Does your SaaS have a sales team? If so, you probably get the fact that your sales team becomes one of the most valuable assets to your business. (Of course with customer care — we can’t forget you guys!).
The sales team is responsible for how well your sales performance goes overall and it’s the job of their manager to be able to drive that performance.
Part of that involves regularly checking in with the team and holding sales meetings. However, like so many company meetings, SaaS often find that these aren’t especially effective.
If you’ve been walking out of meetings feeling that less was accomplished than you’d hoped, here are some tips to make them more effective.
You don’t want to be that company, the one which falls into the “meeting for the sake of a meeting” trap and gets everyone together at 9am every morning, regardless of planning. If you’ve got nothing of value to say, the chances are that your team will start to tune out on these meetings, probably thinking about the work that is waiting for them to get on with!
On the other hand, if your meetings are kept meaningful and held as needed, people will tend to pay more attention. You might need that daily standup meeting, but the point is that there should always be a purpose to it. If you haven’t had time to sort out a purpose and some clear goals, don’t bother with the meeting.
You might even have a lot of things to say, but try to stick to no more than 2 – 3 purposes for your meeting. Meetings become ineffective if they drag on too long, beyond the attention spans of the participants, also, too many purposes may only add confusion. Something is bound to be missed. If you have a single purpose that needs quite some digging into, perhaps leave that as the sole purpose of the meeting.
It’s always easier to ensure you’ve achieved something with your meeting if you set some specific goals around the purpose/s you have set.
To help you get good solutions, make sure you have clearly outlined the problem/purpose in the first place. During the meeting, come up with solutions which explain “what”, “by who” and “by when” so that results are measurable and key actions are specific.
Photo via VisualHunt.com
One of the big reasons behind meetings that flop is a lack of structure. You’ve got to go in with a game plan otherwise you risk that topics fly all over the place and nothing of substance gets achieved. You also risk that there are no definite end-points and meetings drag out.
Here are some pointers to set boundaries around structure:
- Send out an agenda beforehand. This helps your team to come in prepared with research or ideas which can help you reach solutions.
- Set a time limit and stick to it. If you’re going to go beyond around 45 minutes, you’ll start to lose people (plus, you’re eating significantly into work time). If the purpose is to pump the team up before a successful sales day, stick to 10 minutes or less.
- Keep an eye on that time limit and make sure actionable solutions are being taken away. You shouldn’t come out of a meeting without decisions having been made.
You’ll have all sorts of personalities in your sales team and your meetings need someone to keep them in check. How many times have you been in a meeting that has gone off-topic?
If topics are heading down side-roads, make a decision as to whether they add to the conversation or whether they are better noted down for later. Take charge to keep things on track.
You should also look out for people who have a tendency to dominate or talk over others, as well as those who are quieter and may like the opportunity to speak up. Make sure that everyone gets the chance to have their say.
Your sales team works hard to get good results and making time to recognize that is important. If you consistently recognize performance in your meetings, it helps to keep your team motivated and have them look forward to attending.
As GoCo states: “Recognizing the contributions employees make to an organization helps solidify relationships, fosters employee engagement and loyalty to the organization.”
If you want to keep your team pumped and contributing to meetings, help them feel valued by recognizing them for the good work they have done.
Up the Fun Factor
Don’t underestimate the benefits of adding an element of fun to your meetings. It’s about engagement, getting the ideas flowing and building camaraderie in your team.
Sales can be very high-pressure, so a chance to let off steam is often welcomed and reminds people to enjoy what they are doing. Close.io talks about how they add a fun element to their sales meetings by including physical activity. They would bounce on small trampolines while going through the numbers (Bonus: this will get the blood pumping and help the flow of ideas).
You could look at beginning your meetings with a quick couple of minutes on some kind of warm up activity. The idea is not to take too long over it, but to set the scene for a productive meeting.
Ideas might include:
- Have the issues you need to discuss posted around the wall, each on a separate piece of paper. Have your team move around and write an idea on each.
- Dress up or role play.
- Have a standing meeting.
- Balloon toss – write topics on a piece of paper and put one in each balloon. Blow up and have the team bat them around. After 30 seconds to a minute, have the team stop with whatever balloon they have, pop it and work on the idea.
There are many ideas you can use to inject some fun and help get meetings moving along productively. If you get stuck, there are a number of resources available online with a quick Google search.
Record and Follow Up
Here’s another area where companies commonly stumble with the efficiency of their meetings; you need to ensure that ideas and actions are being recorded and that there is follow up afterwards to ensure those responsible know what they’re doing and are getting on with it.
Delegate someone on your team (or rotate the responsibility) for taking notes during the meeting and sending out a summary along with who is responsible for what afterwards. This gives you the paper trail you need to make sure those meetings really are productive and that things don’t fall through the cracks. A good strategy is to have actions entered into whatever task management system you use immediately afterwards. This could be the responsibility of whoever is taking the notes.
You don’t want to be one of those SaaS who expends a lot of time and energy on “meetings for the sake of meetings.” You do want to ensure that meetings are productive and that they serve to engage and motivate your sales team members.
Always have a plan and purpose for meetings — you shouldn’t be going in with no agenda as this opens it up to go off on tangents. Set goals for the meeting, stick to a timetable and make sure it is clear who is doing what with some follow up afterwards.
Injecting recognition and time for fun are great ideas for keeping your sales team pumped. The aim is that your team leave the meeting even more motivated than they were before they went in.