If you’ve ever attended a sales meeting, there is a good chance that you have seen bored, disinterested, or even resistant sales reps. The fact is, sales meetings often are boring because of their very nature: a sales manager and a team of reps going over prospect lists and how many deals they think they will close by the end of the month isn’t exactly thrilling. Plus, sales reps often have their minds on other things, like the money they aren’t making because they are in the meeting or the last-minute customer demands they have to meet. By following sales meeting best practices, including planning and preparing for effective meetings, enterprise sales teams can achieve sales meetings that everyone wants to attend.


Best Practices for Structuring Effective Sales Meetings


There are three general best practices for planning and preparing effective sales meetings that will inspire sales reps and increase sales: educate, illustrate, and motivate.

  • Educate — Plan to coach or train in every sales meeting. Salespeople always can learn more, and continuing education is key. One effective way enterprises can educate salespeople is to consider the problems they have had over the course of the past month and use them as general training topics for the group. Chances are, if one of your sales reps is struggling with something, others are too. By incorporating the weak points as educational opportunities in sales meetings, you avoid singling out or embarrassing anyone, and you give everyone a chance to collaborate and arrive at solutions. This also ensures participation, which results in more effective meetings.
  • Illustrate — It’s always better to show instead of tell, so you can illustrate, or demonstrate, timely topics and solutions in sales meetings. One of the best practices for illustrations in sales meetings is for salespeople to illustrate points to the group. Utilize your people’s strengths and expertise in specific areas during these demonstrations. Another option is to illustrate goals and milestones by illustrating with reps who have achieved them.
  • Motivate — If you shift to more educational sales meetings with illustrations, motivation will be inherent to the sales meeting plan. Participants will have a role to play, rather than sitting as passive attendees. The education component will encourage collaboration, and the illustrations will spur celebrations and congratulations. Salespeople will leave with new tools and solutions, as well as illustration examples, so they can approach the next phase of their sales more readily.

If you’re not sure how to go about tackling these three best practices for planning and preparing effective sales meetings, consider some quick tips to work into your new sales meeting structure. Jeb Brooks, Executive VP of The Brooks Group, has 35 years of sales training program experience. He offers tips for making sales meetings more effective:

  • Mix them up — Don’t plan meetings that are exactly the same. Add some variety to make your meetings more interesting.
  • Venue — Don’t meet in the same place every time. Try a conference room, conference call, or video conference.
  • Case studies — Ask reps to bring case studies of challenging sales interactions so the group can discuss best practices and develop game plans for handling similar situations.
  • End on time — Don’t disrupt everyone’s schedules by going long.
  • Make it meaningful — Make sure you have planned a purpose for meeting. Don’t have a meeting just to have a meeting.
  • Agenda — Planning means having an agenda. Then, show everyone you are prepared by sending it out and sticking to it.
  • Stay on track — It is easier to do this when you stick to your agenda. When off-topic items arise, create a list and find another time to address them.
  • Invites — Make sure the meeting is on everyone’s calendar. Be certain to include your meeting times, dates, locations, etc.
  • Takeaways or action items — Clearly present the call to action and make sure follow-up questions are answered.
  • Info Flow — Plan for everyone to participate. Two-way communication is the key to a meeting.
  • Confirmation — Salespeople confirm meetings with prospects, so you need to confirm your meetings with them.
  • Follow up — Follow up by sending out an overview or a record of the discussion.

One final step you can take to ensure effective sales meetings is to provide sales and marketing productivity tools for your sales team. If you’ve provided them with collaboration and training opportunities, you also should provide them with the tools to find the content they need to close deals and track which content helps them sell the most.