Nowadays, there are more ways to communicate than ever. Although messaging and email dominate many of our day-to-day interactions, sometimes there’s simply no substitute for meeting face-to-face — or webcam-to-webcam.
Sure, there are lots of meetings that could have been emailed. But it’s undeniable that well-planned and goal-oriented meetings are a great way to get your team moving in the right direction, to review past performance, and to decide on future objectives together.
Here are a few tips to make sure your sales meetings are as effective as possible:
1. Get Your Goals in Order
Successful meetings result in some type of achievement — and to achieve anything, you need to know what you’re trying to do. That’s where goals come in.
Your meeting’s goals should serve as the guiding force in constructing your sales meeting agenda. Are you primarily hoping to set new objectives? If so, you’ll want to organize all of your agenda items around that goal. On the other hand, if your goal is to catch everyone up on how the last quarter went, then your agenda will look very different.
The key point here is that, to make a sales meeting effective, you need to know what you want to accomplish before you head to the conference room or fire up Zoom. While it’s still possible to have a productive meeting without setting goals in advance, it’s much harder to just stumble into an accomplishment than it is to plan for it.
2. Decide on a Reasonable Timeframe
Before you start planning what you’ll cover in your meeting, you’ll want to have a good idea of how long it’ll last. Sometimes, you’ll want to let the number and depth of the topics you need to cover determine how long the meeting will last. But in other cases, you’ll face external time constraints that need to be worked around — or you’ll want to choose a meeting length that can be optimized for attention spans or cost-efficiency.
Keep in mind that meetings, essentially, cost money. Every minute that you gather your sales team together is time that they’re on the clock and not making sales. Firstly, you’ll want to make sure your meeting is important enough to justify that and that it will produce a decent ROI. Then, you’ll want to choose the shortest possible time to achieve the target accomplishment you aligned on earlier.
Additionally, keep in mind that meeting participants will naturally lose focus and attention over time. If you have a five-minute meeting, engagement isn’t likely to lapse. But increase that time to three hours, and you’ll find a lot more faces staring out into space.
Of course, not all meetings can be as quick as five minutes, but you should still take basic human psychology into account when you decide how long your meeting will last. Generally, you’ll start to find people tapping out around the one-hour mark, if not sooner.
3. Select the Meeting Items
With your goals set and your time constraints in place, begin deciding which specific topics you need to cover in your meeting. Alternatively, use the meeting items you decide on in this stage to inform how long your meeting should last.
Common topics you may want to cover during the meeting include:
- Recent Performance: Sales meetings often dedicate time to discussing the outcomes of recent sales efforts. For example, you may want to discuss sales volume, whether specific objectives have been met, and progress towards designated key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Goals and Objectives: Clarifying future goals and objectives is another essential part of many sales meetings. This topic may include specific sales numbers you want to hit over a certain period of time, target percentage improvements, etc.
- Strategy and Coaching: Some sales meetings may be more general and focus on the bigger picture instead of the smaller details. In this case, meetings may concentrate on teaching sales reps new strategies they can use, introducing new sales scripts, or training reps on how to more effectively implement the strategies they’ve already been using.
- Recognizing Success Stories: To keep morale high and team members working efficiently, it’s important to show your appreciation every now and then. For this reason, dedicating time to recognizing team members’ achievements can be helpful.
- Competitive and Market Research: Evaluating how your competition performs and what they’re doing is an integral part of sales strategy. Periodically including this topic in your sales team meetings can help you identify changes or new sales strategy elements to incorporate in your subsequent initiatives.
- Housekeeping Items: Pretty much every team has housekeeping items that need to be taken care of regularly to keep the team functioning optimally. Depending on the structure of your sales team, this could include anything from checking CRM usage to signing documents.
4. Choose Appropriate Speakers and Roles
In some cases, one person may take charge of the entire meeting. In others, different team members may present and speak throughout the discussion. For clarity, a solid sales meeting agenda will note who is going to lead each section of the meeting and roughly how long each section will last.
You’ll also likely want to choose someone to take notes during the meeting so that everyone can review them later, if needed. While you can take notes on paper or a computer, tools like Otter make note-taking easier by recording the meeting’s audio and automatically creating searchable, AI-generated transcriptions based on the recordings. Otter can even pinpoint key points in the meeting for later reference.
Sales meetings are essential for reorienting a team towards new goals, recognizing team member's achievements, discussing past performance, and more.
To create a strong sales meeting agenda, make sure you understand what your goals are, how long you have to go over them, what you’ll be discussing, and who will be presenting each topic. The thought and care you put into your agenda will go a long way towards helping attendees get the most out of your session and ensuring you achieve your meeting goals.