Sales meetings are crucial to a sales team’s success … when done properly. But a poorly-run, disorganized meeting isn’t just inconvenient, it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
Over my career, I’ve learned how to run productive sales meetings that last 20 minutes -- no longer. My system lets us cover all the bases without spending too much time on a single agenda item.
The overarching question for these meetings is, “How can you progress each deal as quickly as possible and stay on track towards your goal?”
This is how our sales meeting looks like. There are two focus points:
1. Ask for deal statuses
The salesperson and I run through every deal in our CRM that’s about to close in our CRM. They give me a status; for example, if we’re trying to sell to ACME corporation, I’ll ask the rep if they’ve reached out recently.
If they haven’t, I’ll ask a few simple questions about the deal. This typically instills some urgency around contacting the prospect.
Then we’ll cover deals in the earlier stages of the sales process.
2. Track progress on outreach
Every rep’s goal is reaching out to 150 people per week over email or phone. During our meetings, I ask them how many emails and calls they’ve logged since our last meeting.
If necessary, look at the data to get an exact number. It’s likely your reps will either overestimate or underestimate how much work they're doing.
This is how we do it:
Our reps use this Google Sheets template to track their work. We’ve set up conditional formatting rules so that if a salesperson reaches a target (let’s say, 200), the cell turns green.
The colors change depending on how far off the target someone is. It’s a gradual progression from red to green.
Results have improved since our salespeople started following this process. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of meetings they booked by filling in these documents.
Before we implemented this, we gave our sales team a goal -- for example, booking two to three meetings per week.
Our new structure helps reps see exactly what they have to do every day. This makes executing much simpler and easier.
More importantly, it helps us keep our meetings short. All the information we need can be found in the document, so our meetings are focused on the important things.
To see a full breakdown of this document and get it as a template, watch this video.
What’s your purpose?
Setting a purpose helps keep sales meetings short and to the point. You are asking your team members for their time, and you need to respect and acknowledge that by keeping the meeting relatively short.
So what’s the purpose of your sales meetings? It could be any of the following:
- Getting everyone up to speed
- Planning next steps
- Setting and monitoring KPIs
- Resolving issues and tackling challenges
Ideally, a sales meeting would have a single goal. But that’s hard to pull off. As long as you’re tackling less than three objectives, you can still have an effective meeting.
Setting the structure
Provide an agenda in the calendar invite for a meeting. This gives your reps time to do their homework, so they’ll come with ideas and relevant questions.
Here’s a sample meeting agenda:
- Reviewing numbers from last week
- Planning for this week
- Answering any questions they have
- Other (assigning specific tasks, etc)
What if one of the team members raises a critical topic? If it’s related to the agenda, address it. But set a time limit for those discussions and quickly return to the current agenda.
Take a look at the type of questions your reps may have:
- I sent out all these emails. My open rate is around 10%; how do I get it to 30%?
- Here are 15 leads -- is this who I should be targeting?
- I'm getting a lot of responses, but few meetings. What do you think I need to change?
So you have your purpose and your agenda. What happens when the meeting ends?
A sales meeting should always end with a plan for action. If it doesn’t, it’s not truly productive.
Your rep must walk away with an achievable goal in mind. Then, in the next meeting, you can discuss whether they achieved it.
Here are a few examples:
- Get the client to proposal stage
- Land on a defined budget
- Identify and book a meeting with the decision maker
Follow these tips, and your meetings will be short and productive.