A sales team meeting is led by the sales manager and brings together the people responsible for delivering your business’ sales objectives to review progress and priorities. Getting the format, frequency, and content of these meetings right can make the difference between achieving your sales revenue target or failing to deliver and putting your business at risk. We’ve outlined the seven steps to running an effective sales meeting.
1. Have a Clear Purpose & Agenda
There’s little that is more annoying to sales team members than when sales managers have a standing sales meeting without a clear purpose or when it feels like meeting “just to meet.” Make sure your meeting has a clear purpose. For example, some meetings are designed to review performance and progress toward set goals, while others may involve goal planning and some might be reserved for specific training.
No matter what the purpose of the meeting is, share the agenda beforehand via email. If you expect your sales reps to come prepared with specific information, such as a status report on open deals, make sure to ask them a few days beforehand.
A few common types of sales team meetings include:
- Deal opportunity forecasting meetings
- Training and coaching meetings
- Operational sales meetings
- Performance assessment meetings
Develop a Sales Meeting Format
Ideally, sales meetings are conducted face-to-face. If this isn’t possible, you can use video conferencing or conference calls. For many businesses, face-to-face meetings aren’t possible due to the geographic spread of the team—especially as remote workplaces become more common. However, no matter where your team is based, it’s important to have regular meetings to keep everyone on the same page and foster transparency and rapport.
2. Create Clear Sales Meeting Expectations
Sales meetings should be mandatory to make sure everyone is up-to-date on team priorities and goals, so ensure everyone knows they are expected to be there unless they are on paid time-off or sick leave. If they are, sales managers can record meetings for absent team members to watch later or give them an update afterward.
Team members should also be expected to participate in sales team meetings rather than merely be present. For example, each person should provide an update on the status of their deals. Another great expectation is that no one brings a phone or computer to the meeting, or at least that cell phones are put away for the duration of the meeting.
A computer may be necessary for reviewing reports or taking notes, but that should be the exception. Team members should also be expected to be transparent when talking about sales deals and focus on collaboration over competition. Finally, meetings should start on time and end on time to show respect for everyone’s valuable work time during the day.
3. Keep the Conversation on Track
It is the sales manager’s job to keep things on track during the meeting and follow the agenda. However, it’s not uncommon for an agenda item to take up too much time and get the meeting off track. Or, an unrelated issue may come up that throws the agenda off schedule.
If this happens, set up a time to talk about it later rather than dismiss the issue or let the meeting run long. One great way to stay on track is to allow a certain number of minutes to each agenda item and wrap up and move to the next topic once the time is up.
4. Review Progress Toward Goals
In a general sales meeting, one of the most important things your team will tackle is reviewing the progress toward your monthly sales goals. It’s an excellent idea to have each sales rep come to the table with their current won deals, projected won deals, and lost deals. Once you have a good idea of your sales forecast, you can make adjustments.
For example, if it looks like you aren’t close to hitting your monthly revenue goal, you can add more leads to the pipeline in order to create more sales opportunities. If the team is doing better than expected as a whole, you can change your monthly sales goal to a higher number and encourage the team to stretch to meet it.
5. Discuss Challenges & Solutions
Sales meetings offer a good opportunity to collaborate with one another rather than just give status reports. This gives sales reps a chance to talk about deals that are stuck in the pipeline that they can’t seem to move forward or talk about objections from prospective customers.
For example, one sales rep might mention that a promising sales deal seems to have gone cold because it has been over two weeks since they have been able to get in touch with them. Sales managers and other sales reps can give them tips on how to engage the prospect with follow-up email templates or talking about the best time to reach people on the phone.
6. Acknowledge Successes & Recognize High Performers
While the sales team is together during a meeting, it’s the perfect time to talk about successes and recognize high performers. For example, sales managers should give public recognition to sales reps who closed the most deals or brought in the most revenue the previous month.
You can also recognize up-and-coming reps, such as a “most improved” recognition. Consider giving small awards—they don’t have to be expensive. For example, you can print out certificates of achievement, frame them, and present them during the meeting or give out gift cards to a local coffee shop. This also helps keep your sales team motivated.
7. Discuss Next Steps & Key Action Items
Before each sales meeting, designate a person to take meeting notes so you can keep track of what you discussed and record action items. Write down key goals and revenue goals for the next month (or by your next meeting).
You should also outline any new product changes or tools the team will be using and highlight any extra responsibilities for certain team members, such as mentoring new hires. Send out the meeting notes to every team member after each meeting so everyone knows what is expected of them and what they should be working to accomplish before the next sales meeting.
Sales Meeting Tools
There are several sales management tools that can be used to help you have a productive sales meeting. A few of the tools many small businesses use include:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software: This helps sales teams analyze where every deal is in the pipeline. A CRM such as Pipedrive is affordable and helps teams track deals, collaborate, and create accurate sales forecasts.
- Meeting scheduling tools: This helps remove the back and forth of emailing to schedule sales meetings. For example, Calendly connects to your calendars, allowing sales managers to find the best time for the entire sales team to meet.
- Video conferencing tools: For remote teams, video conferencing tools make it easy to meet “face-to-face” without being in the same room. For example, Zoom is an excellent, easy-to-use program that allows video calls, chat, and screen sharing.
- Sales meeting agenda template: We’ve created a sales meeting template you can customize to develop your agendas.
Sales Meeting Best Practices
1. Kick-start Meetings With an Energizer
A simple way to get everyone positively focused in a sales meeting is to have a 60-second energizer at the start of each meeting. For instance, one person could share the most interesting thing that happened on a sales call. This would rotate every week so everyone gets a chance to lead the meeting with an energizer.
2. Use an Egg Timer to Keep Things Moving
If you tend to run over during sales meetings, an egg timer (or smartphone timer) is a great sales management tool to keep your meeting on track. Each sales rep deserves the same amount of time to report and you need to finish on time without cutting anyone short. When the timer goes off, you stop wherever you are and move to the next person.
3. Mix up Your Standard Agenda
The agenda for sales meetings should have standard agenda items, which include status updates for each rep. To keep things interesting, mix up the order each time so that everyone gets a chance to kick off the meeting.
4. Listen More Than You Speak
If you are leading a sales meeting, ask questions, keep things on track, and make note of who you need to follow up with. However, try to avoid lengthy anecdotes or one-to-one conversations, as this just makes the meeting boring and pointless for the rest of the people patiently waiting for their turn.
5. End on Time
If you want your sales reps to respect you and enjoy participating in your meetings, you need to show that you are in control—and this means having the ability to respect other people’s time and end at the scheduled time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often should my team have sales meetings?
This depends on the size of your team and sales culture. If your team communicates regularly outside of meetings, you can probably limit sales meetings to once a month. If you have a remote team or don’t communicate much on a regular basis, consider meeting weekly. Furthermore, you should schedule other sales meetings outside of regular status updates for professional development and goal planning.
How long should a sales meeting last?
Sales meetings should be productive and efficient. Of course, it will depend on how many people are participating, but if you have a clear agenda, a typical sales meeting shouldn’t take more than 30 to 45 minutes.
Who should be involved in sales meetings?
This depends on what type of meeting you are having, but a general sales meeting should involve the sales manager, sales reps, and sales operations team members.
Sales meetings are a critical part of fostering a healthy, transparent sales environment. However, be careful not to have meetings “just to meet.” Each sales meeting should have a clear purpose and agenda, encourage robust participation, build rapport, and end with action items and next steps.