What Makes a Sales Meeting Worthwhile?

So here we are, at the beginning of our second half (as a Japanese company, our fiscal year begins April 1st) and it’s time to arrange the bi-annual sales meeting. And the usual question comes to mind – ” What are we trying to achieve?”. After all, we’re bringing our entire Sales team and many of our Product people out of the field for a week, so we’d better make it worthwhile.

So, what are the options? Do we want to inspire them, train them or brainwash them? Do we want to build teamwork, encourage best practices, or get them to “report in”?

I think we’ve all sat in enough meetings where each sales guy drones through his territory report, while everyone else checks email, or checks out. I hope I never have to suffer through another one of those!

I like to create less formal sessions where each team member gets to share their knowledge or expertise. One idea that’s worked well in the past is ” Tell me something I don’t know” (with thanks to Chris Matthews for the title). Everyone gets 5 minutes, and it’s fairly free-form, so long as they share something useful with the group. It could be a success story, unusual customer/application, a lesser known product feature, or how to “get things done in” in the organization. Since Sales people are competitive, make sure there’s a prize for the most useful, most entertaining, weirdest….etc.

Sales meetings are also obvious chances for team building and shared experiences. That’s a subject for another posting – I can’t reveal my ideas for this years’ meeting just yet!

So until then maybe you can share your experiences on how to make Sales meetings more useful and effective. What have you done that worked well?

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