shares the greatest business success they had last week. Keep in mind, a great success for a trainee can be very different than for a seasoned AE, and both can be worthy.
2. Urgent information that is too important for an e-mail. That is your filter. Content that goes here is not about where we are, how many orders each AE will bring in this week (when has that ever worked?), monitoring
reports (kill me now), etc. You know what I mean. The purpose of a sales meeting is not to fill 45 minutes (max) with info. Its to ensure your people leave the meeting feeling better about themselves and their jobs than they
did coming in.
3. Training component. This is the easiest part, yet many managers see it as the most difficult. Across America this week there will be thousands of sales meetings, with tens of thousands of handouts that are meaningless, poorly
explained, and unnecessary.

Think about whats on your plate. For example, business development likely the biggest part of everyones plate. You can talk about it, pass out new one-sheets, and remind AEs about the amazing concert/event/fair/festival we are all responsible for selling packages for. Or you can make this a fun, relevant, memorable training event that will actually change behavior, while lasting about 12 minutes.

Consider using the same one-sheets (if theyre really good one-sheets) and having AEs practice presenting them to each other. Then choose some people at random to present to the entire group (be nice, ask for volunteers first). Or take the one-sheets and put the AEs in teams of two and have each team come up with 30 potential target accounts (or categories) in four minutes create a master list and assign categories. You see where Im going here. Your feedback should be positive and encouraging, and at no time should you have fun at someones expense when you do that, youve lost the room. (Trust me. Ive done dinner theater.) Assign followup accordingly. And remember, adults learn by doing.

4. Meeting wrap/recognition. Take a few minutes to recognize the exceptional performances from the week before. Offer a few details. And remember, its not only about the biggest order, its also about the biggest gains, the hardest gets, the creative solution, etc. Focus on behavior that reinforces your best practices. Dont forget team efforts. And dont recognize what isnt there.

So take a few minutes and jot out on a piece of paper or e-mail yourself a suggested agenda for your next meeting. The first couple of times will be a little hard, but it will get easier. As your structure becomes familiar to your team, they will offer suggestions, and you should be open to that. Better yet, ask your team what they would like to have covered in sales meetings. They likely have some great ideas. And if your sales meetings already include components like these and your people leave feeling better about what they do than they did coming in, fantastic. That will help send them out the door in a confident, focused mood, and that will be infectious.

P.S. A group head I worked for years ago asked me one time why my sales meetings were on Tuesdays. I replied that Mondays were so busy, everyones been gone, blah, blah, blah, and he said, Oh. I guess I thought youd have them on Mondays so we start the week out right unless you want a four-day work week. Point taken. Ive kept sales meetings on Mondays ever since. If yours arent, think about what he said, and apply it to your situation.

Marijane Milton is international director of revenue innovation and training at MBMI. She worked at Entercom for 11 years as its vice president of training and development prior to joining MBMI. Reach her at mmilton@multibrandmedia.com.




(12/14/2013 4:54:30 PM)
NfmuRq I cannot thank you enough for the article.Really thank you! Really Great.

- NY
(11/18/2013 5:42:48 PM)
upreYj I appreciate you sharing this article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

- NY
(10/24/2013 4:54:15 AM)
jPhQxv Thanks for the post. Awesome.

- NY

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