Of all the differences between selling in a remote organization and being a part of an office space, the challenges of complete and transparent communication are some of the few similarities that persist.

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The constant bouncing between video calls with prospects, customers, and teammates hour after hour means something is bound to fall through the cracks.

Psychologist Gabriel Radvansky studied how entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an “event boundary" in our minds—subconsciously separating episodes of activities and storing them away. They found we were two-to-three times more likely to forget what we are supposed to do after walking through a doorway.

Could the same be said of ending Zoom meetings and closing browser tabs?

When talking to a prospect or client, the last thing you want to do is forget something important. One key word or phrase, a question or answer, can mean the difference between a long-term relationship or a missed opportunity.

For remote sales teams, easy-to-use technologies provide more ways than ever to capture and memorialize prospect and customer sentiments for continued reference throughout the buyer’s journey.

Including these things in your meeting notes can help maintain clarity and alignment throughout your sales process.

1. Meeting Agenda

A well-organized agenda is the cornerstone of effective meeting preparation. After discussion topics and meeting expectations have been defined and shared with guests, an agenda can serve as a guide and outline for meeting notes and the documentation of decisions.

When building an agenda, make it actionable by including questions the team needs to answer. As more people come to meetings prepared, the less time will be wasted at the start setting the stage for the discussion at hand.

Sending a clean and branded agenda to a prospect beforehand has the added benefit of displaying organization and professionalism in a way that displays preparedness to meet the prospect’s needs. As the starting point of sales meeting notes, the agenda serves as a permanent reminder of the expectations previously set for the prospect or client.

2. Goals and Objectives

Meetings without goals are usually a waste of everyone’s time. Whether it’s discovering pain points, making a decision, reporting on progress, or just building relationships, every meeting should have at least one specific goal to accomplish. It’s best to set one or two goals to achieve and share these with the team before the meeting.

When meeting with prospects or customers, some common meeting goals could be:

  • Discover three pain points about Company X’s current process.
  • Define the budget and timeline for Project Y.
  • Review the last 12 months and discuss the annual renewal agreement.

Shared goals help keep the conversation from meandering, limit tangents, and provide an answer to the question of if this meeting should have been an email. Before wrapping up the meeting, take note of which goals were met, as well as those that were left open.

3. Attachments

When building an agenda, attaching relevant resources and files can also help guests arrive prepared for the conversations ahead. Regarding a sales process, resources can often include one-sheets, reports, or case studies that demonstrate the value of a product or service and frame the conversation for the prospect.

Attaching resources directly to the agenda also helps to avoid the awkward fumbling of desktop applications and browser tabs in front of guests. No more frantic scramble to find the latest copy of the slide deck or case study. These distractions can shatter the impression of organization.

When the meeting is over, keep these attachments with the meeting agenda to know exactly what was shown and discussed.

4. Attendance

Getting the right people in the room can be a challenge. Remembering who each of these stakeholders are, their roles and responsibilities, and relationship to the decision-maker can be even more difficult.

Taking accurate attendance at the start of the meeting can remind sales reps who contributed to the conversation and who may need to be brought in or up-to-speed after. Reviewing these records can give additional insight into who the key players are in a sales negotiation.

5. Prospect Questions and Comments

Great sales reps know how to walk around in the shoes of their prospect. As a meeting advances, a prospect may stop and ask for clarification or additional information. Take note of these moments. These comments and questions are key points that allude to what may be top of mind for a prospect or client and need to be captured for later.

Some digital note-taking tools can allow for real-time collaboration within the same set of notes for remote sales teams. Observing a comment from one person may spark a new question or idea from another. Inviting prospects to take part in the discovery and sales process can create alignment that accelerates deals.

6. Private Notes

Of course, there will be other times when you want to remember something later or share a helpful comment to a colleague or stakeholder in another department. Having a personal space to quickly jot down notes for later without breaking the flow can help with productivity and focus.

