How to Run an Effective Sales Meeting in Under 20 Minutes

Download Now: Free Sales Meeting Agenda Template
Alex Berman
Alex Berman


Sales meetings are crucial to a sales team’s success. But a poorly-run, disorganized meeting is inconvenient and a waste of everyone’s time.

Sales manager running an effective sales meeting

Over my career, I’ve learned how to run productive sales meetings that only last 20 minutes. The technique I use covers all the bases without spending too much time on a single agenda item.

Learn how to run more effective sales meetings using this playbook. 

Here's my proven technique for running an efficient sales meeting.

Sales Meeting Topics

On my team, the overarching question for these meetings is, "How can you progress each deal as quickly as possible and stay on track towards your goal?"

To help the team best answer this question, our sales meetings focus on two main points:

1. Ask for deal statuses.

The salesperson and I run through every deal in our CRM that’s about to close. For example, if we’re trying to sell to ACME corporation, I’ll ask the representative if they’ve reached out to the contact recently.

If they haven’t reached out recently, 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 representative’s goal is to reach out to 150 people per week via email or phone. So, during our meetings, I ask my representatives about the number of emails and calls they’ve logged since our last meeting.

If necessary, I look at the data to get an exact number. There's a good chance the representatives will either overestimate or underestimate how much outreach they're doing.

This is how we track progress on outreach:

Our representatives use this Google Sheets template to track their work. We’ve set up conditional formatting rules to turn the cell green when a salesperson reaches a target, let’s say, 200.

sales meeting spreadsheet

The colors change depending on how far off-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.

weekly targets sales team

Our new structure helps representatives 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. We can find all the information we need in the document, so our meetings are locked in on what's most important.

Watch this videoto see a full breakdown of this document and download a template.

Any effective sales meeting starts with a focused, intentional agenda. Let's look at the value and necessity behind that key component.

Weekly Sales Meeting Agenda

An agenda is the heartbeat of any productive sales meeting. Having a clearly defined, well-structured one will help your representatives understand what information they can expect to walk away with after a meeting.

For most sales teams, weekly sales meetings are a place to discuss current sales deals, targets, and projects. These items should take up the bulk of your agenda. Here's a suggestion for what yours might look like:

  1. Reviewing numbers from last week.
  2. Planning for the coming week.
  3. Answering any questions sales representatives have.
  4. Discussion items (assigning specific tasks, etc.).

1. Reviewing numbers from last week.

Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track your team’s progress each week and review the KPIs during your team’s weekly sales meetings. Keeping track of KPIs can help your team quantify its successes and help your company make insightful business decisions.

During the meetings, discuss essential KPIs. Rhythm Systems recommends creating a KPI dashboard and making a list of 10–12 KPIs with four categories: customers, revenue, processes, and employees. Then, review the previous week’s KPIs and use them as a springboard to create the KPIs for the current week.

2. Planning for the coming week.

Your sales meeting agenda should help your team set goals and plan for the week. Focus on discussing new metrics, customer feedback, new opportunities for your team, action items for the week, and pipeline updates.

Planning for the coming week will help your team members stay on the same page and develop solutions to potential obstacles that may slow your progress.

3. Answering any questions sales representatives have.

Your team’s sales representatives may have questions about prospects or require clarification of missing information. Take time to address these questions to prevent misunderstandings or delays during the week.

4. Discussion items (assigning specific tasks, etc.).

Before you end the sales meeting, summarize the main points and your team’s tasks for the week. In addition to assigning tasks to the team as a whole, assign each team member specific tasks. Note each task’s deadline and who has been assigned each task.

Once you've set your agenda, send a calendar invitation to your team to let them know when and where the meeting is taking place.

Use the following tips to keep your meeting on track when the time comes.

1. Set an objective.

Setting clear objectives helps keep the sales meetings short and focused. Remember, you're asking your team members for their time, so you should respect and acknowledge that by not taking too much of it.

What’s the purpose of your sales meetings? It could be any of the following:

  • Getting everyone up to speed.
  • Reviewing project plans.
  • Setting and monitoring KPIs.
  • Resolving issues and tackling challenges.

Ideally, a sales meeting has just one goal, but that can be hard to pull off. Still, as long as you’re tackling less than three objectives during each session, you can reliably and consistently conduct effective meetings.

You can use a meeting agenda template to outline these goals and share it with your team beforehand, so everyone's on the same page about what to expect in a meeting.

sales meeting playbookDownload for Free

2. Share the agenda.

We've already touched on how important concise, well-planned agendas are when running effective sales meetings, but simply putting together an agenda for a meeting and holding onto it won't do much for you.

You need to share those plans with your team ahead of time. When attendees know what your meeting is about, they'll be better prepared and more inclined to engage in meaningful discussion.

Provide an agenda in the calendar invite for a meeting. This gives your representatives time to do their homework, so they’ll develop ideas and relevant questions. Ideally, you'll put together a consistent agenda with updated information for your meetings every week. That kind of continuity will allow your meetings to run as efficiently as possible.

3. Create meeting norms and establish expectations.

Your team should have a set of agreed-upon meeting norms and expectations that everyone abides by for maximum productivity.

