Sales Meetings: Going, going, gone … virtual

The worldwide trend is for sales teams to meet online … “virtually”.

In layman’s terms:  a virtual meeting is when everyone logs in to a telephonic conference call from where ever they happen to be located. The manager then runs it like a face to face meeting, with a tight agenda of course.

The more sophisticated virtual options extend to sitting in front of webcams on connected speakerphones and logging on to a common software portal via laptops. Each person can hear and see each other and is also able to view a presentation, or look at “live” visuals of their sales pipeline. With virtual meetings when everyone is viewing the same things online, you can easily add a humourous movie clip, a stunning graphic, a useful skills or product training insert and carefully-chosen motivational quote to end off on.

By now you’ll have guessed that quality content for virtual meetings need to be prepared in advance. Nothing says “I’m a professional team leader” quite like a fantastic sales meeting. Taking the time and putting in the effort to raise your sales team’s level of motivation, recognise their achievements, add a sprinkle of humour and teach them something new will pay huge dividends in terms of sales results.  Always end off each meeting on a motivational high, no matter how stressful some discussion points may have been.

Virtual meetings certainly have their advantages over traditional face-to-face meetings. Especially in a sales environment where it’s difficult to round everyone up because of remote/regional locations. Going virtual is also useful in a local office where the new business development team is always on the road, doing what you’re paying them to do i.e. staying out in the field every day, making sales.

Virtual or face to face, in the boardroom, at a local coffee shop or from everyone’s remote location – it’s your choice, however please don’t undervalue the importance of hosting regular and effective sales meetings with your team. It’s absolutely essential. Not bringing the team together regularly and closing the feedback loop from the team and their clients is a management failure in itself. The benefits of hosting well-planned and frequent sales meetings far outweigh both the perceived and the real costs.

Is it time for you to investigate going virtual? Well, if you’re pressed for time or really struggling to get everyone together, you might want to invest in simple tools such as Skype and webcams and/or something like “GoToMeeting”, or “Webex”  or similar meeting technology.   The virtual meeting platform is also perfect for one-on-one coaching and pipeline reviews – it affords the manager the opportunity to really investigate each deal in the pipeline and coach the rep on how to move it forward.

In summary:  Your sales meeting – whether face to face or virtual, is your platform of sales management excellence. Excellent leader, excellent sales meetings. Mediocre manager, mediocre sales meetings.

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