There’s a big difference between good and bad sales meetings.

You know, those “could’ve been an email” run-on meetings that sales reps grow wary (and weary) of.

Many sales reps know this, but those who run them don’t always have the same self-awareness.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

One of the problems is that often, we don’t have a clear strategy for their sales meetings. We think getting everyone in a room is the strategy. And that with enough smart people seated around the same table, we’ll be able to figure out the best solution to our problems.

The result is often the opposite: meetings that waste everyone’s time while offering little value and nothing resembling actionable next steps.

If you want to help your sales teams to not only become more productive but also achieve higher close rates, you have to know how to run an efficient—and effective—weekly sales meeting.

The secret lies in setting a strong agenda for your sales meeting that’s tailored to your business. An agenda focused on the activities that are most likely to drive your sales results.

That’s why, in this article, we’ll talk about:

6 general principles behind effective sales meetings

Every effective sales meeting approach begins with consistency. Whether you’re starting by reviewing your sales territory mapping software or going through your sales territory plan, If you’re not following the same general flow with each meeting, you’ll be running wildly different meetings from week to week—which can produce wildly inconsistent results.

1. Keep it simple

Start with a simple structure that allows sales managers and their teams to set proper expectations and prepare ahead as necessary. The more the agenda becomes second nature, the less time you need to spend on setting the agenda at the beginning of every meeting—and save some time in the process.

2. Keep it useful

In addition, bias your time toward actionable activities. Any time that is spent in a meeting is also time that your team could be spending on the phone with potential customers. If the sales reps see their sales manager as holding them back from opportunities to close sales, it will set a tone that will be hard to work within.

3. Keep it unified

Full participation is key. While not every sales rep needs to speak up in every sales meeting, it’s important to make sure that your sales team is thinking of themselves as just that: a team.

Regardless of whether your team is on-site, remote, or a mix of both, you can use sales apps and video conferencing tools to get everyone together, whether that’s RingCentral Video or something similar:

4. Keep it focused

Use your sales meetings to hammer home the big goals that you are working towards. Focusing your overall annual goal can provide a strong vision and purpose to keep your sales team motivated and moving even when they’re getting turned down by prospects.

5. Keep it supportive

A key purpose for sales meetings is to provide your team with all the resources they need to do their best work. Sometimes this means helping them understand the numbers, doin a walkthrough of your sales software, or providing professional development to help them hone their skills. Either way, you can’t be stingy with giving your team the tools they need to succeed.

6. Keep it energized

On average, 7 out of 10 prospects won’t end up closing. And as a sales rep, dealing with that type of rejection on a daily basis can be demoralizing. That means that your weekly sales meetings can serve as a great opportunity to motivate your team and get them ready to take on the world again.

Getting into the weeds: 9 topics to cover in your sales meeting agenda

At this point, you have a good idea of the broad things you’ll want to consider. Now let’s get into some details. Keep in mind that you’ll want to tailor these to the specific needs of your sales team.

1. Remember your focus by reverse engineering your goals

It’s important to start with the end in mind. A great way to do that is to identify the leading indicators that would be most impactful if you hit them. (For example, annual recurring revenue or customer retention rate.)

Pro-tip:

An analogy – Dieting and exercise are the leading indicators of weight loss (goal). If you can focus on improving the former, you can reach the latter more easily.

2. Get the housekeeping out of the way

A helpful way to launch any new sales meeting is to take care of the housekeeping issues up front. Are you changing your meeting space or screen sharing tools or adding a new member to the team? Cover this upfront.

3. Start by reviewing the numbers

Unpack the factors that led to your latest numbers during your meetings and identify ways to meet or exceed these numbers.

You’ll want to cover this early, but don’t spend too much time here. Reviewing numbers like productivity metrics (month over month or year over year). They act as a “you are here” to identify progress on track to the team’s goal—but by themselves, aren’t as actionable.

It’s also important to note that when you have the entire team together, that’s the best time to focus on the high-level numbers and save your exploration of rep-level numbers and feedback for one-on-one rep meetings.

4. Inspire and equip with successes and wins

This shouldn’t be just a quick, “I closed two deals” type of update. For the greatest group benefit, dig a little deeper on each of these wins and unpack for the group what the prospect’s challenges were. If it was a big win, you could analyze what the rep included in the client sales meeting agenda. How did the rep approach the pitch? What was the “aha” moment? Approaching your wins (aka new sales) this way lets you use them as not only a motivational tool, but a training tool as well.

5. Discuss market and competitor updates

Are there changes in the market? Are competitors behaving in a new way? Your sales reps are the front lines and the better intel they have, the better equipped they will be for success. This is a great opportunity for you to announce any internal changes to products as well as any new challenges that your reps might come in contact with as they work their leads.

6. Review your pitches with a pitch roundtable

One good way to keep your team sharp and help train their peers is to take turns each week to have a few of your team members deliver a pitch in front of the rest of the team (this can even be done remotely with video conferencing). The key here is for all of your team to get some actionable pointers that they can use to succeed while in a practice setting.

Pro-tip:

Check out these sales pitch examples.

7. Deal with high-level obstacles and roadblocks

On a regular basis, you’ll likely uncover obstacles and roadblocks that many or all of your team members are dealing with. As you identify these areas, you can use your sales meeting to train them how to overcome them. As a side note, be careful not to get caught in the weeds of each sales rep’s challenges as these can be dealt with separately.

In addition, you can derive some bonus value by documenting these roadblocks and the techniques in which you deal with them and turning those into teamwide resources. If you can solve these roadblocks for one rep, those insights can be helpful for the rest of your team when they confront similar objections.

8. Listen carefully for prospect and lead feedback

Even potential customers who say no can provide helpful feedback and lessons. This feedback can inform other sales strategies and even help your marketing team. Use a portion of your meeting time to do some “recon” on what your prospects are saying. Learning why your leads are choosing you or not can help you with product positioning, feature updates, and setting better marketing objectives.

9. Consider segmenting your sales meetings

Finally, as you incorporate many of these items into your sales meetings, you may discover that it’s simply too much to cover in a single meeting a week. You might find that some items can be covered bi-weekly or even monthly.

The bottom line is you’ll need to judge what is the best fit for your team and think about how you can time your meetings and subject matter to best fit the needs of your team.

Time to develop your sales meeting agenda recipe from these ingredients

While everything that has been covered in the points here might seem like a very strict approach to more effective sales meetings, they’re intended as more of a list of ingredients.

You’ll need to tune and tailor which items make sense to include where and in what quantities—forming your own particular recipe best suited to your business. The good news? You can make effective sales meetings happen regardless of whether you’re in person, remote, working from home, or a blend of each. You just need the right communication tools.