A powerful tool for maintaining the right pace and direction in a sales operation is the weekly sales review meeting. In many companies these meetings have become a forum for discussing operational and non-sales issues – “stuff” that might be urgent, but hardly ever important and not contributing to closing more deals.
The first improvement you can make to your weekly sales meeting, is to distinguish between group meetings and one-on-one meetings. Each performs a quite different function.
Keep the Weekly Group Meeting to under 20 minutes
The group meeting is best used to get a fast, high level summary of individual progress against target. It is not a useful forum for influencing individual sales performance. Effective managers use the group forum more to set and maintain a sales pace – specifically, by asking for an accurate short-term sales forecast.
Group meetings work best when they are short, everyone is asked the same few critical questions and there is no scope for getting distracted by “sales stories” i.e. descriptions of opportunities that are vague and irrelevant. Group sales meetings should last 10-20 minutes. (See suggested agenda / questions here).
The One-on-One Weekly Meeting per Salesperson
It’s during this session that the manager (or owner / CEO) can influence individual performance and help a salesperson to decide on priorities and areas of performance improvement. But it cannot be a directionless discussion.
This meeting usually needs to be longer than the group meeting (e.g. one hour or more).
Again, you need an agenda with powerful questions. (See here).
You don’t have the time?
When it comes to managing sales, the main role of a manager (whether full time or doing a mixed role) is to influence and support individual sales performance. Very few things are more important. There will always be issues that are urgent and more interesting, but usually not more important. That’s why a crisp agenda is so useful.
Should the weekly meeting be a forum for sharing ideas?
Sharing ideas can easily turn into aimless conversation. In a sales operation there are really only two useful types of ideas:
- How do we create more opportunities?
- How do we close more opportunities faster, and shorten the sales cycle?
What can work well is to allow one weekly group meeting to run longer and the manager facilitates a discussion on opportunity creation and opportunity management. That’s useful!
Download a useful Agenda here for Group & One-on-One Meetings