How to Run Effective Sales Meetings

How to Run Effective Sales Meetings

How to Run Effective Sales Meetings

What Is a Sales Meeting?

Meetings with sales representatives, also called sales meetings, are crucial to the sales process because they are designed to help develop products and services.   It’s also a great way for sales professionals can benefit from the experience, knowledge, and talents of their peers. 

Sales meetings take place within a company between sales leaders and sales representatives. Unlike external calls for clients (e.g. sales calls or sales pitches), these meetings are for internal employees and are designed to help them perform their jobs effectively.

Sales leaders typically run meetings and sales representatives attend. The sales manager or leader should emphasize the benefits of product updates, incentives, or how sales reps need to attend the meetings. Updates from leaders could include:

  • Performance of current sales
  • Leaders’ top priorities
  • Competitor insights
  • The team’s next priorities

There are different meeting agendas for different meetings, such as weekly sales meetings, monthly and quarterly reviews, or even annual sales launches, etc. As part of a sales meeting, sales associates should be recognized for their determination and creativity in closing big deals. 

Why sales meetings are important?

Regular sales meetings are important for your team and company for a number of reasons:

  1. They give the manager an opportunity to acknowledge the significant achievements of each salesperson which motivates them to work hard.
  2. They’re great ways to exchange innovative ideas and themes among your salespeople to produce better results and generate more revenue. 
  3. They help reevaluate your team to eliminate stale practices, reassess objectives and implement changes by:
  • Examining the current market situation; 
  • Introducing new products or services; 
  • Overcoming deficiencies in sales figures;
  • Identify challenges and problems in the department;
  • Learning prospecting techniques, making presentations, asking questions, pre-call planning, and other aspects of selling; 
  • Practicing role-playing activities to enhance selling skills
  • Helping team members close more deals better and faster.

Sales Meeting Ideas: Topics & Agendas to Motivate your Team

Using the following ideas for sales meetings will help you stay on track, be respectful of your team, and be as productive as possible in your meetings, no matter what is on your agenda:

1. Introduce sales reps to the sales leader

Teams perform better when members are familiar with each other, so get to know everyone you are interacting with regularly and build relationships with them.

2. Knowledge of new products and services.

As you brainstorm a product/service, you will arm your salespeople with the knowledge to prepare them for possible client objections. 

3. How to practice role-playing.

Role-playing develops communications skills and confidence to help sales reps generate more leads, improve their networking, and create a positive social media presence. 

4. How to deal with prospect and customer’s objections. 

Team members can share their own experiences to answer questions like “I have never heard of your company & Why should I invest in/buy your products?”. With the right answer, your sales and marketing teams can turn prospects into customers. 

5. Ask questions that get prospects talking about their issues.

  • Discuss and develop a set of great questions that will get the buyer talking about issues and their objectives. 
  • Make a list and add to it every month. 
  • Ask for feedback on how well they were received on sales calls. Adjust as necessary.

6. Define your goals and evaluate your progress.

Set monthly and/or quarterly goals as a team and as individuals. Sales members should provide updates at meetings. Congratulate a sales rep who is on track to meet or exceed a goal. When a team member lags behind, the team can discuss ways to catch up so that the goal can be reached.

7. Discuss pre-call planning with detailed checklists.

Discuss and create a pre-call checklist of details and questions. That way, sales reps will be more deliberate in their pre-call preparation and won’t struggle during the call.

8. Analyze buyer’s needs and challenges.

Establish a set of open-ended questions that will help your sales reps uncover customer challenges, history, goals, previous vendors, and expectations.

9. What makes your sales reps stand out from your competitors?

During a sales meeting, talk to your sales reps about how to stand out from the competition. Explain how your differential advantages can help them win the sale. 

10. How can we reduce sales expenses/costs?

One of the most important things to discuss during sales meetings is how to reduce the sales costs or expenses to help the company.

