As a sales leader for a large, nation-wide business, you know that all members of your team don’t often interact with each other, or even know who their coworkers are.
While team-wide accomplishments are probably announced to everyone, individual teams in one region may not be aware of the successes of their coworkers in another region and how they all work together to help your organization meet their sales goals.
National sales meetings solve this issue, as they unify your sales team by gathering them all in one place, once a year. This post will describe national sales meetings, outline best practices for organizing in-person and virtual gatherings, and give examples of high-quality national sales meeting themes.
What is a national sales meeting?
National sales meetings are annual meetings where sales representatives across all geographic areas come together to discuss successes from the previous year. Sales leaders also outline plans and priorities for the coming year and detail objectives for sales teams to follow when planning their quarterly workloads.
With all employees in one place, sales leaders have the unique opportunity to build trust, collaboration, and motivation with all of their employees at once. National sales meetings inspire excitement within sales representatives; they get a well-rounded view of what is expected of them and understand how their individual successes contribute to overall company success.
Because of this, sales leaders need to structure these meetings so that employees are motivated to return to work and excited about their upcoming tasks.
How To Plan for a National Sales Meeting
Creating a structure for your annual sales meeting is crucial to your gathering’s success, so let's go over three best practices to keep in mind when planning your next meeting.
One of the first things you should do when planning for your national sales meeting is to understand the reason for your meeting. Yes, you’ll be presenting on higher-level content like summaries of your sales team's successes over the past year, but what else?
For example, say your company is hoping to increase sales by 10% at the end of the year. As a result, your national sales meeting objective may be to make sales employees aware of how they will make this happen and the weekly, quarterly, or monthly benchmarks they should follow when planning their workdays.
Gaining clarity on your objectives early on then makes it easier to create a meeting agenda structured around motivating your sales employees to help the company meet these objectives.
Set a Schedule
Your national sales meeting agenda should include sessions that will inform employees about the importance of meeting these goals and teaching them the strategies to do so.
For example, maybe your sales team will begin working with a new product that will streamline their sales workflows and make it easier to close more deals. Maybe you’ll recruit non-sales product employees from your company to explain how to use the new tool and have them host small group breakout sessions where salespeople have the opportunity to use it and ask questions.
Either way, the sessions at your conference should equip employees with the tools they need to reach yearly company goals.
Make It Exciting
In addition to training sessions and goal setting, one of the main reasons for hosting a national sales meeting is to unite your employees. You’ll want to plan for events that will allow them to meet each other and get excited about the people they work with.
These sessions don’t necessarily have to be in line with meeting objectives. Common team-building events include networking sessions, small breakout room discussions, happy hours, lunches and dinners, and games.
There are times when in-person meetings pose a challenge for sales leaders. Meeting team members virtually is a lot different from in-person meetings, but, fortunately, there are various tools that can be used to ensure that virtual meetings are just as exciting regardless of the circumstances.
How To Plan for a Virtual National Sales Meeting
It’s still possible to have impactful virtual meetings while following health and safety regulations. Just like in-person meetings, pivoting to a virtual event follows the same structure of outlining objectives early on, creating a meeting agenda, and incorporating exciting activities for employees.
While you’re still going to be outlining objectives, doing this earlier than normal will help you figure out how to communicate these objectives virtually. It may be more challenging for your employees to understand objectives and translate them to their everyday workloads, so coming up with additional ways to make expectations explicitly clear may take more time.
In addition, starting earlier makes it easier to troubleshoot possible struggles that may come from online meetings. For example, if audio goes out during an in-person session, an IT team is available to replace microphones and figure out alternative solutions. If this happens virtually, there’s not much that can be done besides waiting to see if the issue gets resolved or not.
You may want to figure out plans of action ahead of time for these types of issues, like maybe appointing two speakers per session so someone can take over should technical difficulties arise.
During virtual meetings, technology is your ally, as it will provide you with all the tools necessary to run your meeting. Nowadays, there are various video conferencing services to use, like Zoom, to host your meetings. These services have multiple interactive features you can incorporate into your sessions, like chat functions, breakout rooms, and hand-raising buttons so participants can ask questions without interrupting.
Acknowledge the Differences
You and your sales employees likely know that a virtual meeting will be different than an in-person one, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that. If you’ve planned early, outlined your objectives, and figured out the technical tools that will help you ensure your meeting is still exciting, let your employees know.
If you’re pivoting to a virtual meeting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledge this. Since national sales meetings are exciting and fun for those who attend, letting your sales team know that you’re still planning on hosting such an event may reduce stress.
Whether virtual or in-person, one of the key factors behind hosting a successful national sales meeting is choosing a unifying theme.
Themes and Ideas for National Sales Meeting
An effective national sales meeting theme educates, celebrates, and motivates your employees. The theme should be related to the meeting’s overarching objectives and help attendees gain clarity surrounding the meeting’s purpose.
We’ve compiled a list of themes and ideas for virtual and in person national sales meetings sorted into three categories: motivational, growth, and team building themes.
Motivational themes get sales teams motivated and excited about upcoming goals, as they build anticipation and excitement for the new year.
- Leading the Pack: This theme can be used for sales meetings focused on emphasizing how your company is or is becoming an industry leader. The meeting can touch on how you got there and address the overall objective of holding steady in that position.
- Bigger, Better, Stronger: For meetings that are focused on how sales leaders and their employees will improve upon existing sales processes for an upcoming successful sales year.
- Let’s Do It: If your sales team could not hit targets last year, this theme can be used to motivate teams to improve in the upcoming year. It’s honest and candid, and sales teams may appreciate having a clear view of expectations.
Growth themes are focused on inspiring individual and team development.
- Next Level: This theme can be used for meetings focused on raising the bar for the new year. It can be used for sales teams having an overhaul of specific processes and how new products, campaigns, and strategies will grow and change.
- No Limits: If your sales team has had a break-out year, this theme can focus on sharing those successes with your team and detail how you’ll continue on the same path.
- World of Opportunities: This theme can be used for a company expanding and creating new partnerships that will help sales teams succeed.
Team Building Themes
Team building themes are about harnessing all regional sales teams’ collective power.
- Hall of Fame: This theme can be used to celebrate high-performing teams and individuals from the previous year. Meeting sessions can include panel discussions with highlighted individuals who give motivational talks and outline their best practices for success.
- The Power of Us: [your company name]: Sales leaders can use this theme for meetings focused on the collective success of all sales teams.
- In It Together: Used for sales meetings focused on working towards common goals, like raising revenue by 6% by the end of the year.
Plan a Successful National Sales Meeting
A national sales meeting motivates all regional sales employees to succeed in their positions. These meetings will give them an overview of yearly company goals and the work they need to do as individuals to help the company succeed.
If you take the time to plan a sales meeting that clearly relates to your overall business objectives and is focused around a singular theme, you’ll give employees an enjoyable experience that will leave them motivated to return to work.