7 tips for running effective meetings to energize your sales team

There’s a great quote from Thomas Kayser, the organizational effectiveness consultant and author, that says:

A meeting is an interaction where the unwilling, selected from the uninformed, led by the unsuitable, to discuss the unnecessary, are required to write a report about the unimportant.

If this sounds how your salespeople view team meetings, it is clear your meetings are not achieving what they should. In fact, it’s likely that they are counter-productive. Instead of being influencing and engaging, your team meetings could be demoralising, and seen as a waste of time during which nothing is achieved.

These tips for running effective meetings should help re-energize your get-togethers and give them a new sense of purpose to your sales team.

The damage that ineffective meetings do

Meetings are essential. Effective meetings serve to motivate sales teams, foster collaboration, exchange information, and share best practices. However, when they are run poorly, individuals, teams, and organizations suffer:

  • A 2012 study by Kauffeld and Lehmann-Willenbrock, ‘Meetings Matter: Effects of Team Meetings on Team and Organizational Success’, found that poor meetings during which topics wandered and participants complained and criticized were directly connected to lower market shares, less innovation, and lower staff retention.
  • A study by Steven G. Rogelberg of the University of North Carolina showed that ineffective meetings correlated with job dissatisfaction, and 71% of managers said meetings were ineffective.

Why are meetings ineffective?

With nearly three quarters of managers believing that meetings are ineffective, it is wise to consider why. Here are seven reasons why meetings may fail to achieve their objectives:

  1. Participation is not encouraged
  2. Conflict is allowed to take over
  3. No action points agreed
  4. The meeting meanders off agenda
  5. Poor time management
  6. ‘Sub-meetings’ blossom
  7. Lack of motivational messages

Do sales teams really need meetings?

If so many meetings are ineffective, perhaps you shouldn’t have meetings. Yet, they are considered essential, and quite rightly so. They should enable you to:

  • Communicate important messages to the sales team
  • Instil the desired sales culture, reinforcing the team spirit and increasing inclusivity in a team whose members often work remotely
  • Confirm targets and performance, helping to identify what is going well and what needs attention
  • Develop skills and share best practices
  • Motivate and engage the sales team in shared goals
  • Create synergy and common thinking

Lofty ambitions, but which should all be achievable in well-led meetings.

7 tips for running effective meetings

The benefits of running effective team meetings are very real. In a study published in the Harvard Business Review, July/August 2017, it was found that a new approach to team meetings showed:

  • A 42% improvement in team collaboration
  • A 32% increase in willingness to express opinions
  • A 28% improvement in team performance
  • An increase in work/life satisfaction from 62% to 92%

These tips for running effective meetings could help you achieve similar improvement.

1.     Be consistent

Hold meetings at the same time of the same day of the week or month. Help your sales team plan their diaries more effectively, and be certain of participation.

2.     Keep to a set agenda

Let people know what to expect and what is expected of them by keeping to a set agenda. What you should expect to be reported from team members is sales update, sales pipeline, and activity. Your team will have no excuse to come to the meeting ill-prepared.

You should make time to discuss company news and update on your markets and products. Finally, any items to be discussed that are not on the regular agenda should be added to ‘any other business’.

3.     Encourage participation to foster team spirit

Let people know that they are expected to participate, and during the meeting ensure that people are listened to – and this includes by you. Encourage discussion of ideas, and engage the team in finding solutions to specific issues and problems raised.

4.     Ensure that the meeting delivers a positive outcome

When preparing the agenda for the meeting, make sure that it includes at least one item that will help the sales team work smarter and deliver on their goals: sales. This could be something from highlighting a new feature of a product to addressing a recurring concern of clients, or an online article that describes a new industry trend.

5.     Discuss current best practices

What is it that your best salespeople are doing that could help underperformers? What is your best-performing product or service, and are there synergies with other products that could be exploited further?

6.     Include a team activity

Include a team activity in the meeting. This could be a brainstorming session, a role play sales meeting, or a team building activity to energize communication. Something that engages the team to work together.

7.     Keep the meeting time-limited

Ensure your meeting is highly focused and people stay on point by limiting duration of the meeting and each subject discussion. Ask of every item in ‘any other business’, “Does this need to be included, and does it add value?” and make sure that individual updates are kept concise and precise.

When time is limited and your team know that the meeting won’t overrun, and they know that they will get something from the meeting, they are likely to be more focused, participate more willingly, and leave the meeting more energized.

Contact us today, and discover how we could help sales team managers construct meetings that hit their targets and help their salespeople do the same.

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