11. How to qualify buyers?

Make a process of identifying your qualified buyers by preparing questions to separate them from non-buyers. This will save you from wasting your sales reps’ time and effort.

12. How to gain customers’ trust?

To build trust, you must use words and phrases that will cultivate credibility in a buyer’s mind. Provide your sales representatives with training on how to build trust. Create value statements that they can include in their small talk to sales talk conversation.

13. Discuss how employees can overcome roadblocks.

Teamwork is not only about celebrating success but also about overcoming rejection. Do not leave reps to deal with problems on their own, but rather give them the chance to address problems in a group setting. During a sales meeting, ask everyone to share their current struggles. Think of ways to help the team member overcome the challenge.

14. Getting Feedback to improve.

It is important to get feedback from customers, colleagues, bosses, or anyone. To facilitate a sale, a sales representative’s words, gestures, responses, and confidence must all work together. During your sales meeting, pair up your sales reps to ensure execution is confident and controlled, then provide feedback for improvement. 

15. Show the quantifiable value of your product or service.

A prospective buyer’s buying decision is influenced by the buyer’s financial issues. Instead of focusing on product/price-centric conversations, your sales reps should focus on business-related conversations.

16. How can you reduce customer complaints?

Customers who complain are unhappy and dissatisfied and may ruin your company’s reputation. So, it’s vital to discuss ways to minimize customer complaints and increase customer satisfaction.

17. Weekly Pep Talk 

You can motivate your team with quotes and inspiring stories that will help them to get started on the right foot. Prepare motivational content for each meeting. Make it a team effort by rotating responsibility for this between employees.

18. Recognize achievements

During each weekly sales meeting, congratulate sales representatives on their hard work and accomplishments. It takes little praise to keep them striving to succeed with a smile.

Tips to Make Sales Meetings Meaningful Instead of Meaningless

A successful sales meeting is productive, motivating, and worth attending. Sales teams are expected to walk away feeling enlightened, inspired, and motivated after the meeting. Make your sales teams feel valued and energized as you do for your customers, to get them ready for the next meeting.

Here are some tips on how effective sales meetings can become more meaningful:

1. Know what not to do in a sales meeting. 

  • Do not include subjects that can be communicated in a memo.
  • Do not review individual revenue projections on the spot.
  • Do not make your meeting a channel for whining, complaining, or other forms of negativity.

2. Each meeting should have a specific agenda and be time-bound.

Meetings should not last too long–they should typically last 30 minutes to an hour. 

3. Meeting should be interactive. Sales meetings should emphasize group participation and dynamics.

4. Sales meetings serve as a place for training, client problem-solving, and recognition of your salespeople.

5. Rotate the role of facilitator every week so they can:

  • Receive honest feedback from team members when they present proposals.
  • Develop a creative and customized idea for a client by brainstorming in a group.
  • Share their best sales call of the past week, and describe what makes it successful.
  • Provide salespeople with topics based on their strengths
  • Discuss specific examples of why they should never give up on a prospect.

How to prepare for your sales meetings

1. Focus on just 1-3 goals.

Too many objectives can cause people to lose focus in a meeting. Other less-urgent goals can be discussed at a later meeting. Consider not holding a meeting if you can’t come up with a goal. Make sure your meeting goals are SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

2. Set the meeting agenda.

A sales meeting agenda will help your team stay on track. It avoids any possible distractions during your meetings. As well, you can take your time to prepare so that you do not jump right into that meeting. This ensures that the most vital topics are covered.

3. Name a facilitator.

A leader must be assigned if it’s not you. Assigning someone to run the meeting will ensure that it starts and ends on time. By rotating this responsibility, your team will develop new skills, foster stronger relationships, boost engagement,  and give them a sense of owning the floor.

4. Begin with an energizer.

Make your meetings fun and on time. To reduce late, reward those who arrive on time.

5. Hold the meeting in a military-style manner.

This type of meeting contains only the following parameters, so they tend to be short, efficient, active, and focused to minimize inefficiencies.

