Meetings are one of those necessary evils of medical sales management. Nobody likes them, but everybody needs them. Whether you’re in laboratory sales, medical device sales, biotechnology sales, or pharmaceutical sales, well-run meetings can improve the performance of your team, and consistently bad ones can make them dread seeing your face. To make your medical sales meetings as effective, successful, and pain-free as possible, here are 7 tips for you:
Have an agenda. Don’t just have a meeting to have a meeting. Write down a list of what you’re going to cover, and stick with it. Excellent meeting plans include things like brainstorming, action-planning, and decision-making. The more interactive the meeting, the better. With sales folks a competitive activity gets the blood flowing.
Don’t waste time with information that can be e-mailed, like product updates, information sharing…you get the idea. The only exception: If you have something that makes this information fresh – like a great guest speaker, the actual equipment, etc.
Limit the meeting time. Except in extreme circumstances, meetings should have breaks that are planned and that give the attendees time to check voicemail, return a few calls, stretch…
Limit the speaker time. Don’t let the most long-winded person in the room have free rein. That’s a sure-fire way to make every sales rep hate coming to your meetings. Manage your meeting so that it keeps moving at a pace that keeps everyone interested and engaged.
Keep things positive. Insist on a supportive environment that doesn’t tear people and their ideas down. Debate issues, don’t attack people. We don’t all have to be NAPSR cheerleaders, but we do have to show some respect. Group meetings are not the time to give critical feedback to individuals. Treat others as you would want to be treated.
Have someone take notes on your laptop as you go, and e-mail everyone the minutes immediately. And demand attention: no one else should be cruising their computer or checking their Blackberry. If the meeting is short, or has a definite end time, it shouldn’t be a great sacrifice.
Include some sales training in your meeting. It doesn’t have to be a long video presentation…it can be ten minutes for a new technique…a quick tip…a recommendation for a great book…you get the idea.
Enthusiasm for your meetings will go way up if you can consistently provide some “value” for your sales reps.
Peggy McKee is the owner and chief recruiter for PHC Consulting, a recruiting firm providing top sales talent, sales management, marketing and service / support personnel to some of the most prominent high growth companies in the medical and laboratory products industry for over 10 years!