Make sure your meeting norms outline the roles and responsibilities of everyone in attendance to help minimize the chaos that large teams are usually susceptible to. Here are some meeting norms and expectations that may be helpful for your sales team:

  • Sales team meetings will start and end on time.
  • All team members are expected to come prepared to discuss meeting agenda topics.
  • Team members are to stay on track.
  • We will engage in one conversation at a time.

Based on your sales team’s dynamic and current meeting style, you can adjust these expectations.

4. Facilitate the conversation to keep things on track.

We’ve all attended meetings that have gone off the rails a bit. The ones where the agenda wasn't followed and the main objectives of the meeting weren't addressed.

It might go without saying, but you need to do what you can to avoid that kind of chaos and the productivity loss that comes with it. If you want to keep things on track, have a facilitator oversee your meetings to ensure your representatives remain focused and discuss the agenda items.

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 kinds of discussions, and be prepared to get back to the core points of the meeting quickly.

You can also implement a "parking lot" where someone from the team writes down important topics for the team to follow up on later.

5. Have representatives provide relevant data before the meeting.

Does your agenda include information that needs to be prepared or presented by sales representatives? If so, make sure you have a process in place for how you can gather this information beforehand.

This might include having a standard deck that you share with representatives and asking them to update their information the day before the meeting. When you have the materials you need from representatives ahead of time, you aren’t cutting into the meeting time by looking for files or data during the meeting.

6. Celebrate your team’s wins.

Celebrating your team’s wins at sales meetings can help to boost morale, improve productivity, and give your team the recognition it deserves.

In an episode of Jostle's People At Work podcast, Matt Thieleman, a leadership coach, discusses “future focus,” the tendency to achieve a goal, then immediately focus on accomplishing the next goal. Thieleman states that we should celebrate milestones instead of focusing on the future because recognizing your team’s small achievements is crucial for keeping everyone on track.

7. Share action items and next steps.

So you’ve successfully run an efficient sales meeting with your team, congratulations! But what happens when it ends?

A productive sales meeting should always end with an action plan. Your representatives must move forward with an achievable goal in mind. Then, in the next meeting, you can discuss whether they've achieved it or not.

Here are a few examples:

  • Get the client to the proposal stage.
  • Land on a defined budget.
  • Identify and book a meeting with the decision-maker.

Make sure you incorporate these items into your next meeting agenda for continuity.

8. Ask team members for feedback.

Asking your team members for feedback during sales meetings can help your team improve efficiency, increase collaboration, build trust, and eliminate roadblocks. During meetings, ask your team members about their performance and the team’s overall performance.

Sentric HR suggests asking one or two feedback questions during weekly meetings. Sentric HR says that questions should focus on weekly growth and encourage team members to think critically about the impact of the previous week’s work on the team’s current performance. Asking questions and initiating discussions during team meetings can help to build camaraderie between team members.

1. Determine whether this meeting needs to happen.

"This could have been an email."

Those six words can frustrate your team members and undermine their faith in your management if they're said consistently. Some information doesn't warrant taking time out of everyone's schedule to sit down and talk things out.

When you're thinking about calling for a meeting, assess if your announcements lend themselves to constructive discussion, are urgent enough to need to be conveyed immediately, and can't be effectively relayed in text or via a video service like Loom. If you determine that your messages meet that criteria, call a meeting. If they don't, consider sending out an email.

2. Know what you're trying to get across.

Every meeting should have a clear-cut purpose. You need to understand what you need to say, fold that into your agenda, and be prepared to keep your discussion both concise and informational. Your team's time is valuable, so make sure you're not going to waste it.

3. Practice any sections that don't require off-the-cuff discussion.

If your meeting will revolve around specific action items, drill down what you will say to get them across. Take some time to rehearse those elements.

You can better manage your time during meetings by practicing and preparing to minimize rambling.

4. Be prepared to enforce time restrictions.

Effective internal sales meetings are typically time-bound, and if you expect to have your team members plan around them, you need to respect their schedules. That means setting firm time constraints and abiding by them.

Try to frontload the key aspects of your agenda and let the less important elements fall back a bit. If you notice you're coming up on time, you need to be prepared to cut things off and either save the ground you didn't cover for next time or send that information out via email.

5. Invite the right people.

Will the information you cover in your meeting have legitimate implications for all your attendees? Will your sales organization benefit from having the team members you tap in the meeting?

Those are questions you need to consider before inviting someone to your meeting. As we've established, internal sales meetings can be a frustrating time drain when done wrong — with the potential to take a toll on morale — so make sure you're only inviting your team members who stand to gain from it when you prepare.

How often should you have a sales meeting?

There's no definitive answer to this question. The optimal frequency of your sales meetings will lean on factors like the size of your sales org, how your team is performing, what you want out of your meetings, and your company culture.

Effective sales management is a matter of striking a balance between trust and guidance. For example, scheduling too many meetings can make you come off as overbearing, but booking a few might let your team's performance get away from you.

As we mentioned earlier, weekly sales meetings are often the sweet spot. But they can't be too over-the-top or time-consuming. If they drag on, you'll waste everyone's time, and your team's morale might take a hit. So follow these tips to keep your meetings short and productive.

Editor's note: This post was originally published on January 4, 2020, and has been updated for comprehensiveness.Sales meeting playbook

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A step by step checklist for running sales meetings that close more deals.