How to have successful sales meetings

Organisational drift is a problem, it’s great to keep track of how each member of your sales team is doing and whether or not your team is likely to hit targets but you need to be able to effectively absorb that information, slice it into meaningful information with actionable points that can be discussed and/or filtered down to your team so that changes in direction happen, that people know where they are and what’s going and motivation is maintained.

Maintain the focus of a meeting

Meetings can be really tedious, boring and seem unproductive. This often happens because the meeting doesn’t have a focus or has too many which means people are unclear on the focus.

Make sure everyone is clear on what the purpose of the meeting is and that it has a clear and narrow focus or a few things to focus on.

You don’t want the meeting to be too long or ramble on in different tangents that dilute the focus and make everyone bleary eyed about what the point is.

Part of doing this might be getting in touch with key players in the team to air out some points you’ll hit in the larger meeting so that they have the context going into the meeting and can have some time to ruminate on them instead of expecting it all to be done in that meeting. Plus, letting everyone have access ahead of time to information they might need so they can hit the meeting running to get to the point instead of needing to provide background.

Sometimes this can be difficult as not everyone is going to read a memo beforehand, at Amazon famously they have 5 minutes before a meeting where they just silently read the background information they need so everyone is on the same page and then the meeting begins so you don’t have some people ahead of others or pretending they have the context when they don’t.

There are good reasons to have sales meetings, something is wrong and needs sorting out, a change of direction or an update on how an existing strategy is going and discussion of improvements.

Someone needs to be in charge and set the agenda

It can’t be a free for all, someone needs to set the agenda and move things along. If there’s along debate and it seems unproductive and distracting from the main point of the meeting they need to have the power to cut it off, or if it seems useful but it might still not be to the purpose of the meeting cut it off but maybe promise to discuss these points at a later date so that the debaters are satisfied their views are heard.

Plus, not everyone is an extravert, sometimes you need to judge a few of the quieter people who might have useful things to say but are naturally timid to bring them into the conversation.

For us specifically, we’ll have a sales meeting to discuss current strategy and look at the numbers, we’ll go over the numbers and discuss briefly what we think they mean and then whether we change course or not. We then make a decision on that specific issue.

If we decide on changing course we briefly discuss the other options on the table and then we come to a decision on which option to take and set about assigning the implementation of changes to team members, create a rough deadline for completion and how long we’re thinking before we review the effect of the changes again.

In this way everyone is up to date on where we are and that we’re on top of things and the sales strategy isn’t stagnant, everyone has had a chance to comment on where we are and what might be going wrong or that we’re doing well and need to double down on.

So to summarise, make sure everyone knows what the point of the meeting is, has a good idea of where you are as a company and then you have buy in on what you’re going to do next and that everyone knows what they have to do next.

You don’t want to come out of a meeting demotivated or confused, that’s a terrible outcome.

If things are looking really bad it might be a different sort of meeting where it’s more of a post mortem, and then the point is to agree to change course and then to get people to go away and think about alternative strategies that they’ll share out in memos before the next meeting where you decide on which course to take.

Whatever the case may be you want people not to be dejected after a meeting, you want them to be reinvigorated and wanting to win.Try to keep it light and don’t be afraid to keep some humour in it.

Other things to remember

It doesn’t have to all be serious, try and have light moments in there where you can make jokes or bring in funny stories that don’t go on forever but sort of are sprinkled in because without humour people are going to lose the will to live especially if the meeting is an hour long and its all dry.

Another thing in this age of working from home, make sure your infrastructure is set up to be able to have the meeting you want whether its hangouts or zoom, and that IT issues are resolved in good time beforehand.

If your IT infrastructure isn’t up to par, sort that out because it’s an unnecessary hassle that’ll waste time and therefore money.

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