How These 3 Sales Leaders Are Making the Most Out of Their Meetings

November 4, 2020
sales meetings
photo By fizkes for shutterstock

Frequent meetings are vital to the success of any sales team. But as a sales leader, how do you move your meetings away from the sometimes mundane weekly chats? 

For media company Tribune Publishing, sales meetings consist of discussions around company initiatives, team progress and “big wins” for the week as a way to help boost morale as well as build a winning sales culture based on teamwork and collaboration, Media Sales Manager Kyle Menczynski said.

At marketing technology and software company CHILI publish, sales meetings are also used as a platform for open communication. “Our meetings are really about exchanging experiences and discussing approaches that could benefit the rest of the team,” Fabian Prudhomme, vice president of global sales and alliances at CHILI, said. 

Technology and digital service company Aleysian uses data collected by a custom-built Salesforce report to help guide its meetings. “We want to give sales reps a platform to provide feedback on what they are encountering day-in and day-out, which then allows us to use their data to drive decisions,” Head of Growth Matthew Garms said. 

Built In Chicago caught up with Menczynski, Prudhomme and Garms to learn more about how they make the most out of their team meetings.

 

Kyle Menczynski
Media Sales Manager

Media Sales Manager Kyle Menczynski said in order to have productive sales meetings, he creates a specific agenda prior to each meeting. This helps ensure the team touches on all relevant points as well as keeps the conversation focused in case they get sidetracked by conversation that may arise. 

 

How often do you hold sales meetings with your team and what are the key objectives of those meetings?

On average, my team and I are involved in two to three staff meetings, at various levels, on a weekly basis. 

At a department level, we hold a weekly Monday meeting. During these meetings, we discuss company initiatives, team progress and “big wins” for the week. This allows reps the ability to share insights on how they won key deals, overcame objections, and gives them the opportunity to highlight others in the department that may have aided in their success, i.e. marketing and sales support. All of this helps to boost morale and builds a winning sales culture based on teamwork and collaboration. 

At a regional team level, we hold weekly team meetings on Monday mornings where we discuss a variety of topics similar to the departmental call, but at a more granular level. These topics include team performance; period and quarterly pacing; team CRM usage and how to use new features; upcoming sales initiatives (special sections, new business programs, etc.); and how to apply them toward our existing and prospective customers. We also cover companywide updates (workflow process changes, new systems, new products) and their impact at the regional team level. Once we cover our agenda items, I turn it over to the team to elicit their feedback, questions or concerns.
 

Allowing my team the opportunity to shape conversations during the meeting provides me with a better understanding of what is working and where there are struggles.”


What actions do you take before or during meetings to ensure they’re productive, useful and engaging? 

Prior to the team meetings, I create an agenda of items that I’d like to discuss. This helps ensure we touch on all relevant points and keeps the conversation on track should we get sidetracked by conversation that may arise. Since most of the agenda items are pre-set, we usually run through all the items, but along the way, I will make sure to stop to address feedback and questions. I will usually conclude the meeting by turning the floor over to the team in the event they have anything that they would like to add, or if there are any questions that they’d like to ask in a group format. 

 

What role do your salespeople play in shaping the conversations and/or decisions that take place in those meetings?

In the team meeting setting, the staff often share best practices on how to approach an account or a specific industry and how to successfully prospect and connect directly with decision-makers. They may also lead discussions around specific initiatives, challenges or concerns. Allowing them the opportunity to shape conversations during the meeting provides me with a better understanding of what is working and where there are struggles. I can then address these items in the team meeting or during my individual one-on-one meetings. 

 

Fabian Prudhomme
Vice President Global Sales and Alliances

Because CHILI publish has offices all over the globe, it’s important for each of the sales teams to stay in sync and in touch, said Fabian Prudhomme, vice president of global sales and alliances. Prudhomme holds multiple weekly and biweekly meetings in order to ensure everyone is on the same page.

