By: Norman Behar on July 14th, 2020
How to Lead an Effective Sales Team Meeting
Sales managers play a critical role in the psyche and success of their sales teams and that's especially true during the Covid-19 pandemic. Given that most teams are now completely virtual, this has introduced new complexities in terms of how sales reps connect with their customers, managers, and peers.
To address these complexities, sales managers need to adopt new strategies to manage, coach, train, and collaborate with their sales teams. An essential key for managers is to make sure that the cadence and tone of how they communicate matches the “new normal” we find ourselves in during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a starting point, managers should schedule weekly meetings with their teams, and weekly one-on-one meetings with each member of their sales team.
The weekly team meeting should focus on team goals and accomplishments and is a great a forum to recognize wins, discuss new opportunities, review priorities, and promote skills development. Although there may be members of your team that are underperforming, it's essential to keep the discussions positive and focus on any individual issues or concerns outside of the team meeting.
While this cadence is straight-forward, how and what to cover is often challenging especially for managers who haven’t previously conducted these type of team meetings.
To address this challenge, here are some recommendations managers can immediately implement to conduct effective weekly meetings with their sales teams.
While these meetings can be held at any time during the week, Monday mornings or Friday afternoons usually work best to review the prior week’s accomplishment and discuss this week’s priorities.
Virtual Meeting Platform:
Since teams are now working virtually, you should use a virtual meeting room (e.g., Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting…) and have the entire team connect with video to encourage interaction and collaboration.
Listed below is a sample agenda for a weekly 1-hour team meeting along with a brief description for each suggested topic:
1 | Sales Results (5 minutes):
The manager should begin with a quick overview of where the team stands versus sales goals. This can include a breakdown by sales representative provided the emphasis is on team achievement. This is also a great time to recognize and celebrate any new wins or major accomplishments.
2 | Sales Activity (10 minutes):
It is important to focus on key performance indicators such as new meetings, proposals, and opportunities. To keep this positive, managers should ask each member of their team to share accomplishments from the prior week and their top opportunities for this week.
3 | Top Opportunities (15 minutes):
This should include a high-level pipeline review where each sales rep can share their top opportunities and associated next steps. To the extent possible, managers should encourage sales reps should seek input from their peers when they are uncertain about next steps or could use strategic advice. In some cases, it will make sense to limit the conversation and set up separate meetings that go into more detail on specific opportunities.
4 | New Priorities and Initiatives (10 minutes):
This is a great forum to preview any new priorities, initiatives and “sales plays.” The goal is to make sure the sales team is informed and to solicit their feedback. As an example, this is a great time to review upcoming marketing events and programs. Managers should also briefly review any new policies or procedures that impact your team. To the extent there are legitimate issues or concerns, managers should take notes and follow up with the team once they have gathered additional information.
5 | Skills Development (15 minutes):
Managers should lead, or ask a member of their sales team to lead, a group discussion on a specific selling skill. The objective is to actively involve the sales team in their own skills development by focusing on real-world application. Examples of skill development categories include.
- Prospecting for new business
- Building relationships
- Developing sales call objectives
- Asking great questions to develop needs
- Selling on value
- Overcoming objections
- Gaining commitment
- Negotiation techniques
6 | Recap Priorities for the Week (5 minutes):
End the meeting by recapping the top priorities and make sure to end on a positive note by thanking your team and providing encouragement. This is especially important now given all the challenges the team is facing during to the Covid- 19 pandemic.
How managers interact with their sales teams is now more important than ever and the weekly sales meeting is their opportunity to lead and collaborate with their sales teams.
About Norman Behar
Norman Behar is Chairman and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience, and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications including ATD, TrainingIndustry.com, and Selling Power.