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Sales meetings are crucial to a sales team’s success … provided of course that they’re run properly. But a poorly-run, disorganised meeting isn’t just inconvenient, it’s a waste of everyone’s time and effort.

During an internal sales meeting, team members typically discuss organisational goals, open sales deals, and company announcements, but the primary question for these meetings should be, “How can you progress each deal as quickly as possible and stay on track towards your target?”

With this goal in mind, sales meetings should have two main focus points:

1. Assessment of current deal statuses.

Firstly, run through every deal that’s approaching closure. Ask the sales person for a status; when was the last contact made and what was the outcome and agreed next steps. If there hasn’t been any recent contact ask a few simple questions about the deal to instil some urgency into taking action, and quickly.

Then we’ll move on to deals in the earlier stages of the sales process.

2. Track progress on lead generation.

Every sales person should have a target for reaching out to new contacts every week by email or phone. During the meeting, ask how many emails and calls have been logged since the last meeting.

If necessary, look at the data to get an exact number. It’s likely your reps will either overestimate or underestimate how much work they’re doing.

Tracking this activity as well as tracking opportunities and closed sales helps the team see exactly what they have to do every day. It makes executing much simpler and easier.

More importantly, it helps keep meetings short.

Over and above these objectives, it’s important to have a structured agenda. This is the heartbeat of your meeting. Having a clear agenda for your meetings helps your team understand exactly what information they can expect to walk away from the meeting with.

For most sales teams, regular sales meetings are a place to discuss current sales deals, targets, and projects. These items should take up the bulk of your agenda, so the typical flow for the meeting would include:

Reviewing numbers from last week.
Planning for this week.
Answering any questions sales reps have.
Discussion items (assigning specific tasks, etc).
Agreed actions

Keep your meeting on-track doesn’t need to be difficult, but you need to avoid being side-tracked by topics that aren’t on the agenda and over running so we start by setting out from the start what’s going to be discussed. I’d suggest having no more than 5 or 6 items on the agenda:

1. Meeting objective.

Setting a purpose helps keep sales meetings short and to the point. You are asking your team members for their time, and you need to respect and acknowledge that by keeping the meeting relatively short.

So what’s the purpose of your sales meetings? It could be any of the following:

Getting everyone up to speed.
Reviewing project plans.
Setting and monitoring KPIs.
Resolving issues and tackling challenges.

Ideally, a sales meeting would have a single goal. But that can be hard to achieve. As long as you’re tackling less than three objectives, you can still have an effective meeting.

2. Share the agenda.

We’ve already discussed the importance of a good agenda when it comes to running effective sales meetings. However, sharing your agenda with your team before the meeting is key. When your attendees know what your meeting is about, they are more likely to be prepared to engage in meaningful discussion.

Provide an agenda in the calendar invite for a meeting. This gives your team time to do their homework, so they’ll come with ideas and relevant questions. Your meetings should follow a consistent agenda with updated information every week for maximum efficiency.

3. Create meeting norms and establish expectations.

For maximum productivity, your team should have a set of agreed-upon meeting norms and expectations that everyone abides by. These meeting should outline the roles and responsibilities of everyone in attendance and should minimise the chaos that large teams can be especially susceptible to. These might stipulate that:

Sales team meetings will start and end on-time.

All team members are expected to come prepared to discuss meeting agenda topics.

Team members are 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 expectations as needed.

4. Facilitate the conversation to keep things on track.

We’ve all attended meetings where the agenda isn’t followed, and the main objective of the meeting isn’t addressed. Ideally, there should be a facilitator overseeing your meeting to keep everyone on task and discussing the agenda items at hand. Perhaps that’s you, or perhaps you ask each team member to facilitate meetings in turn.

If a team member raises a critical topic, and if it’s related to the agenda, address it. But set a time limit for those discussions and quickly return to the current agenda.

If it’s not related to the agenda, keep a record of important topics for the team to follow up on at a later date.

5. Ask your team to provide relevant data before the meeting.

Does your agenda include information that needs to be prepared or presented? If so, make sure you have a process in place for how you can gather this information beforehand. This might include having a standard slide deck that you share with the team asking them to update their information the day before the meeting, or perhaps it’s a standard report that needs to be completed and circulated prior to the meeting.

When you have the materials you need ahead of time, you aren’t cutting into precious meeting time looking for files or data.

6. Agree action items and next steps.

A sales meeting should always end with a plan for action. If it doesn’t, it’s not truly productive. Your team must walk away with an achievable goal in mind. Then, in the next meeting, you can discuss whether or not they achieved it.

Examples might include:

Getting the client to proposal stage.
Achieving a defined weekly target.
Identifying and booking a meeting or call with the decision maker in a target account.

Following a standard process and agenda helps the team become familiar with what’s expected and as they progress through the week’s activity, they’ll already be thinking about what they’ve achieved and where they’re finding challenges that can be discussed at the next team meeting.

Keeping meetings short and productive is the key to keeping them engaging, interesting and worthwhile.

If you struggle to keep make your meetings short and effective, then perhaps we can help.

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