Jill Myrick is a sales consultant whose blog is focused on helping sales leaders run productive sales meetings, among other things. She is a Co-Owner of Meeting to Win, LLC, a weekly sales team meeting agenda service that provides powerful sales team meeting topics to energize Monday morning sales team meetings. I interviewed Jill this week.
Dave Stein: Sales meetings are generally seen as a waste of time by salespeople. Why is it about the meetings that cause that reaction?
Jill Myrick: Here are the reasons many salespeople dread their weekly, typically Monday morning, sales team meeting: In many cases, it is boring and lacks information that will equip them to compete and win that week. It lacks any real preparation and, therefore, ends up being a data dump, a review of the numbers or a recap of everyone's previous week. This "agenda" is boring and worse yet, draining. Basically, it turns into an hour that each rep is reading e-mails and updating Facebook. By the way, many sales managers feel these are a waste of time, also, and either stop doing them altogether or do them because they feel they should and suffer as much or more than their reps.
DS: Why do you think that by now, sales managers haven't learned how to plan and execute effective meetings?
JM: Sales Managers wear so many hats - recruiter, coach, and negotiator and so on. Some managers lead inspired, productive weekly sales team meetings, but most don't. In most cases, once they become a manager, they lead meetings based on what they experienced as a rep. In addition, managers' own organizations neglect to give them guidance on this very important hour in their team's week. And, the bad meeting cycle continues.
DS: What are the three most important considerations for a sales manager when she devises a new approach for sales meetings?
JM: Here they are:
- Every topic should be relevant and equip the team to compete and win.
- The meeting must be collaborative. The collective experience of the team adds value to each member of the team.
- Share ownership and responsibility for productive meetings with the team.
DS: How would you recommend measuring the effectiveness of a sales meeting?
JM: The results of consistently great weekly sales team meetings are advanced deals, better customer relationships and higher team morale. The ideas and strategies discussed on the weekly calls create momentum for the week, energizing and fueling the team with new ways to win. Beyond that, great meetings take on a life of their own and we have seen a long list of benefits from simply executing great weekly sales team meetings.
DS: What actually happens when companies transition from ineffective meetings to effective ones?
JM: Here are some main themes we hear when subscribers transition from bad or no weekly meetings to productive ones.
- Many of our subscribers have a mix of newer and also more seasoned sales team members. They haven't held meetings because they felt the more experienced ones would not get value and consider them a waste of time. These sales managers have been surprised at the interaction and idea exchanges that occur between new and experienced sales representatives.
- Managers are surprised to hear about deals advancing after implementing ideas exchanged on the calls. They forget that they don't have to carry the entire load in terms of coaching and deal strategy.
- In addition, the agendas encourage interaction so sales managers are really getting to know their team members and transferring the pressure of leading good meetings to the entire team-and they are willingly taking it. Managers tell us the Sunday night stress of wondering what to cover on their Monday meeting is gone.
- Other managers lead technology sales teams who are more comfortable with the technology piece than they are with the sales piece. The agenda topics are leading them in more sales discussions which are resulting in excitement and focus on this neglected part of their role.
DS: What does your firm do with respect to meetings?
JM: We provide a new sales team meeting agenda each week along with guidance and support for the sales managers who subscribe. Among many other topics, the agendas cover fundamental and advanced selling topics, current business events that impact selling, best practices and ideas from the team's experience, current thought leaders and real-time collaboration on live opportunities, economic challenges and changing needs.
If you'd like to review a sample sales meeting agenda, you can request it here.
Photo credit: © Renee Jansoa - Fotolia.com
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