Whether it’s SaaS sales meetings or meetings for your car dealership, you need to find a way to get your sales team excited about what you have to say.
Ideally, they should walk away from the meeting feeling motivated and ready to give their best effort. Perhaps empowered to close the deal on their own and even inspired to try something new and step out of their comfort zone.
Getting people fired up to give their best effort or try something new takes a certain amount of finesse. Your meetings have to be short yet informative. Fun yet productive. And ideally, they’d always feel like a worthy use of everyone’s time.
Here’s how to run a successful sales meeting:
What’s the Point of Sales Meetings?
What’s the point of any meeting? They say two heads are better than one, and if that’s true, three is better than two, and so on. In simple terms, the point of a meeting is to unite brainpower to solve problems, flesh out ideas, or share pertinent information.
Meetings don’t sound half bad when you put it like that. Of course, not all meetings are relevant, engaging, or exciting, but they’re ultimately necessary to any thriving organization. Sales meetings, in particular, are important because sales organizations are typically fast-paced and rarely slow down to see what’s working, what could be improved, and what’s next.
Typical sales meeting agenda items include:
- Discussing the sales team’s current and past performance
- Going over items that each sales leader cares about
- Reviewing changes to the product
- Breaking down any shift in priorities or strategy
- Sharing competitive insights that help close more deals
- Ongoing training to improve performance
The list goes on and on, and so do the possibilities. Sales meetings have an important place in the sales process. It’s challenging to create a sales meeting that feels useful and engaging. What’s even harder is consistently creating such a meeting.
Top Tips on Running a Successful Sales Meeting
Creating a consistently successful sales meeting comes down to several factors. Some are in your control, and some aren’t. Some require an open mind, and others require a certain level of preparation. Here are a few tips that’ll help you get it right most of the time:
Begin and End on Time
A common saying in the military and professional worlds is, “If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late.” Punctuality is a virtue that requires a certain level of discipline and respect. Acknowledging that everyone’s time is important is the first step to running a successful meeting.
It’s especially important to make sure meetings run on time in a sales organization. Sales teams are actively filling every minute of their day with cold calls, cold emails, and appointments so they can maximize their chances of creating leads and closing deals.
Sales teams are constantly working on making a good first impression and maintaining the rapport and goodwill they’ve built with their prospects. To ensure your meeting begins and ends on time, try posting the agenda before meetings, so people stick to it. If you’re going over something important like your organization’s new sales plan, then allot more time than you think.
You can also start on time by having someone keep meeting notes, so there’s no need to stop and brief late attendees (or no-shows) on what they missed. An excellent way to not run over is to consider what items could get kicked to an email or internal memo of some kind and put those at the end in case the meeting runs longer than anticipated.
Keep It Professional
This depends on the culture that your company has, but at all times you should not only communicate but also look like a professional who knows what they are talking about.
The way you present yourself has an impact on your confidence and also serves as a sign of respect to your audience. Keeping a professional appearance says that you value the time that your team gave to this meeting and value them personally.
In our day and age, remote work is becoming a new norm. In this scenario your “appearance options” are a bit limited - but that is not an excuse to let things slide.
While it may sound silly - quality webcam and a nice looking background is important. It is difficult to take seriously someone who looks like 5 pixels and has a messy kitchen in the background. Invest into a good webcam and if you want to really take it one step further, consider using a green screen software and possibly even a ring light.
The charisma of your personal presence is severely decreased when you are trying to run a sales meeting through a video call software - and these simple additions will significantly elevate your talk and perceived importance.
Shift Your Focus to Boosting Engagement
Employee motivation can shift with the wind. Like everyone else, they have good days and bad days. Down months and up months. In some meetings, they feel inspired and engaged, while others feel like a complete drag.
Some companies are obviously worse than others. A global survey found that 22% of employees feel actively engaged while at work. It’s safe to assume that the other 78% are probably just showing up and going through the motions. They’re doing what’s required and little more.
To run a truly successful sales meeting, you’ve got to evoke emotion. Getting people moving or listening intently will make the meeting feel important and energizing rather than useless and dull.
One way to do that is by getting the team involved. Have them present in the meetings so they’ll pay more attention and feel more invested. Try to use visual content over text slides or long lectures where possible. Get people up and moving or make the meetings interactive by asking questions.
Make It About Them
Engagement also comes down to keeping the meeting content interesting. One of the best ways to do that is by making the meeting about the team. People like to talk about themselves, and they equally enjoy hearing how they’re doing.
Try to make a point of celebrating both small and large wins. Sales numbers are good, but you can take it further by creating sales contests to celebrate sales activity achievements and the more qualitative aspects of the role.
Another way to make it about them is to work on problems that matter to them. Uncover any obstacles plaguing your business or individuals and get a brainstorming session going on how to fix them. Again, allow others to speak. When it’s just leaders, it becomes a one-way team meeting that is simply less enjoyable or interesting.
Ensure All Meeting Topics Are Relevant
The most important sales meetings keep everyone’s focus. That means no drifting off-topic and allowing side conversations to take over. It also means saving items that aren’t relevant to everyone for other meetings.
Another way to maximize time is to front-load meetings with items most relevant to everyone and allow people to jump off once they hit a certain point. One of Elon Musk’s top tips for running better meetings is to leave if you’re not adding value or getting any.
While that may be extreme, it does make you wonder which meetings are most useful and which ones could either be shortened or downright eliminated.
Survey Your Team
Which meetings does your sales team find most useful? Why not ask them?
According to Atlassian research, employees find half of all meetings a complete waste of time. Rather than guessing at what they find interesting or useful, try asking them. It can be an anonymous survey or a candid brainstorming session. The answers may surprise you.
If you go that route, then focus on asking open-ended questions. Questions that prompt them to explain in more detail what exactly they like or don’t like. Ask them what ideas they have to improve the meetings or what they’d find useful.
In the end, running a successful sales meeting comes down to realizing that people’s attention spans are fickle. To keep the team focused, you’ll have to get them involved, keep the content relevant, and focus on what’s important. The rest can be a business email or a memo of some kind.
Author - Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures & co-founder of Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.