  • One-sentence purpose or goal.
  • One desired result.
  • An exact start and end time.
  • Name the meeting by how long it can last, such as “20 minutes-meeting.”
6. Don’t spend time on complaints.

Positive meetings boost morale and motivate your team. When they make mistakes, set up one-on-one meetings to prevent them from feeling embarrassed.

7. Diversify the purpose and content of your meeting.

Keep your meetings interesting by varying the topics you discuss. This will motivate your team to attend all scheduled meetings.

8. Determine a time and date for the weekly meeting.

Do not schedule meetings all over the week. Once a week is enough for meetings. To ensure everyone’s calendars are blocked out during that time, schedule this at the same time and day.

How Sales Meetings Work

Depending on the type of company, a sales meeting has a different purpose. 

For example, a tech company schedules sales meetings for new product demos in order to sell them more effectively. While a financial firm may have a different purpose or agenda for their weekly sales meeting.

Meetings are often conducted in informal settings, such as one-on-ones or conference calls. Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, or Webex can be used for sales meetings.

In most sales meetings, the sales rep should be doing most of the talking, and they generally last 30 minutes to an hour. He or she should summarize the commitments made at the last meeting, and explain if they were met or not. 

A typical sales meeting looks like this:

  1. An icebreaker to get the ball rolling. Five minutes should be enough for a short intro.
  2. Review of metrics. Evaluate your weekly key performance indicators. Make sure that it contains no more than four leading indicators with scorecards of 5-7 metrics in total
  3. Conduct Quarterly check-in. Identify high-priority items every quarter.
  4. Training. New tips and techniques from training help salespeople increase sales and perform better.
  5. Housekeeping report. Take a moment to mention any changes to policies, announcements, or updates to processes and feedback from other departments. Don’t spend too much time on this.
  6. Share success/failure stories. Spend a few minutes discussing your team’s wins and losses to see what went well and lessons learned from them.
  7. Updates on competitors. Keeping up-to-date with trends and new strategies will help your team stay competitive.
  8. Items to close/take action. Highlight the meeting’s main takeaways. Be sure your entire team knows about the next steps and actions they need to take.

How to motivate and energize your team

The sales team often considers meetings a chore that prevents them from doing their best. If reps leave meetings with more energy, they will be more motivated to do their best work. Consider asking your best reps what topics they would like included in team meetings, or what has worked in the past.

Here are a handful of ways to make meetings more enjoyable for reps, and to help them feel ready to work hard and to sell more than they think they can handle. 

 1. Give work a deeper sense of purpose.

Some sales reps consider their purpose to be only making money for their companies by bringing in new clients. A true motivation, however, can be found in understanding your product’s impact on communities, or its social purpose.

2. Make people feel appreciated and valued.

To stay motivated, salespeople must feel that their work is valued by sales managers and the management. Praising their efforts and explaining why they matter is a good start.

Here are ways to make salespeople feel valued and appreciated

  • Engage them in decision-making
  • Offers opportunities for career advancement
  • Make flexible work arrangements
  • Provide fair and adequate compensation
  • Give them other rewards to encourage them to stay (e.g. time off, public recognition, opportunities to lead or share)
  • Recognize accomplishments whether big or small wins
  • Build your team’s morale and improve employee retention by encouraging everyone to interact, have fun, and learn in a natural way.
  • Provide them with company-sponsored training programs and seminars, or invite them to attend virtual and offsite educational events 
  • Encourage initiative and creativity. Give them opportunities to try their ideas to drive more sales. Recognize and reward them for their efforts and ideas.
  • Encourage rest to de-stress. Give salespeople time and resources to maintain a “meditative mindset.” Meditation, yoga, and other relaxation methods can help them stay focused and avoid burnout.
  • Inject gamification at work for healthy competition with perks of rewards/prizes.
  • Make it short. Competition has short-lived motivational effects, regardless of prize size. Salespeople will be eager to participate for a few weeks, and winners will enjoy winning for a few days.
  • Make it simple. Competition should motivate a particular action (e.g. calling more people, making more appointments, closing more sales).
  • Make it fresh. Don’t keep running the same short-term sales contests. Come up with new metrics, themes, goals, and prizes based on your organizational and industry needs.
  • Real-time results. For participants to be able to keep track of their progress, real-time results would be ideal. Typically, this feature is included with sales and CRM software.
  • Make it a team effort. Competition among teams encourages camaraderie and fair play. Furthermore, team competitions provide equal opportunities for both high and low performers. Avoid individual-based competitions since they often lead to complaints and rigged odds.
  • Get executives involved. During the process, ask the C-level to offer praise and encouragement. Even those who don’t win can be motivated by being recognized by executives.

