As organizations conduct process of planning their upcoming annual sales meetings, we thought we’d share a few lessons learned we’ve picked up along the way from working with our clients. Four elements that you need to take notice when planning a sale meetings.
1) Entertainment activities
For better or worse, many participants at an Annual Sales Meeting have come to expect to be entertained. This can be a valuable opportunity for the team to get together and blow-off steam, while taking away a positive memory from the event.
This is a great objective, but it is often combined in an ill-fated attempt to do too many things – e.g. motivate, entertain, team-build and train – all at the same time. Our suggestion is to keep any entertainment separate from other training and information sessions.
2) Team building
Team building activities all too often get the brunt of jokes regarding annual sales meetings. While these sessions are scheduled with the best of intentions, participants are often suspect of anything designed to coerce them into working better together.
If Team Building is one of the objectives of the program, ensure it is well vetted, consistently receives high-marks by participants, and is tailored to the unique culture of the organization.
A poorly designed and executed program put on by the hotel or a third party can actually have negative effects on the overall program. If a quality team-building program isn’t available, then the organization might be better off giving everyone the afternoon to seek recreation (golf, hiking, sightseeing, etc) and let the team-building become more organic than forced.
For many sales teams, the annual sales meeting may be the only opportunity they have to meet face to face and network during the year. The value of these interactions should not be underestimated.
Often, these sessions are where participants informally exchange best practices, support and coach one-another and discuss what they’re seeing in the marketplace. Our suggestion is that networking should be reinforced and supported throughout the conference by providing many opportunities for the participants to interact through small group working sessions, break-out groups, and allowing informal networking time between sessions.
In addition, the event planners should provide for a means for everyone to stay connected after the session (via social media, participant lists, internal applications, Chatter, etc). Building on the sales professional’s desire to connect and interact can have a profound impact on the organizations ability to adapt and grow.
4) Set up a goal
Setting and discussing annual sales goals for the year is a traditional activity conducted in a sales meeting. Whether done at the divisional, regional or team level, this allows for each group to really dive into their plans for the year, discuss as a group and commit individually to what they will do to achieve the desired results.
That's all the lessons that we picked up from what we have done for our customers.
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