Examples of private notes may include:

  • The timestamp of a point in the call recording to return to for coaching.
  • An error spotted on a presentation slide that needs to be updated.
  • A personal note you want to remember about your prospect or client.

Attaching these private memos to sales meeting notes can help advance business processes for an organization and create a shared sense of transparency among teammates.

7. Decisions

As mentioned before, one major reason for holding a meeting in the first place is to make decisions. These choices may be big or small, easy or difficult, but after they’re made, it helps to keep track of them.

If a decision was made in a meeting, write it down. Keeping a record helps clear up confusion down the road and allows for transparency and alignment for all stakeholders. Should the time come to revisit or reverse a decision, the decision will be there waiting next to all of the helpful context that led to it.

8. Action Items and Tasks

Similarly, productive meetings don’t end without a clear direction of what to do next. Depending on the group’s size and the deal’s complexity, there can be a long list of next steps. Don’t drop the ball by not documenting what needs to happen after the meeting.

Highlight action items and clearly label them in meeting notes with enough detail to move forward. Document what the action item is, who is responsible for seeing it complete, and, if applicable, a deadline or due date.

When writing action items in meeting notes, it’s helpful to include them alongside the topic from which they were created for a complete background on the tasks.

9. Feedback

Customer feedback is perhaps the most valuable asset to any growing organization. As often as possible, at the end of a call or meeting, ask for feedback. Easy ways to do this is to ask:

  • “Are you satisfied with today’s discussion?”
  • “Is there anything we can do better?”

Other teams may prefer to send a short quantitative follow-up survey after a meeting with one or two short-answer questions about their experience.

This data serves as a powerful feedback loop that can be shared with a leadership team and other stakeholders and provide opportunities to iterate and make the process more satisfactory for prospects, customers, and clients.

10. Transcript and Recording

In a remote sales process, phone calls and virtual meetings offer the unique benefit of easy-to-use recording, playback, and analysis of everything said during the call or meeting.

While most of the time, you’ll want to quickly refer to a specific part of the conversation, having the complete meeting record is helpful when needing to refer back for full context or an exact quote.

Saving these recordings have the added utility of being excellent coaching tools for sales teams. Sharing successful answers to objections and effective talk tracks to pain-point discovery can aid career growth.

When appropriate, and with permission from the prospect or client, record the conversation and save the transcript and recording to the meeting notes.

11. Time of the Next Meeting

Velocity in a sales process helps teams scale their successes and grow overall pipeline. One way to accelerate the buyer’s journey is to keep the conversation moving by giving the prospect a clear understanding of what the next steps will be.

Whether working with a prospect or current customer in the retention phase, before hanging up the phone or adjourning, agree on a time for the next meeting. This small action represents further preparedness and confidence in your product or service and sets expectations.

Where to Store Your Meeting Notes

With a complete record of the meeting discussion, pain points, objections, decisions, resources, and action items in hand, memorializing this information is the final step. Organize this everything alongside your other valuable customer data in your trusted CRM, creating a single source of truth.

Great sales teams work cross-functionally with departments that also support the customer. The transparent sharing of information completes feedback loops that foster alignment between stakeholders and drive customer satisfaction.

When customer support can review sales notes from the discovery call, the onboarding process can go smoother and make the customer feel valued and heard.

Record, Retain, Repeat

This list may seem daunting for any sales process. Complete meeting notes document meeting outcomes and serve as a permanent record of key decisions, action items, and takeaways.

Even the act of note-taking, itself, has been shown to increase memory. In a remote environment, over-communication is key to alignment and scalability. As your team builds better meeting habits, consider these ways to improve your note-taking and documentation processes.

Organizations big and small need to rely on customer information in the blink of an eye from anywhere. That’s why we built an easy-to-use platform for end-to-end meeting management. Learn more about Docket in the HubSpot App Marketplace.

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Originally published Dec 1, 2020 7:30:00 AM, updated December 01 2020

Topics:

Remote Working