Don’t just hold a sales meeting because it’s the thing to do.
In this post, I’m going to share some ways to make these meetings effective. Also, you’ll learn how to turn a sales meeting into a revenue generating event.
Consider what you could accomplish by throwing tradition out the window. The results will shock you. It is expensive and time consuming to plan and host a sales meeting. In addition to the hard costs of venue and travel, do you know what it costs you per day to pull a sales rep out of the field? Do you have a plan to ensure that your team walks away with new tools?
Encourage cross selling
Many organizations have several lines of business, but struggle to effectively cross sell. Use the sales meeting as an opportunity to get people talking to individuals outside of their usual comfort zone. Opening the lines of communication is the first step in changing behavior.
Increase awareness of services
Often, the sales team isn’t fully aware of all of the offerings they could be selling. Perhaps, they don’t know how to fit them together into a solution. A sales meeting is the perfect opportunity to conduct cross-functional team solution workshops to fill the knowledge gap.
Provide tools to effectively sell
With the digital age, many of us have become lazy communicators. We assume that popping a few docs onto SharePoint and sending an email means our team is informed. WRONG! Your team receives hundreds, if not thousands, of messages each day. Sales meetings are a great time to launch new selling tools.
Develop relationships between technical and sales teams
Sales people don’t like surprises. So, once they find a pre-sales engineer that is knowledgeable and they trust, they will leverage that individual whenever they need a resource. A sales meeting is the perfect platform to help your sales team realize that your technical bench is deep.
Set some measurable objectives that you could achieve with an optimized sales meeting.
A sales meeting is one of the most powerful tools you have in your arsenal. You’ve got your whole team in one place and focused. Make sure you set yourself up for success by defining what success means. Here are a few things you could measure. Leave us a comment with other ideas you have.
- Increase sales of a particular service by some percentage by the next sales meeting
- Increase the number of clients subscribing to more than one service by some percentage by the next sales meeting
- Improve the close rate from X to Y by the next sales meeting
I can’t say it enough – this meeting is your opportunity to change behavior. By establishing measurable objectives and rallying your team around them, you are setting the stage for mindful behavior from your team. Don’t forget to have a follow up communications plan to keep these objectives top of mind. Contests can be a fun way to inspire some friendly competition and drive amazing results.
A Sales Meeting Program From My Playbook
Here it is… the secret sauce. The program I am about to describe was one of the most well-received and effective sales meeting events I have run. Before you cast this idea aside as insane, hear me out. This approach got people talking, asking the hard questions, thinking out of the box and challenging each other. It created an energy that could not be ignored. Don’t get me wrong, this is going to take a lot of planning and prep, but the benefits far outweigh the the effort.
I created a speed dating event where our salespeople got to ‘meet’ the services we offered. Here’s how it worked, each practice area was provided with a tabletop. At that table, they had all of their latest collateral ranging from battle cards, competitive information, data sheets and white papers. They also had a monitor so they could show their latest pitch deck or video.
The sales team were divided into small groups of 3-5 reps. When the first bell sounded, they were directed to the first table. A subject matter expert launched into an introduction of the offering. Following the presentation, sales was allowed time to dig in and ask questions. Each table had a feedback sheet where the questions and comments were collected. We later used these to improve our materials. The sales team spent 15 minutes with each service leader before moving to the next one. The time crunch created an urgency and forced everyone to be fully engaged. By the end of the meeting, we had collected valuable feedback from the sales team. We also had established a solid foundation for ongoing engagement and communication across our team.
To keep the momentum alive after the meeting, we provided a central repository where all of the materials were easily accessible. We also invited SMEs from the consulting team to join our weekly sales call to provide further updates. Lastly, launched a demand generation campaign to start feeding leads to the team so they could use their new skills. The net result was a 40% overall increase in consulting revenue over the prior year.
In summary, this approach takes a great deal of upfront planning and preparation. However, when you consider the cost of a sales meeting, this is a wise investment.
Benefits of this approach:
True collaboration – Sales and technical teams are working together to advance the offerings.
Service maturity – Through the process of preparation and then receiving valuable feedback from sales.
Effective collateral – You now have updated and highly relevant collateral that sales buys into
Competitive Intel – In smaller organizations, it’s tough to collect this type of information. Bringing everyone together can unearth a goldmine of knowledge.
Case studies – During the sharing process, case studies and stories emerge
Elevator pitch refined – Practicing the elevator pitch on a tough audience results in a well-tested and effective pitch.
Feedback Loop – By making the sales meeting a place where everyone has a voice, you open the floodgates to learn from management, sales, marketing and key customers.
Sales is ready to sell
After this event, the sales team has received a briefing on each service which includes value proposition, differentiators, key customers, elevator pitch. They are armed with the latest data sheets, presentations, white papers and videos.
You hit your numbers:
Instead of focusing on updates that could be presented during routine status calls or hiring expensive motivational speakers that create temporary excitement, the speed-dating program delivers lasting impact by placing the goal of achieving sales front and center. It rallies the team around a cause and sets the stage for collaborative work toward those goals. It extends far beyond the boundaries of a 2 day sales meeting – it requires weeks of planning and preparation. And, the follow up plans can extend for months beyond.
I’ve always included a monthly “Deconstructing a Deal” webinar after these types of events. The purpose is to celebrate and learn from key wins and to analyze key losses. This ongoing flow of communication helps keep valuable information flowing into the organization to help guide decisions about service and product development, pricing and sales approach.
If you’re going to bring your sales team in for a meeting, why not make it one that will deliver extreme value?