The Key to Improving the Effectiveness of Sales Meetings and Team Building Retreats0

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The Pipeline guest post by Anne Thornley-Brown

Sales meetings and team building retreats can be important vehicles for developing effective sales teams. A few of the benefits include an opportunity to:

  • paint a clear picture of the strategic direction and corporate culture for the company.
  • obtain feedback from the employees who interface directly with clients before implementing rolling out key initiatives .
  • win support for key corporate, sales and marketing initiatives.
  • break down silos and improve cross-functional team work between sales and marketing.
  • brainstorm solutions to organizational issues and sales challenges.

Missing the Mark

Unfortunately, ..sales meetings and team building retreats often miss the mark and they are perceived as time wasters by members of the sales team.

Many sales meetings are uninspiring gatherings where one presenter after another flips PowerPoint slides and drones on while participants try their best to stay awake. Far too often, childish and frivolous recreational activities are used as substitutes for real team building. No wonder It is not unusual to hear members of the sales team murmuring:

“Work is piling up on my desk. I need to be on the road making sales. I don’t have time for this.”

The main reasons this happens is that:

  • the steps for designing effective sales meeting and team building retreats have been forgotten
  • many of the essential ingredients for effective sales meetings and team building retreats are missing

Essential Ingredients for Designing Effective Sales Meetings

The strategies in my blog post Essential Elements for Designing Effective Team Building apply equally to sales meetings. Here are 5 of them:

1. Short conference call or meeting with CEO.

4. Content outline reviewed and signed off by the CEO.

5. Kick things off with a CEO briefing.

7. Checkpoint meeting with CEO and corporate contact at end of first day (or half day for a full day session).

8. Allow sufficient time for debriefing and application exercise.

Consult the original blog post for the others.

Make Sure Senior Executives Aren’t MIA

Notice how the role of the CEO or his or her designate is critical. It’s not enough for senior executives to just show up on the day of the sale meetings and read from pre-prepared slides. Executive engagement is often the missing ingredient when designing sales meetings and team building for sales teams. Participants perceive their lack of buy-in. As a result, the session comes off as time waster and an irrelevant exercise that is divorced from the day-to-day realities that members of the sales team confront.

Team Building Guide for Executives outlines the specific steps that sales executives can take to design targeted and relevant sales meetings and team building retreats that hit the mark with sales teams.


Anne Thornley-Brown, MBA, is the President of Toronto based Executive Oasis International. Anne is an experienced management consultant and team building specialist. She has designed and facilitated executive retreats and team building sessions for sales teams from 16 countries around the world including Canada, USA, Malaysia, Dubai, Egypt, Barbados, Singapore.

Her company’s Apprentice inspired team building session Visexecutaries: Seizing Opportunities in Our Shifting Corporate Landscape is directly relevant to executive and sales teams.

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