Sales Pipeline Review Meetings is one of the most important meetings to have as a sales rep and as a sales leader. But, often, they aren't as productive as they can be.

Do you ever feel like you finish a sales meeting with your sales team, or even a single sales rep with more questions than answers? Are your sales meetings getting to feel like a police interrogation, where you are pummeling your reps with questions, but they seem to be reluctant to give you any valuable info? Sales Forecast meetings can improve your sales management techniques if done right, but can derail your relationship with your reps if you get it wrong.

Here are some ideas to help you hold better sales forecast meetings.

1. Have Reps Come Prepared, or Not at All

You know that awkward, deer in the headlights look you get from your reps when they haven’t updated their opportunities in the company Customer Relationship Management system? The moment when you ask for the next steps in the strategic opportunity which could make or break their quota for the year?

If your sales team doesn’t come prepared, excuse them from the meeting. Coffee is for closers, meetings are for contributors. Don’t make their exodus from the meeting a shaming moment, just make it clear those who aren’t prepared aren’t part of the team. Have the sales rep spend the time they should have been in the meeting to prepare a one-on-one review with the sales management team. Watch how much better prepared they are the next time.

2. Celebrate Successes, No Matter How Small

When your team is gathered, have each person contribute a sales-related good news story for the week. It could be a complementary e-mail from a client, a recent win, or a significant opportunity. If there are next steps to be taken to make these successes even bigger, have the whole team brainstorm on ways to make it a bigger win.

3. Reward Timeliness, Discourage Distractions

Provide small status incentives for your reps to be on time. The chance to run a meeting when you need to be out of the office. The opportunity to tell their success story, or give their forecast review first. For those who linger on their smartphone during the meeting, or arrive late, give them reason to think twice about arriving late the next time. Commanding respect in sales meetings, while still preserving your reputation of a leader is important.

You don’t want to encourage certain reps to be perceived by their peers as a “kiss-up” or a “Yes Person” but rewarding those who show respect for you, and their colleagues is encouraged.

4. Encourage Ideas, Not Grievances

Ask your team if they need help with any of their customer pursuits. Encourage input on any obstacles which are tripping up the team, but don’t let the meeting get bogged down with one person’s challenge. See what resolutions the sales rep has thought of, and poll the team for their feedback and their ideas.

Often salespeople run into similar situations in the field, or on the phone, and your team might have ways to tackle the problem head-on. You don’t have to be a rainmaker or an oracle to be have effective sales management tactics, you just have to be able to lead effectively, and produce effective results.

5. Set Objectives, Action Items and Goals Before the Next Meeting

Don’t let your team leave a sales meeting without having a set of ‘to-dos’ to pursue. Make them SMART Goals

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound

If your team needs to work at achieving their goals – say making a realistic number of calls per day, setting an achievable number of appointments, or closing a realistic amount of deals, reaching them will be a motivating force beyond just the commission dollars they earn. If you raise quotas too high, or set unattainable numbers on customer visits, you’ll just demotivate your team, and they will think you are out of touch with reality.

Sales meetings are a lot like pit stops in the Daytona 500.

  • You fuel the team up with motivation
  • Ensure they have the proper traction with their customers
  • You check that they know where they are in the race, relative to the finish line, or needs of the business
  • The rep tells you how the “track” or the sales activity is performing, and what twists and turns they are taking
  • You send them back out into the fray, with a few words of encouragement, once their bolts are tight and they are ready to roll.

Do your sales meetings give your team the motivation to excel? If your sales management techniques in regular cadence reviews don’t seem to be resonating with your team, apply some of these ideas. Like any meeting of professionals, the best events are built on:

  • Mutual respect
  • Communication
  • Preparation
  • Positive energy
  • Shared ideas

Take these five tips to heart, and analyze how the morale and results measure up after a few sessions. Return here, and tell us about the changes you see in your team dynamics!

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