How to Hold Effective Sales Meetings
Do you hold recurring sales meetings with your team? No, I mean SALES ONLY meetings. Not team meetings where you discuss operations, HR, and sales all in the same meeting…I’m talking about true, sales ONLY meetings with the team where you discuss numbers, goals, behaviors, and projections. So, let me ask that question again, “Are you holding recurring sales meetings with your team?” If you said no, trust me, you are not alone. Many businesses interject sales “conversations” as a part of their weekly/monthly team meetings, but it’s just a portion of the meeting, not the sole focus of the meeting.
According to Harvard Business Review, companies that hold EFFECTIVE monthly sales meetings yield on average an 18% boost in productivity from their bottom quartile performers. So, let’s break this down for your agency: if you hold an effective recurring sales meeting, your bottom tier producers become more productive by almost 20%. What does 20% productivity do to your agency? What behaviors do you think will change by having sales meetings? By nature, we are all more accountable to ourselves when we are held accountable for our actions and results.
Speaking of results, just by having quotas, you will experience 5% growth in your agency according to Harvard Business Review. Notice it says QUOTAS, not goals! Stop giving your producers only goals and start giving them quotas! Quotas are required targets or standards. Goals are desired outcomes…they are not one in the same! Each producer in your agency should have both a quota (a required target) and a goal (a desired outcome), and those numbers should be projected, measured, and tracked at a minimum of a weekly basis. Why? Because it comes back to accountability. When people are held accountable, they perform better. Each of your sales meetings should discuss your team and individual contributor quotas!
The article by Harvard Business Review mentioned the term EFFECTIVE sales meetings, but how do you hold effective team sales meetings? I’m going to break down the six components of holding an effective sales meeting and give you the ingredients for increasing the productivity in your agency:
1. Have an agenda.
No, I don’t mean an ulterior motive, I mean an outline of the topics and flow of the meeting. This should be sent out ahead of the meeting to all participants. No one likes to be surprised. Also, make sure that all participants can participate in the agenda topics. This needs to be a TEAM meeting, but just a meeting by the sales leader giving out results.
2. Collect sales data BEFORE the meeting.
Let me stress this by saying that you should be utilizing your CRM for this information, but at the very least a spreadsheet (that’s a topic for later). As a sales leader, you need to know the data ahead of the meeting. You need to analyze trends, projections, etc. AHEAD of the meeting with your team. Never go into a sales meeting blind, the meeting will not go well! Plus, making sure all of the data is in the CRM ahead of the meeting adds to the accountability factor for your producers.
3. Energy, Energy, ENERGY!
The first two components (agenda and data) are pre-meeting components. When your team meeting day has arrived, there needs to be nothing but positive energy coming from the conference/virtual meeting room! If you’ve heard me speak, you always hear me say one thing over and over again: “Positive energy yields positive results.” Your meeting needs to be full of energy. I usually have music playing in the background as the team comes in, we high-five (pre-COVID-19, now virtually) as we walk in, and everyone is upbeat. Set the tone for your team sales meetings. Your producers should look forward to coming to these meetings…if not, maybe you have the wrong producers!! And for the producers reading this article, if your sales leader doesn’t bring positive energy, maybe you have the wrong sales leader. Yes, it’s a two-way street!
4. Restate the overall production quotas for the agency (both monthly and annually), and how you are tracking toward your quotas.
How many times has the word “accountability” been stated in this article? You get the idea. The team should know where we stand as a group, and where we are tracking as a group. And since we are talking about quotas, let’s talk about how quotas should work. What you should not be doing is taking an annual number (i.e., $1,200,000) and dividing that into 12 months, and telling your producers that their quota for each month is $100,000. That’s lazy! Get to know your book of business. Which months are currently heavy in renewals? Your quotas should reflect that. Analyze your current book to get trends for your quotas.
5. Display and discuss each producer’s activities and results for the past month and quotas for the next.
By now, you know the drill. Numbers and behaviors never lie. You are what your numbers and actions say that you are. This should not be an “I gotcha” moment for your producers, but more so for the team to see how everyone is contributing to the overall success. Each producer should have their own quotas and goals, and each should uniquely contribute to the whole. Everyone should know and discuss what their quotas are for the next month and their activity plan to get there.
6. The meeting should have open discussion.
As a sales leader, if you are the only one talking during the meeting, it is a lecture or information session. Don’t do that! Let your team discuss their wins, their losses, their challenges, etc. This meeting is more about them than you. I would even let your producers take turns as meeting hosts. Open discussion is a great way to uncover changes that need to be made to either keep the momentum going, or to steer you back into the right direction. Do not be afraid of what your team has to say!!
Now that you know the components, each of you should be setting your recurring sales meetings right now, and make sure that your team has quotas, not just goals. You will be surprised at how something as simple as actually having meetings will affect your bottom line!
Mick, an experienced sales and operations executive, assists agents in utilizing data analytics in support of revenue growth for independent agencies. Prior to forming Premier Strategy Box, Mick was an independent agency owner, executive director of a large Florida-based MGA, and an independent consultant. Mick started his agency from scratch, and within three short years, grew to over $3 million of revenue all organically!
Throughout his career, Mick has provided valuable expertise and consultancy to clients throughout diverse subjects, including insurance sales operations, workforce management, back office outsourcing, lead generation, data analytics, strategic planning, and P&L Results. Whether it has been a 10-employee agency, a 400-employee MGA, or anything in between, Mick has been successful at improving the bottom line, as well as improving efficiencies and workflows!
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