This article was updated in July 2022
As a sales leader, meetings with your whole team of reps can be a valuable health check for your business — but they can also waste salespeople’s valuable selling time. Make the time together count by developing the right agenda, sharing critical updates and fostering group discussion, while leaving simpler updates for email.
Prepare for, refine and polish your next sales meeting agenda with the advice in this article. You’ll be running efficient meetings for your team in no time.
First off, let’s define a sales meeting. A sales meeting is an internal check-in between sales leaders and sales reps at a company. In contrast to an external-facing meeting, like a sales call or sales pitch, this meeting is for internal attendees only and meant to give sales team members the information they need to do their jobs well. Typically sales leaders (sales manager, director or head of sales, chief revenue officer) run the meeting and sales reps will attend. Leaders highlight important updates that could include:
Your own meeting agendas will differ based on whether you’re running a weekly sales meeting, a quarterly review, an annual sales kick-off or something else. But these 10 tips will help you stay on track, show respect for your team, and be as efficient as possible in your sales meetings, no matter what you’re discussing.
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Make sure you and your team know what you’re meeting about in crystal-clear terms. For instance, is it a quick standup to discuss progress on a specific key performance indicator (KPI), or a critical end-of-quarter meeting to see who needs help closing deals?
Don’t call your salespeople together without a clear agenda and a few simple objectives. Pulling salespeople into a meeting takes them away from combing through leads, putting together emails and pitch decks and, ultimately, growing revenue.
Once you’ve developed your agenda and goals, decide who should speak to each topic. Work with the presenters in advance to answer these questions:
Send the agenda to attendees ahead of every meeting. It can be a loose outline, but this will show everyone that you’re focused on making solid use of their time.
Whether you’re presenting remotely or in person, work out any technological kinks in advance. Computer updates should be completed, software should be downloaded, and unnecessary programs or chats should be closed.
You don’t want glitches eating into your time and derailing your meeting, so ask meeting presenters to meet a few minutes early to test the full set-up. That pre-work may only take 10 minutes, but it pays off. If it’s just you running the meeting, you can do the same thing on your own: test your equipment and go through the presenting motions just as you would during the real thing.
Respect your team’s time by keeping the meeting on schedule. Sales reps meticulously plan their days so they can squeeze in the maximum number of customer calls and emails, so set the tone so that your meeting cadence reliably sticks to its time slot.
If you’ve noticed that previous meetings have tended to go over time, consider saving questions or comments for designated moments in the meeting or reducing the number of topics each meeting covers. Regularly review your standard sales meeting agenda by asking for attendee feedback to learn which topics are most valuable. You don’t want to cut important conversations short, but you also need to keep an eye on time — it’s a delicate balance.
This template agenda is a good place to start. It’s packed with items, so you’ll need to make sure you’re disciplined in keeping to time.
Brief the team: 5 minutes
Team discusses their updates and obstacles: 10 minutes
Amplify key wins: 5 minutes
Invite ideas, questions and innovation: 5 minutes
Decide on next steps: 5 minutes
Make every instance of your meeting count or risk your team joking that they survived another meeting that could have been an email. Indeed, email can be an effective, concise way to communicate with your team when it comes to quick company updates or plan changes.
The timing and cadence for sales meetings is crucial. If you have a daily standup or other recurring meeting, consider pivoting to a less-frequent timeline if you notice you’re covering non-essential items.
Alternatively, don’t feel pressured to meet every time you initially planned to meet. If you cancel a meeting when you didn’t have important updates to share, those bonus minutes given back to the team will be applied to meaningful work. Tell your team why you’re cancelling — “There are no important items for discussion today and I’m sure you could all use this time productively” — and your team will appreciate that you’re not holding meetings just for the sake of it.
As the leader, it’s your job to update the team on anything you’ve learned that might not have been passed on to them yet, especially if it’s been a while since you last met.
Brief everyone on any pricing changes, sales forecasting updates, product news, leadership shifts, or other integral information that could affect how they sell. Follow up on any issues or questions from past meetings, too.
This part of the sales meeting can run the risk of taking up a lot of time. If a topic has the potential to run too long, consider having a special meeting to tackle it.
When you’re all together in a sales meeting, it’s often helpful to have everyone share what’s working and what’s not. Touch base on leads and accounts, how key conversations are going, and everyone’s overall status report regarding hitting their quotas and KPIs.
On top of progress, listen for any roadblocks. As a manager, if members of your team are hitting obstacles, you need to be aware so you can help clear the path for success.
Once you know what’s going well and what needs additional focus, you can develop an action plan with individual team members or a larger group.
Did a team member close a big deal? Surpass their quota six months in a row? Set aside time in your sales meeting agenda specifically to give them kudos. Most people appreciate being recognised, and it’s good for the entire organisation.
Recognition is a good motivator for both the individual being recognised and the team as a whole. According to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Globoforce, 68% of HR professionals believe employee recognition has a positive impact on retention, and 56% believe recognition programs help with recruitment. On top of that, employees who feel they’re regularly recognised by their employers are 109% more likely to stay with their organisation.
Be specific in your praise, too. Saying you appreciate that someone took the time to onboard a client who needs more attention than usual will mean more than a generic ‘good job’ — and is far more instructive for other team members looking to improve their performance. Of course, not everyone likes being publicly singled out, so make sure you’re giving team members credit in the formats they prefer. You can vet this with each rep in one-on-one meetings.
Your sales meeting agendas should always include time to exchange thoughts as a group. These meetings aren’t only about what you want to communicate; they’re also a way for team members to learn from each other and build on each other’s best practices.
For example, you exchange ideas on:
Focus on topics that will be relevant to most salespeople in the meeting so they don’t start tuning out or attempting to multitask.
As you work through each item on your sales meeting agenda, clarify any action items and who’s responsible for following up each. No one should leave the meeting feeling ambiguous about next steps.
Team members can be responsible for following up with their own prospects and customers. However, if there are other department-wide needs raised during the meeting, such as talking to the finance team about a new promotion or discussing a new lead-generation campaign with marketing, you should designate a point person. This way, important items won’t fall through the cracks. Make it clear which updates you want the team to bring to the next meeting.
Sales can be hard. This profession requires patience, salespeople need to handle a lot of rejection, and mistakes will be made from time to time. Sometimes the market slows down and prospects just aren’t biting. No matter the reason why times are tough, the team as a whole — or individual sales reps — will struggle sometimes.
During these times, it’s your opportunity as a leader to address issues head on and communicate authentically with the team. If you share why you’re still inspired and motivated about the team’s work, others will be motivated, too. Carve out time in your agenda to do that when times get tough.
Even in easier times, fun and positive ways to motivate your team abound. You can introduce games and contests to celebrate what’s going well, and award unique prizes for different milestones.
However you’re going, remember this simple fact — tough times don’t last, but tough sales teams do.
For more advice and insights on sales leadership from the best in the business, download the 21 Pro Tips for Sales Leaders e-book and start transforming the way you sell.