3. Prioritize collaboration over competition.

Competitive salespeople can suffer from low motivation when competing with one another. It is important to compete with your competitors, not against one another. If you foster collaboration rather than competition, everyone is more likely to be motivated. To encourage collaboration, reward it with mentorship, knowledge-sharing, and efforts to work together.

4. Encourage a positive attitude in the workplace.

Salespeople face rejection, anger, confusion, and a host of other negative situations day in, day out. It’s difficult to stay motivated through all of the challenges and meet them daily.

Team leaders are cheerleaders for their colleagues:

  • Acknowledge your people’s worries and losses, but don’t echo their concerns and sentiments.
  • Recognize disappointments, but keep the focus on goals and company values by using positive language and suggestions
  • Know their challenges and fears, but keep on taking risks despite the struggles.

5. Be flexible in your management.

As a sales leader, you may need to assume different roles with different members of your sales team. You should manage each sales rep according to their work style in order to motivate them. If you’d like to know how to lead each salesperson, you should ask the following questions:

  • Are you comfortable interacting several times a week, every week, every two weeks?
  • Is it better to be praised privately or publicly?
  • What is the best way for you to receive feedback?
  • If I gave you feedback, would it be better to give it face-to-face, or in writing, or through coaching?
  • Would you like me to be involved in your sales process? How would you feel about me getting involved in your sales pitch?
  • I would like to know about your concerns and achievements. How will you let me know?

6. Let them become heroes.

Inspire your entire team to be creative, explore, discover, and take risks. Salespeople who do those things well will be viewed as heroes when their actions produce positive results.

Promote strong beliefs among salespeople. The more your salespeople see the benefits of your products and services, the more likely they are to believe in them and effectively sell them. Customer success and satisfaction boost their positive feelings.

7. Fuel your people.

Life and work for salespeople can be hectic. They spend a lot of time traveling and working overtime, which can result in an unhealthy balance between nutrition, exercise, and sleep. It is these factors that affect motivation.

Sales managers need to monitor both the team sales number and the well-being of the sales rep. If you notice that your salespeople appear sleep-deprived, take them on a break or let them nap. Providing nutrition on the go means having healthy food readily available on-site. Encourage them to relax and unwind in a healthy way in order to take this time for exercising.

Planning and preparing effective sales meeting agendas

It generally takes a sales rep 30 minutes to an hour to conduct an interactive sales meeting. You likely don’t need a meeting if you can answer questions or resolve issues in less than 10 minutes. This guide provides insights both for weekly meetings and for one-off sessions

Aside from the representative, others may attend the sales meeting. These people may include planners, estimators, project managers, designers – anyone who can shed light on the process to close the sale.

Simplify the agenda and goal

  • Do not call salespeople to a meeting without an agenda and a few simple goals. 
  • Choose just 1-3 SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) objectives. Too many goals can cause confusion and distraction regarding what should be prioritized.
  • Send the meeting agenda in advance for every meeting. 
  • Decide who is the best speaker on each topic and what interests every sales team about each topic. 
  • Make sure you and your salespeople know exactly what your meeting is about. A quick meeting to discuss progress on core metrics, or a meeting during the end of the quarter to see who needs help closing deals.

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