Even before the virus hit, we witnessed many leaders struggle to have engaging sales meetings that actually improved sales. Now with most sales teams operating remotely, the situation likely hasn’t improved. Working apart, it’s easy to let these meetings slide and not conduct them at all, or just slip into bad habits and have boring, time-wasting ones. So here are ten suggestions to help sales leaders effortlessly conduct better remote sales meetings. And many of these principles can be applied when everyone is back together.
- Cameras on. Everyone – no excuses. Since there is no longer “water cooler” conversation it is imperative that the team interact personally. Here are tips for better video conferencing.
- Keep it short. Shorter than a live meeting is better. Keep conversation to the point and fast-paced.
- Eliminate product talk. Do NOT allow your meeting to be hi-jacked by products or manufacturers. Sure, you can schedule product training just not during sales meetings. The sales meeting is a sacred place to help the team improve. If done well, people will want to come to the meeting because they are better for it (not because it gets them away from making cold calls or work in general).
- Focus on “team think.” It should be a safe place where everyone can bring a deal that they need help with. Allow individuals to tell about an opportunity that they are stuck on or didn’t go as well as they had hoped. Use a timer to limit their explanation time. Request feedback. You, as the leader may have to call on the first person to provide input (see the next tip). Vote on the best course of action, get a commitment from the individual who brought up the stuck opportunity and move on.
- Choose the first to contribute. Whenever soliciting feedback from multiple people, if a volunteer does not speak up, you may need to select someone. But from then on, whoever spoke picks the next participant or volunteer.
- Use this time as practice time. Start by saying “What would you say if a prospect/customer said (fill in the blank)?” Pick from common objections. Ask for the first volunteer (then they pick the next volunteer, etc.). It doesn’t hurt to have individuals vote on the best response. Give kudos. Virtual high-fives. Or even award the next good lead that comes in.
- Use voting, polling, surveying. Keep people engaged by getting their feedback. This approach is especially useful if you have a team larger than eight people where it might be hard to call on everyone. Voting can occur via chat functions, with annotations if you are showing slides or can even work by having people hold up fingers on the screen.
- Assign something before the meeting. When scheduling the meeting, or even better, at the end of the previous one, ask everyone to bring something of value, like their favorite book on sales and why, their favorite quote and why; or you can have a specific task that everyone has to complete such as write your best email introduction to XYZ product or best voicemail message. Then have everyone share. Finally, vote and reward.
- Drill down into your sales process each week. For instance, look at a cold call or a follow up to a qualified lead. Explore questions to ask to find out how compelling it is for the prospect to do something or ones on how they will make their decision. Whatever your process is, break it down into a multi-week series and go deep on a single topic each week. Have everyone come prepared to ask questions about the topic, give suggestions, and be willing to share. You could even ask team members to facilitate each meeting, rotating who is responsible.
- Above all else, be focused and consistent. Center on items that will help the team be energized and sell. Same time, same day, every week.
If you are not doing a group sales team meeting weekly. Do it. If you have some people who monopolize the meeting, ask them separately to encourage others to participate. The tone must be one of everyone helping everyone. And it MUST be a place where everyone feels like they can be vulnerable.
Finally, remember these items (other than maybe the camera) work for in-person sales meetings as well. But you must also remember that sales meetings do not replace one-on-one coaching sessions. You must conduct those on a regular basis as well. Sales meetings are for group think and camaraderie as your team prepares to do battle. One-on-one coaching sessions are for you to help an individual raise their game where necessary for them to be their best.
I’d love to know your sales meeting suggestions, too. Please share any other tips that have helped you conduct more engaging sales meetings remotely or in-person in the comments or email me.