I guess the answer depends on who you ask. I bet a lot of salespeople reading this are probably saying, “No!” Most of the managers reading this are likely saying, “Of course.” So, who is right? The answer is neither. All of the emotions and principles that underlie each group’s answer are very legitimate. So, when should a sales meeting happen?
Reasons NOT to have a sales meeting:
- To go over performance numbers. No need to bring people together for that. The computer spits that information out easily and usually on demand. If there are performance issues, they are usually individual, so one-on-one conversations are much more effective at increasing performance.
- To exhort the team. I know of an AE whose manager got the team together to tell them he was “@#$%& starving to death!” based on the department’s performance. That may be true, but you can imagine how inspiring that was to the team.
- To disseminate any information that could be covered in an email. Inventory, pricing, new guidelines, changes in HR policy, etc.
- To lecture the group about a problem related to only one or two of them. Talk to those one or two.
Reasons TO have a sales meeting:
- Training — Use the group and their collective expertise to learn from each other and grow their skills.
- Sharing client success stories (not what your company sold, but what you sold for your client) — How have you made a difference in someone’s business this week, and how did you do it? Your people are surrounded by objections and stalls every day, so load them with stories and processes that have proven to be very successful for your clients.
- Brainstorming — Ideas, and lots of them, can come from an engaged group. Follow a process by defining the problem to be solved for the client or prospect first, and then get everyone tossing out ideas—practical ideas AND crazy ideas (which often lead to the best ideas).
- Team building — When people work together on a project or have a common experience they usually gel as a team.
- Recognition — Sales meetings can be great forums for individual or team recognition. Keep it positive. All negative information or emotions can be handled somewhere else.
If you add up the hourly value of everyone who sits in a sales meeting, including yourself, you’ll realize how expensive these meetings are. So, make them productive, uplifting, and focus on group participation, group dynamics, and group process. Your sales meetings will rock!