Managing a diverse sales team can be difficult. In the landscape industry, sales people often have diverse backgrounds, levels of experience and sales techniques.
So to create a successful sales team, managers must take all of these variables into account, and create processes and procedures that help them to manage their sales team effectively, set attainable goals and track their progress.
At Describeit, we’ve found that the secret to creating this success is establishing expectations at the onset of hiring a new salesperson — and setting scheduled meetings to assess and align our goals.
Because most of our customers are sales managers with teams of more than two sales people, they often ask us how often we meet in order to create this success.
Today, we’re going to discuss how often your sales team should meet, but the real secret to your sales success isn’t the frequency of meetings, it’s so much more.
How Often Should You Meet?
We recommend meeting at least once a week, but you should meet as often or as little as necessary. If you are putting together a new team that requires a lot of guidance, then meet more frequently. But if you have a team of seasoned salespeople, you may need to meet less often. Or, if you have a mix, then meeting often enough for your team to have the opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other should be your goal.
The purpose is to meet often enough those tasks or targets aren’t forgotten or pushed aside, but not too often that it disrupts the ability to meet your targets effectively. If your sales team isn’t doing anything beyond preparing for sales meetings, then you are clearly meeting too often.
If a weekly sales meeting schedule works for you, ensure you are setting meetings on slower sales days. For example, if you own a lawn care company that receives an influx of customer inquiries over the weekend, Mondays probably are not ideal for sales calls.
But make sure you hold meetings on a consistent day and time. Doing this prevents people from excusing themselves from your team meetings because of conflicting appointments. It also lets them plan their week and manage their time to they can properly prepare for the meeting.
Should You Meet Virtually or In-Person?
At Describeit, we have established weekly, virtual sales meetings. The decision to meet over the phone, internet or in-person will depend on your staff. As we mentioned, seasoned sales professionals may not need the support of in-person meetings, but your newer salespeople may need more guidance and the benefit of in-person collaboration.
If you have an opportunity to provide in-person coaching and guidance, one-on-one interactions may happen more frequently and naturally in person. Having worked at a design firm with 28 designers with such different levels of experience, we all benefitted from in-person meetings.
Who Should Attend Your Meetings?
Your sales meetings should include your sales reps, territory managers, sales managers and other sales staff that are directly tied to creating sales in your company — this time should be set aside specifically for your sales team and support staff.
If you have a good reason to bring in other staff, (e.g., a production manager needs to discuss issues about sales hand-off to the production team or a construction manager needs to discuss issues with plan accuracy), they should be a part of the meeting. But only at the beginning or end of the meeting. After sharing and discussing the information to establish a viable solution, you should close the meeting to the rest of the departments and focus on the sales team.
Don’t allow the meetings to become company grievance sessions. And, you don’t make sales if your team isn’t out selling, so keep company-wide and departmental integration meetings to a monthly or quarterly schedule.
Encourage Open Communication
The whole purpose of setting meetings is to ensure everyone is communicating what they need to, to the right people, so your company can be successful. Sales meetings shouldn’t be for just tracking numbers and reviewing sales calls.
Whether your team consists of inside, outside or remote salespeople, sales can be an isolating job. When they’re not meeting with customers, your team members spend much of their time alone, assessing their own performance and possibly doubting whether they can reach their goals successfully.
So, start the sales meeting on a positive note and end on a positive note. Take this opportunity to really listen to you sales team and share more of the good than the bad. Incorporating a few of these items below can help your meetings be more engaging and encouraging:
- Share success stories
- Discuss objections/solutions
- Troubleshoot issues
- Tackle obstacles
- Establish effective processes
Don’t use these opportunities to micromanage your sales reps. Create a respectful, collaborative atmosphere. Your team needs to work together and share knowledge. By establishing a positive atmosphere within these meetings, you have a great opportunity to establish trust and encouraging clear lines of communication.
Set the Right Agenda
Your sales meeting agenda should include reviewing the previous period, goal setting for the next meeting and analysing objections and opportunities. Stating a clear purpose for these meetings will help everyone be more engaged in the conversation.
The agenda should consist of consistent, timed talking points. Here’s just one sample agenda:
- Kick-off (2 minutes): Meeting planner sets a positive tone for the meeting
- Success stories (5-10 minutes): Salespeople (one or many) share positive sales experiences
- Objections/obstacles (5-10 minutes): Salespeople share frustrations about the process
- Improvements/troubleshooting (5-10 minutes): Group discusses how to make improvements and solve current issues
- Sharing product knowledge (5-10 minutes): Group discusses new products/services and branding messages attached to each
- Preview/opportunities (5-10 minutes): Group discusses future goals and how to reach them
- Expectations (5-10 minutes): Managers set goals for the rest of the week
- Encouragement/positive reinforcement (2 minutes): Meeting planner revisits positive messages and ends on a high note
Giving each of these talking points a set timeline for discussion will keep the meeting moving forward and also let your sales people prepare for the meeting effectively.
If you need more time for particular points, or determine other points of discussion as you work through the process, make the changes that apply to your own team.
Holding a meeting is one thing, but how do you ensure people take action afterward? This is one of the top concerns of many sales managers. Of course, in order for a business to be successful, you must have a successful and driven sales force. When your team is failing, it is natural to wonder what isn’t working and what you can do differently.
The most difficult part of establishing sales meetings is ensuring people take action on the items discussed in the meeting. One of the big questions about how often your sales team should meet is establishing frequency that encourages actions. In this regard, weekly meetings are ideal for monitoring and reminding your reps about expected goals and holding them accountable on a weekly basis.
Set tasks and targets your sales team need to complete before the next meeting. And make sure they are realistic. Reinforce the need to share valuable information with management and the rest of the team, and review hits and misses at the next scheduled meeting.
So, How Often Should Your Sales Team Meet?
The secret to running a great sales meeting is in knowing where you are and where you’re going — and how you will get there
Don’t allow your sales team to create their own goals, manage information separately or establish individual processes that interfere with your main purpose. It will be tough if your salespeople aren’t accustomed to a strict sales structure, but committing to weekly meetings may interrupt the urge to return to old habits.
Sales meetings are a great way to motivate your sales team and ensure they receive the support they need to be successful. Especially if your sales team is new.
Having a safe arena to share successes and failures and allow brainstorming and communication. It also gives you a chance to make sure the right goals and tracking methods are in place to ensure your own success.
With years of technical expertise and business acumen, Describeit’s team has what it takes to bring the new way of selling goods and services to the green industry. Schedule your free demo today!
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