3 questions that’ll help you conduct more effective sales meetings

by Steli Efti

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Do you often leave meetings with the feeling that nothing was accomplished?

In this post, we’ll show you three basic principles to follow to make sure that your sales meetings are effective, and everyone leaves the meeting knowing what to do next.

Let’s take a look.

1. What’s the purpose of this meeting?

There are many different reasons to have a sales meeting and many different types of sales meetings.

Below we’ve listed a few.

Sync-up: Getting everyone on the same page.

Strategy: Making sure everyone understands the direction.

Performance: Keeping on top of the numbers.

Motivation: Getting everybody pumped.

Friction: Solving issues and challenges.

In each meeting, you need to know what you want to accomplish.

Some meetings will have 2–3 purposes while some will have only one. A good rule is to never have more than three purposes.

Anything above three is just too much. The meeting will be too long, too complicated and people won’t remember what was discussed. People will also start to feel overwhelmed.

The best meetings have a single purpose.

2. What’s the structure of this meeting?

Give people an agenda before you have meetings. If you have an agenda, people can do their homework and arrive to the meeting knowing what the problem is. They will have done their research, and they will come prepared with ideas, facts and figures.

This means you can go straight into discussing a solution instead of starting the meeting with getting everyone up to speed.

When you come together for the meeting, there’s only one goal: to decide on a course of action by the end of the meeting.

Meeting duration

Many sales teams have kick-off meetings at the beginning of the day to get pumped, create clarity and make sure everyone knows what needs to be accomplished by the end of the day.

The purpose of this meeting is to get everyone in a peak state so that they’re ready to go off and crush it.

This is a meeting that takes 10 minutes. If you have daily meetings make sure they’re short, sharp and very focused.

Got a more complicated agenda? Perhaps you need to discuss a problem in the team, decide a certain direction, fix something that’s not working, or tackle other issues that need deliberation and discussion. Allow for 30–45 minutes.

Do the math

If you and your entire team of x sales reps sit in a room for an hour, how much time is lost that could be spent on closing deals? What is the actual cost of this meeting?

Whatever you’re discussing, you need to make sure that those 60 minutes are worth it. This could be thousands of dollars.

Not worth the spend? Then it’s not the best use of your time.

3. Who’s in charge of this meeting?

Meetings have a natural habit of going off topic.

Your 10-minute meeting can quickly turn into a 30-minute meeting when someone brings up a critical point and then everybody has their opinion.

Don’t sit there and observe—make a judgment as to whether this discussion relates to the agenda. If it does, can you make a decision on it within the time limit? Is it productive? Is it too ad hoc?

If you’re running a meeting, one of your most important jobs is to prevent derailing conversations and bring the conversation back on track.

But don’t ignore these conversations just because they are not on the agenda. If something needs to be talked about, make sure you set aside a time to follow up on those conversations.

Decide if the meeting you’re in is the right place for the conversation that’s taking place.

No open ended meetings

Never end a sales meeting without a final decision on what needs to happen next.

If you don’t have enough of the right data to make a decision, you’ll have to make a decision with imperfect data. This is what startups and leaders do every day.

Your meetings have to end with a decision. Leaving a meeting not having made a decision can be detrimental to your productivity, your team and ultimately your business. This means your meeting was a failure.

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In doubt? Pick something to execute on, then come back next week and see what happened and evaluate it. At the very least you’ve generated more data to base your decisions on and know even more on how to move things forward.

Add an element of fun

While this sounds like all work and no play so far, it’s important to have fun during these meetings.

Sales is a demanding job, and including elements of fun—perhaps incorporating a physical activity—will be a welcomed addition. This will help everyone remember that you should enjoy what you’re doing, not just try to hit your targets.

Here at Close.io, we used to have people jump up and down on a trampoline while delivering their sales numbers. (Trust us, it’s hard to not smile while delivering the numbers. Even if the numbers sometimes don’t look as good as they should.)

Maybe start your meeting with a 2-minute activity to get everyone pumped. Dress up, bring props, sing your updates—anything! Add something fun that fits your team culture.

A proven structure for more effective sales meetings

Here’s a simple 3-step formula to running better sales meetings.

1. Start the meeting: Provide an objective update

Everyone comes into a meeting under different circumstances and with a different perspective. That’s why it’s important to provide the team with an objective update on the situation to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Bring your team up to speed by reminding everyone of what you discussed in the last meeting and how you decided to move forward.

2. Share updates: What has been accomplished

After you’ve provided everyone with an update, ask each person to share what they’ve done in order to achieve what was asked of them in previous meeting.

Did they do it? Did they face any challenges? Did they not do it? Why not? What was the end result? Let people report on their numbers.

3. Decide what’s next: Make sure everyone knows what to do

Lastly, there needs to be an action item. How do you move this forward? Give people tangible and achievable goals based on what was discussed.

Remember, you can be critical in the middle of the meeting, but at the end you need to make sure everyone walks away ready to crush it.

Sales is a performance sport and you need to feel motivated every day to perform you best. Always end your meetings on a positive note.

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