 

How often do you hold sales meetings with your team and what are the key objectives of those meetings?

Our sales team is spread out from Texas to Singapore, and all of them work from home. To stay in sync and in touch, it is important to have open communication and frequent outreach. I prefer to run different types of sales meetings with different purposes.

I hold a weekly regional one-hour sales meeting with our account executives and insides sales reps that handle a specific region. The key objectives are to conduct business activity reviews of what happened the previous week and assess what we want to achieve in the present week based on pipeline activity and pipeline status changes. During these weekly meetings, I also review and update monthly and quarterly forecast figures.

In parallel with these weekly regional business review sales meetings, I organize a weekly sales meeting for the inside sales team and a weekly sales meeting for the presales team. These meetings have the same objectives: discuss their activity, communicate project updates, evaluate where they are in terms of monthly target achievement, and discuss any challenge, obstacle or issue they are running into.
 

In order to keep meetings short and to the point, it is important to be prepared.”


Up next, a biweekly video sales call for all sales team members. This is a platform where we exchange ideas, use each other as sounding boards, and where sales associates get to discuss what works and doesn’t work in their region. It’s really about exchanging experiences and discussing approaches that could benefit the rest of the team. We also invite other management if research and development or customer success needs to be involved in certain projects.

Finally, we also have a biweekly sales and marketing meeting, during which the sales team exchanges inbound marketing leads quality, customer wins and overall progress with the marketing team. We also inform each other on upcoming events, marketing campaigns and initiatives to align all outbound communication supporting sales success.

 

What actions do you take before or during meetings to ensure they’re productive, useful and engaging? 

In order to keep meetings short and to the point, it is important to be prepared. We work with a centralized forecast spreadsheet that is maintained by the sales associates and updated prior to every weekly meeting. Additionally, we only discuss opportunities that are duly logged into our CRM system. Our system is our single source of truth — if information that needs to be discussed is not logged properly, it does not exist. 

 

What role do your salespeople play in shaping the conversations and/or decisions that take place in those meetings?

Businesses are seldom a democracy, but we do discuss decisions, specific prospect related approaches and resolutions in a constructive and collaborative manner. We tend to look at our different options and try to agree on a way forward, which works out in about 95 percent of the cases.

Salespeople should bring up issues. When they arise, I expect them to propose a solution or a way to move forward, which I will either accept or challenge if needed. 

 

Matthew Garms
Head of Growth

To make the most out of their sales meetings, Aleysian uses a custom-built Salesforce report that provides insight on any given deal’s close date, the next steps needed to win the deal and any foreseeable hurdles, Head of Growth Matthew Garms said.  

 

How often do you hold sales meetings with your team and what are the key objectives of those meetings?

We hold our sales meeting once a week and they are 100 percent driven off of data we pull from Salesforce. The key objective of our weekly meeting is clarity around the status, timing and hurdles of our opportunities. To do this, we built a custom Salesforce report that covers the forecast and close date, the next steps needed to win the deal and any foreseeable hurdles.

 

What actions do you take before or during meetings to ensure they’re productive, useful and engaging? 

The day before a sales meeting, I will sit down and run through our Salesforce reports, and individual performance KPIs to familiarize myself with the information. Our Salesforce reports allow me to understand trends, come up with specific questions and/or insights to share. 

During the meeting, I use and share the pipeline report to drive conversations. We only discuss opportunities that have the correct data in them. If the data is not in Salesforce, it doesn’t count.
 

The key objective of our weekly meeting is clarity around status, timing and hurdles of our opportunities.”


What role do your salespeople play in shaping the conversations and/or decisions that take place in those meetings?

Salespeople play a key role in meetings. By keeping their key opportunity information up to date, we give reps a platform to provide feedback on what they are encountering day in, day out. It also allows us to use their data to drive decisions. Salesforce helps streamline while doing the heavy lifting when it comes to understanding the collective teams’ data.

 

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