Calculate how much ineffective sales meetings can cost you.

There are two types of meetings sales reps will typically find themselves in:

Customer-Facing Meetings: These are the meetings that sales reps thrive for, where weeks, months or even years of marketing, cold prospecting emails and voicemails lead. Sometimes they happen over the phone, sometimes over video conferencing and for field sales reps, many of them happen in person.

Internal Sales Meetings: These are meetings where sales managers and directors gather their reps together, and share customer insights, sales content updates, major deals that week, product pushes, etc. For most organizations, these meetings are necessary and can equip reps to become better salespeople with the help of their colleagues.

When you think of ineffective meetings, you’re probably thinking of internal sales meetings. Many salespeople find internal meetings redundant, overlong and unnecessary. Not that this is unique to sales; sales reps can join the ranks of millions of workers worldwide who hate internal meetings. Who hasn’t been in a meeting and thought, “Couldn’t you have emailed this to me?” Or in a standing weekly meeting where people showed up only because it was on their calendars, and not because there was a clear agenda that week?

That said, it’s not a good idea to just stop meetings altogether. Forbes offers a few tips for successful sales meetings, including:

  • Building culture and motivating the team through positivity
  • Keeping updates on supply-chain and volume to a minimum; that can be restricted to email
  • Getting input from various team members (You wouldn’t ignore the customer in a customer-facing sales meeting!)

Forbes suggests a “magic length” of a “maximum” of 75 minutes for a weekly or bi-weekly sales meeting. Some meetings add value to team members and the company, but only if they’re efficient and well thought out.

Are Your Meetings Worth It?

Sales managers need to be very conscious of filling their reps’ time with non-sales tasks. Sales reps already find themselves spending hours on administrative tasks like adding to their CRM. The first step to seeing whether your sales meetings are worth it? Find out how much they’re worth.

Harvard Business Review put together a sales meeting calculator that helps you do just that. You put in how long the meeting lasts, how many people are attending and how much each of them is making. As an example, I put in a 15 minute meeting with 20 attendees, most of whom were average earners ($70k annually), a few of whom were higher ($150k). That nets a cost of about $300 over just 15 minutes. If you’re at the “magic length,” your weekly sales meetings are costing you $78,000 a year. For just over an hour a week. And that’s not even counting the potential money sales reps could’ve earned in that time that would be lost.

Once you have a hard number, start weighing the benefits of meetings and how much of the meeting is necessary for your reps. You can use the HBR calculator to then edit and compare your new meeting. You might find much of your meetings are expendable updates, whether new sales content or supply-chain, that don’t require so much of your reps’ time.

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