Sales meetings are essential to the success of a sales team…when done right. But a poorly managed, disorganized meeting isn’t just inconvenient – it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
Over the course of my career, I’ve learned how to run productive 20-minute sales meetings – not anymore. My system allows us to cover all the bases without spending too much time on a single agenda item.
During the internal sales meeting, members of the sales team meet on a regular basis to discuss organizational goals, open sales deals, and company announcements.
For my team, the overarching question for these meetings is, “How can you advance on each trade as fast as you can and stay on track toward your goal?”
Our sales meetings have two main focus points:
1. Ask about transaction statuses.
The salesperson and I are running every deal in our CRM that’s about to close. They give me a status – eg if we’re trying to sell to ACME, I’d ask the rep if they’ve reached out recently.
If they don’t, I’ll ask a few simple questions about the deal. This usually instills some urgency about contacting the prospect. Next, we’ll cover deals in the early stages of the selling process.
2. Track the progress of outreach.
Each delegate’s goal is to reach 150 people per week via email or phone. During our meetings, I ask them how many emails and calls they’ve logged since our last meeting.
If necessary, look at the data for an exact number. There is a good chance your delegates will either overestimate or underestimate the amount of work they do.
This is how we do it:
Our representatives use this Google Sheets template to keep track of their work. We’ve set up conditional formatting rules so that if the salesperson hits a target (say 200), the cell turns green.
Colors change depending on how far a person is from the target. It is a gradual progression from red to green.
Results have improved since our salespeople started following this process. We have also seen an increase in the number of meetings they book by filling out these documents.
Before we did that, we gave the sales team a goal – for example, book two to three meetings per week.
Our new structure helps actors see exactly what they have to do each day. This makes implementation simpler and easier.
More importantly, it helps us keep our meetings short. All the information we need can be found in the document, so our meetings are closed on the most important matters.
To see a full breakdown of this document and get it as a template, watch this video.
Any effective sales meeting begins with a focused and intentional agenda. Let’s take a closer look at the value and necessity behind this key ingredient.
Weekly sales meeting agenda
The agenda is the heart of any productive sales meeting. Having a clear and well-structured definition will help your representatives understand exactly What information can they expect to get out of a particular meeting.
For most sales teams, weekly sales meetings are a place to discuss current sales deals, goals, and projects. These items should occupy the largest part of your agenda. Here’s a suggestion of what your choice might look like:
- Review the numbers from last week.
- Planning for this week.
- Answer any questions the sales representatives have.
- Discussion items (assign specific tasks, etc.).
Once you set your agenda, send a calendar invitation to your team so they know when and where the meeting is taking place. Use the following tips to keep your meeting on track when the time is right.
How to run a sales meeting
- Set a goal.
- Share the agenda.
- Set meeting standards and set expectations.
- Facilitate the conversation to stay on track.
- Ask delegates to provide relevant statements before the meeting.
- Share the action items and next steps.
1. Set a goal.
Setting clear goals helps keep sales meetings short and focused. Remember that you’re asking your team members for their time – respect and acknowledge that by not taking too much of it.
So what is the purpose of your sales meetings? It could be any of the following:
- Make everyone informed.
- Review project plans.
- Define and monitor key performance indicators.
- Solve problems and tackle challenges.
Ideally, the sales meeting will have one goal – but that can be difficult to achieve. However, as long as you deal with fewer than three goals during each session, you can conduct effective meetings reliably and consistently.
You can use the meeting agenda template to set these goals and share them with your team in advance so everyone knows what to expect at the meeting.
2. Share the agenda.
We’ve already touched on how concise and well-planned agendas are important when it comes to running effective sales meetings – but just creating an agenda for meeting together and sticking to it won’t do you much good.
You need to share these plans with your team ahead of time. When your attendees know the topic of your meeting, they will be more willing and more inclined to engage in a meaningful discussion.
Provide an agenda in the calendar and invite them to the meeting. This gives the actors time to do their homework, so they come up with relevant ideas and questions. Ideally, you’ll create a consistent agenda with updated information for your meetings each week – this kind of continuity will allow your meetings to run as efficiently as possible.
3. Establish meeting standards and define expectations.
Your team must have an agreed-upon set of standards and expectations that everyone adheres to in order to maximize productivity.
