Meetings are something of a necessity when it comes to your sales team. Most people have less-than-enthusiastic opinions about meetings. Meetings can be tedious, take up too much time, and even be counterproductive.
Of course, most of these things apply to poorly run meetings. As the sales leader, you want to have better meetings. You’re probably asking yourself, “How do I run a great sales meeting?”
There are a few essential ingredients in a great meeting, including an agenda, an excellent moderator, good pre-meeting preparation, and more.
1. Invite Only the Necessary Attendees
One of the problems with meetings is they tend to get overstuffed. You’ll invite the people you think need to be there, such as your core team members. Then someone suggests you should also invite a manager or VP. The next thing you know, half the department is sitting in.
This often leads to a situation where attendees are unprepared or unknowledgeable about the topic at hand. Some attendees may not even have an opinion on the subject. Instead, you’re just wasting their time. If they decide to interject and ask questions, they could be wasting yours.
By paring back the invite list to only employees who need to be there, you can ensure your meeting will be more productive.
2. Lock Down the Agenda
Meetings are notorious for veering off-topic. This often happens when you have attendees who aren’t up to date on the project or the issue, as they begin to ask unrelated questions.
Even with only those people who are truly necessary in the meeting, however, it can be easy to wander off-topic. When this happens, your sales team meeting is at risk of becoming unproductive.
Before the meeting, create an agenda, and then rigorously stick to it during the meeting. You can leave time for questions, but don’t be afraid to shut down conversation if you begin to veer off-track.
3. You Must Moderate Effectively
As the sales team leader or chair of the meeting, you are responsible for keeping everyone on track. You can lay out an agenda, but it won’t mean much if you don’t rein in your attendees and keep them focused on the topic at hand.
Instead, you’ll need to moderate effectively and efficiently. Leave time for questions, but don’t be afraid to shut down conversation and move to the next topic. If someone asks an off-topic question, you can always say something like, “I can’t address that now, but I’d be happy to discuss this with you after the meeting.”
4. Set a Timeframe and Stick with It
Meetings become unproductive when they run over time. Setting out your agenda and moderating effectively to keep everyone on topic are key in making sure your meetings aren’t too long.
Another way to do this is to set your timeframe and stick to it. This can help you battle attendees’ mental fatigue. If your meeting is longer than an hour, consider why. Could it be shorter?
If the meeting is long, you may want to schedule a break so everyone can refocus. If the meeting is an hour or less, you may not need a break, but do be on the lookout for attendees becoming bored or antsy.
5. Prepare Everyone Beforehand
Be sure you give your attendees a chance to prepare for the meeting beforehand. Send out the agenda. If you’ll be going over reports, send them out too. Ask employees to read things over before they arrive, so they can engage in productive conversation right from the get-go.
Good preparation can help keep everyone’s mind on the topics at hand, and it can help shorten your meetings.
There are other important ingredients in successful sales team meetings, but these are some of the key components. Include them in every meeting you have, and you’ll be well on your way to successful team meetings.