Investing in a well-executed sales conference can easily take an organization from diminishing growth and audience reach to booming sales and profit. Sales conferences ideally should have everyone physically meet at the same location. However in light of the current situation, don’t let not being able to physically get together stop you from implementing these ideas. With today’s amazing technology, as a second option, effective meetings may also be held virtually. Regardless if you choose to have your team meet live or virtually, they should ideally include the entire sales team, including leadership all the way up to the CEO of the company.
As we enter a new decade, we have noticed an interesting trend. Businesses with aggressive sales goals consistently have group strategy meetings, and have been branching into novel and unique strategies to execute memorable and productive sales conferences.
The biggest factor in having your team gather as a whole is the tremendous chemistry and synergy that typically results when conferences are done right. You want your team to leave energized, and confident that they have the tools and are well positioned to meet and exceed their quotas.
ISC’s team of sales recruiters have rounded up 10 of the most unique and productive strategies for a successful sales conference .
Curious? Read on!
1. Stay Laser Focused on SALES!
Investing in having your entire sales team gather in one place can pay off big dividends, provided you do it right. While you may feel tempted to cover everything from metrics to supply-chain issues and volume updates, it’s found to be more productive overall if you concentrate your efforts and guide the discussions strictly on driving sales.
The key to success in having a productive sales conference, is to strategically plan out how to maximize everyone’s time together.
It is always smart to start off on the most positive, high energy news possible, to ignite your meeting with a BANG! Enthusiastically share any and all good news.
There are always going to be WINS that you can celebrate together. Nothing infuses a sales meeting more than celebrating a success story, right off the bat. If there are any major topics or ‘elephants in the room’, address them at the very beginning, as opposed to waiting until the end of the get- together. As always, transparency and candor ultimately is the best policy.
2. Meet in Small Groups
Consider breaking the day up into meetings of the smallest groups possible. Depending on the size of your organization, it would be smart to have regions meet separately, prior to a final meeting with everyone combined. Research shows that anything more than 30 people in a meeting takes away from the majority of attendee’s feelings of individual contribution and diminishes the chances of arriving at a consensus as expeditiously as possible. Think of good questions that have open ended answers to have all groups answer independently, prior to sharing as a whole.
Some good questions we have seen recently include asking teams what their biggest success story is, and also suggesting that everyone do an ‘autopsy’ on a failed deal, to hopefully keep from repeating a mistake.
3. There is MAGIC in creating various teams!
One of the biggest gains that you can get when hosting a sales conference is the wonderful synergy that is created. Maximize that by putting people together in unique groups that normally do not have heavy interaction with each other. Consider putting a group of peers together from different geographic regions. Or maybe create a group of an entry level, DSM, and RSM, but all 3 from different regions, to brainstorm on the sales process.
Be creative when putting different people together. Consider combining different vertical teams together, and perhaps different geographic regions. Also think about putting all of your Team Leaders together for a brain storming session. Be inventive in combining small groups of people together to brainstorm on best methods, challenges, etc.
By putting people together that typically do not interact, you may well be pleasantly surprised at the different options that come out of those meetings.
The biggest and most important task in creating these collaborations is to provide clear and detailed direction as to what you want accomplished. Put serious thought into giving them all exercises to brainstorm about. What has worked well, what has given them the biggest challenges, etc.? Since the goal is getting good feedback, there is nothing wrong with sending out some questions in advance, to give the attendees a head start on thinking about the topic. It is much better to get valuable insights as opposed to putting someone on a timer and expecting gold.
By asking each attendee to come prepared with answers to some strategic questions, and then having them discuss everything, you can take advantage of having them all together to create symbiosis in coming up with the best solutions possible.
Being in a neutral, new environment, and encouraging lively discussion on pre-planned topics typically produces some fantastic ideas.
Prepare for success by crafting some key questions that have open ended answers to really dive into your team’s current methodology, and brainstorm on how things can be improved, every step of the way.
4. Celebrate the Wins!!
Any sales organization is, or should be, numbers driven. Ensure that everyone knows the metrics, and then celebrate those that meet and exceed those goals.
Both in the smaller groups and also when the entire team is convened as a whole, place a great deal of emphasis on celebrating exceptional results! Also be cognizant that you want to be inclusive as possible, and point out wins at every single level of your organization, from entry level all the way up to your VP of Sales.
By recognizing performance, your employees will feel appreciated, thereby earning a boost in motivation and consequent productivity. Over time, your sales team will look forward to each sales conference. This will also translate to a greater interest, input, knowledge absorption and prolonged retention, as well as efficiency.
5. Clearly Delineate and Share Your Agenda Beforehand
To ensure your sales meeting is not only effective, but also seamlessly streamlined and organized, we recommend delineating and sharing your agenda with the sales team in advance.
As everyone gets a chance to browse through the highlights that will be covered in the meeting, they’ll be able to prepare themselves mentally for a directional meeting beforehand.
6. Dive into Your Competition
With sales becoming increasingly competitive, it’s essential that you keep track of the competition and incorporate insights into the sales meeting. By touching upon winning patterns and strategies implemented by your competitors, you’ll gain insight into what works better.
If their metrics are better than your company’s, browse through do’s and don’ts to arm your sales team with the best strategies possible to succeed. Not only will they feel compelled to equalize the competition, but they’ll also incorporate similar styles and strategies into their work.
The reality is that all sales is ultimately based around competition. Winners acknowledge that and address how to be # 1.
7. Incorporate a Personal Growth Activity into Each Sales Meeting
Set some time aside for a personal growth activity to help your team polish their selling skills. Whether you opt for a guest speaker or opt for a hands-on activity, your team will pick up beneficial skills along the way, thereby boosting growth for your brand.
8. Don’t Let the Meeting Drag on to Long!
For the vast number of companies, two days is the ideal length to have a sales conference. The first day can be focused on breaking out team meetings, and then getting the entire group together, to go over company goals, provide insights into the future, and reward wins.
Take advantage of the 2nd day to do something fun that also serves as team building. There are so many incredible team building companies that focus exclusively on creating memorable events for companies. A simple google search will provide a plethora of options.
Not only will the short time duration keep everyone attentive and engaged, but it will also prevent the meeting from steering into hollow and fruitless directions. With everyone hyper focused and enthusiastic, the meeting will prove to be highly productive, thereby boosting brand growth and profit in the long run.
9. Conclude the Sales Meeting with Winning Action Steps
Concluding your sales meeting on a high note will make all the difference in leaving a lasting impact on the sales team. Praise the efforts of your team and reiterate the agenda.
We also recommend closing the meeting by highlighting specific action steps to be taken in the following weeks and months. Demarcate short-term action steps from long-term action steps to give the sales team a clear idea of how the company will move forward to optimize performance and business growth.
And of course, ‘inspect what you expect’, so make sure to assign specific people to follow up on those steps to ensure implementation.
10. Ask for Feedback from each Attending Sales Member
Provide a way to provide ANONYMOUS feedback regarding the conference. What did the attendees find most helpful, and conversely what was a waste of time? Be open to really listening to what is shared, and commit to improving future meetings.
While training your sales team and holding effective meetings is essential in boosting your brand, it ultimately comes down to recruiting and employing skilled and motivated employees. As one of my favorite trainers often says, you cannot pour a gallon’s worth of information, into a quarter container.
International Search Consultants has been a leader in executive recruiting since 1999. Please reach out to us whenever you have a critical fill hiring need.
Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants. Ann can be reached at or direct dial at 888-866-7276.
Kara Onorato is Director of ISC’s team of Sales Recruiters. Kara can be reached via e-mail at or direct dial at 877-316-6249.