Are you thinking about your 2018 sales meeting?
Are you feeling a bit behind in planning?
Are you considering just doing the same thing you did last year?
If you answered yes to these questions, it might be time to shake things up.
It’s easier than you think to create a sales meeting that delivers necessary information to your sales team and allows them to enjoy the event at the same time. So how do you do it?
The answer is simple: Plan your sales meeting for your employees the same way you plan an event for your customers.
Your employees are your first customer. They have to believe in your company, your brand, your offering, before anyone else can. Treating them like customers will generate excitement and buzz around your sales meeting. A memorable experience will drive greater retention of information and will keep your sales team looking forward to the annual sales meeting year over year.
To plan a customer-like event for your employees, consider the following:
What are your sales team’s needs and challenges? Identifying these will allow you to maximize the value of your content.
What are your sales team’s expectations and how can you surpass them? Identifying these will allow you to enhance the experiential qualities of your meeting.
Your sales team’s needs and challenges drive the content of your meeting. Consider the following types of content:
You know you have specific points you want to cover at your sales meeting like forecasts for next year, quota information, sales growth information, and more, but have you also asked your salespeople what they want to talk about?
Execute a quick survey in the months before your sales meeting asking your employees what they’d like to discuss. Implore about questions they have, areas of focus, areas to dive deeper, areas of training, and challenges and successes from the past year. Their responses will give you a good overview of where the team collectively stands on various issues within your organization and ensures the content is relevant and valuable for their needs.
Consider providing content tailored to your sales team that provides education and training around relevant topics. If your salespeople cover one specific product or service, keep content tailored to that offering. If salespeople cover multiple or disparate areas, consider organizing your meeting into tracks and creating breakout sessions that allow for meaningful deep dives into specific topics.
Bring in outside speakers to talk about concepts that will work to drive inspiration and excitement within your sales team. Much of your meeting will be focused on topics financial details and goal setting, so provide your sales team with an opportunity to take a step back and think about higher level, more abstract topics like leadership, empowerment, or perseverance from someone outside your organization.
In order to feel excited to move forward into the next year’s sales agenda, your salespeople need to feel valued for all their hard work. Create an awards ceremony that your employees can count on by replicating the same award types every year so your employees know what to expect. This ceremony will also embrace and leverage your sales team’s competitive spirit by showing them who leads the pack and what they should strive to accomplish for the following year. Don’t let this part of your meeting be planned at the last minute. Put real thought into the types of awards you will present, how you will present them, and how you will recognize your individual employees for their successes. Seeing how much effort you put into valuing your employees will allow them to reinvest their effort into your company.
Your sales team’s expectations for the annual sales meeting drives the format of the meeting. Consider the following steps to ensure you meet and exceed their needs.
Keep your meeting face-to-face.
If you’re thinking of cutting cost by making your sales meeting an online event – don’t.
84% of people say they prefer in-person meetings.
85% of those people say in-person meetings build stronger, more meaningful relationships.
77% of those people say they prefer in-person meetings for the ability to read body language and facial expressions.
75% of those people say they prefer in-person meetings because they allow for social interaction and the ability to bond with co-workers and clients.
Keep your salespeople engaged and connected by keeping your meeting face-to-face.
Reconsider your format.
Is your annual sales meeting made up primarily of PowerPoint presentations? Is your C-Suite up on stage, talking to your salespeople about forecasts and goals? Consider this: 91% of people admitted to daydreaming during meetings. Try to find ways to combat this staggering statistic by engaging your salespeople in new ways. Think of different formats to supplement those presentations that engage your employees beyond the typical sales meeting presentations. Consider inspiring keynote-type speakers and roundtable events where employees can connect with one another, panel discussions where they can hear from a breadth of speakers, and training sessions where they can learn about new relevant topics.
Shift your location.
Move your event outside of the traditional hotel ballroom setting, or if you can’t get out of the ballroom, think about getting out of the room for at least part of the meeting. Don’t just keep people sitting in chairs all day. Consider planning moments for networking, team building activities, and other exercises that enable people to connect with each other in new, innovative ways. These types of non-traditional, unique experiences will keep your meeting feeling fresh and lively year over year.
Create an opportunity for deep brand immersion.
Make your company feel like an exclusive community and your sales meeting feel like an exclusive event by allowing your employees to feel proud to be part of your organization. Brand all elements of your sales meeting, from presentations to breakout room spaces and everything in between to generate excitement about all that your company is and all it has to offer.
Even if you do still need to employ the occasional PowerPoint presentation to get your information across, enhance them with dynamic content to keep your employees engaged. Consider creating powerful opening videos, highlight reels, and interactive polls to keep your audience from tuning out and checking out.
If you need support with your 2018 sales meeting strategy or execution, please contact us.
If you’d like to learn more about sales meetings we’ve executed for other clients, please visit our Insperity case study where you’ll hear from our client about how we’ve partnered with them to execute successful sales meetings for the last 6 years.
About OVATION: We create and execute sharable experiences that exceed our clients’ expectations while staying on budget. We pair a robust combination of internal services you might expect from a big box company with the boutique attention and flexibility that you require. Scalability is our specialty. Don’t settle for less… expect more.