Make sure that meeting rules outline the roles and responsibilities of each person present to help reduce the chaos that large teams are usually prone to. Here are some criteria and expectations that may be useful to your sales team:
- Sales team meetings will start and end on time.
- All team members are expected to come prepared to discuss the topics of the meeting agenda.
- Team members to stay on track.
- We will engage in one conversation at a time.
Based on your sales team’s dynamic and current meeting style, you can adjust these forecasts as needed.
4. Facilitate the conversation to keep things on track.
We have all attended meetings that have gone a little off track – those in which the agenda was not followed and the main objectives of the meeting were not addressed.
It might go without saying, but you need to do what you can to avoid this kind of mess and the lack of productivity that comes with it. If you want to keep things in perspective, ask a facilitator to oversee your meetings to ensure your representatives stay focused and discuss the agenda items at hand.
What if a team member brings up an important topic? If it is related to the agenda, address it. But put a time limit on these types of discussions, and be prepared to quickly get back to the main points of the meeting.
You can also implement a “lounge” where a team member writes important topics for the team to follow up on at a later time.
5. Ask delegates to provide relevant statements before the meeting.
Does your agenda include information that needs to be prepared or provided by salespeople? If so, make sure there is a process for how to collect this information beforehand.
This might include having a standard set that you share with delegates asking them to update their information the day before the meeting. When you have the materials you need from delegates ahead of time, you’re not cutting out precious meeting time looking for files or data.
6. Share action items and next steps.
You have successfully managed an effective sales meeting with your team – congratulations. But what happens when it ends?
A sales meeting should always end with a business plan. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t really be productive. Your representatives should stay away from an achievable goal. Then, at the next meeting, you can discuss whether they have achieved this.
Here are some examples:
- Get the client at the proposal stage.
- Land with a fixed budget.
- Determine and book a meeting with the decision maker.
Be sure to incorporate these items into your next meeting’s agenda for continuity.
Preparing for an internal sales meeting
1. Determine whether this meeting needs Happen or occur.
“This could have been an email.”
These six words can frustrate your team members and undermine their faith in your management if said consistently. Some information does not take time out of everyone’s schedule to sit down and talk.
When you think about calling a meeting, think about whether your ads are constructive enough, and urgent enough Need to be transmitted instantly, and cannot be effectively transmitted in text or via a video service like Loom. If you decide that your messages meet these criteria, call a meeting. If they don’t, consider sending an email.
2. Know what you are trying to cross.
Every meeting you connect to should have a clear goal. You need to understand what you want to say, get that on your agenda, and be prepared to keep your discussion brief and informational. Your team’s time is precious – make sure you don’t waste it.
3. Practice any sections that do not require irregular discussion.
If your meeting is about specific business items, be sure to research what you are going to say to clarify them. Take some time to practice these items.
Like the point above, this is all about time management. Get rid of as much fat as possible from your meeting – that starts with minimizing any space to walk around with practice and preparation.
4. Be prepared for time constraints.
Effective internal sales meetings are usually time-limited, and if you expect your team members to plan around them, honor their schedules. This means setting and sticking to strict time limits.
Try to load the main aspects of your agenda up front, and let the less important elements back down a bit. If you notice you’re coming on time, be prepared to break things off – and either save the ground you haven’t covered for next time or email that information.
5. Invite the right people.
Does the information you cover in your meeting have legitimate implications for all attendees? Would your sales organization benefit from having the team members you tap into the room for your meeting?
These are the questions you need to consider before inviting someone to your meeting. As we’ve demonstrated, internal sales meetings can be a frustrating drain on time when making a mistake—with the potential to have a negative impact on morale—so make sure you invite only members of your team who can benefit from them when you’re preparing.
How often should you have a sales meeting?
There is no definitive answer to this question. The optimal frequency of sales meetings depends on factors such as the size of your sales organization, how your team is performing, what you want from your meetings, and your company culture.
Effective sales management is a matter of striking a balance between trust and direction. Scheduling too many meetings may make you seem arrogant, but not booking too few may put your team’s performance off you.
As we touched on earlier in this article, weekly is often the place to go when it comes to sales meetings. But they can’t be too much or a waste of time – if they continue to do so, you will waste everyone’s time and your team’s morale may be damaged. So follow these tips to make your meetings short and productive.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 4, 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.