Sales Best Practices

How to Plan An Impactful Sales Meeting: Agenda, Topic Ideas, and More

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Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices

Most sales teams understand the importance of consistent sales meetings: When properly conducted, they set each rep up for success and align them with broader business objectives. Sales managers and leaders use this time to communicate new or shifting strategies, build team morale, and offer transparency into sales operations.

But getting it right can be challenging, particularly for teams that work in remote or dispersed environments. Sales leaders sometimes struggle to determine what should be included in each meeting to ensure efficacy and productivity without sacrificing camaraderie and collaboration.

Here, we’ll take a close look at what your team has to gain from impactful sales meetings, what a successful meeting should include, how to create an effective agenda, and some tips for enhancing engagement.

Benefits of Effective Sales Meetings

Sales meetings are an essential part of engaging and supporting reps. After all, each rep is part of a larger sales team that fits into an even larger organization—so tying together their efforts and performance with broader company initiatives is crucial for alignment.

Not only do effective sales meetings provide a much-needed opportunity to evaluate the health of your business; they also offer numerous other benefits:

  • Boost employee engagement and satisfaction - When reps feel accountable to both the organization and their own team, they gain a sense of value and pride in their work. Sales meetings enable leaders to take time to recognize rep successes and address their failures or challenges in a constructive way. Where they might otherwise feel overlooked, underappreciated, or disengaged, an effective sales meeting allows reps to have a voice regarding daily operations, processes, clients, resources, and more.
  • Empower team members - Established processes and support tools are crucial to any successful sales team. Sales meetings help managers and leaders ensure proper introduction and training to processes, technologies, and policies, so reps have everything they need to do what they do best: sell.
  • Build team morale - Sales reps build their skills further when they have adequate time to bounce ideas off of one another, problem solve, and share their experiences. Effective sales meetings enable peer-to-peer discussions, celebrations of wins, and goal-sharing to foster a sense of mutual trust and understanding. Reps can brainstorm best practices and offer advice to colleagues to help each other sharpen their practice.
  • Increase transparency - For any employee, transparency into key business decisions, strategy adjustments, and new processes provides a culture of mutual respect, motivation, and satisfaction—and sales reps are no exception. Sales leaders and managers can use meetings to communicate the reasons behind changes (large and small) so their reps are always in the loop.
  • Improve sales outcomes - Impactful sales meetings focus on developing your reps’ skills and their knowledge of your products and services. Plus, they guide team members in the right direction to become more productive and efficient, and—ultimately—increase their quota attainment. And because sales meetings provide space and time for larger-scale coaching (e.g. feedback, best practices, and plays) across the entire team, each rep can keep pace and achieve their goals.

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Essential Elements of a Sales Meeting

While the components you include in your sales meetings should depend on your unique business goals, objectives, team members, challenges, and ideal customer base, there are some common elements that you should always consider:

Usefulness and value

Sales reps are busy people: In fact, on average, they only spend about 23% of their time actually selling. The rest of their work week is used for planning, attending internal meetings, traveling, and completing administrative tasks. It can be tempting to gather your team to share every small win, piece of feedback, or potential concern, but doing so will hinder productivity and frustrate already-busy reps. Ideally, you should only conduct an actual sales meeting if, after thoughtful consideration, you feel it would be more beneficial to your team than sharing an update over email. A good rule of thumb here is to only hold a structured sales meeting if the information you intend to share is something that your reps should apply to their daily tasks and challenges.

Team involvement

Prior to any sales meeting, you should plan exactly how your reps will be involved, and share that plan with them ahead of time, if possible. Sales meetings shouldn’t just be a one-sided lecture from managers; they should also act as an open forum for team participation and discussion. To keep reps engaged, encourage them to ask questions, share their experiences, and brainstorm solutions to common challenges.

Potential insights 

Sharing insights should also be a two-way street in your sales meetings. For sales leaders and managers, this means updating the team on areas they may not themselves have access to, like what’s happening across the business, new marketing initiatives, product changes, industry trends, team performance, and vital forecast metrics. For reps, it may mean sharing prospect feedback, day-to-day challenges and solutions, and progress on sales targets. Managers can also discuss any insights derived from sales calls, which sets them up with an opportunity for team-wide coaching. 

It’s important to note that collecting and sharing these insights is much easier and less time-consuming if your team has the right technology for support. Modern tools help reps and leaders gain a full, data-driven picture of what’s working, what’s not, and how to improve outcomes. With intelligent, AI-driven technology, managers can access rich meeting history that’s recapped in a consumable way. They can use those insights to share snippets and best plays across teams without having to attend each sales call or assess each call recording.

Expected cadence

The frequency and length of each of your sales meetings is up to your discretion, and may vary significantly based on time of year, performance, team size, or number of updates. Most organizations hold quarterly or all-hands sales meetings, which last longer and consist of more in-depth presentations and discussions. They also conduct shorter, more frequent (e.g. weekly) meetings to quickly catch reps up on key happenings and build a sense of community. Whatever cadence you choose, make sure you’re not holding sales meetings just for the sake of it, as that’s a quick and easy way to guarantee disengaged reps.

How to Create a Sales Meeting Agenda

Once you’ve considered the elements that will make up your sales meeting, it’s time to build your agenda. Your agenda acts as the roadmap for your sales meeting, so it’s important to nail down the details ahead of time.

While each sales meeting will differ in terms of specific updates and discussions, it’s essential to develop a standardized format for your agendas. From an employee engagement perspective, a well-defined agenda structure helps reps understand exactly what’s expected of them and what they’ll gain from attending the meeting. It’s easier for team members to actively participate in a meeting when they’re fully aware of the topics that will be included.

For most teams, sales meetings are the ideal time to discuss the current state of performance, vital updates, and future targets or objectives. A sales meeting agenda may look something like this:

  1. Announce and discuss wins - Starting your sales meeting off on the right foot is key for engaging reps, promoting an optimistic environment, and motivating your team to perform at their best. Try opening the meeting by presenting both individual and team-wide wins to establish the tone for the rest of the discussion. Encourage reps to share the specific factors that contributed to their successes so others can emulate their performance.

  2. Provide business updates - Before you dive into all the nitty-gritty details ahead, spend some time offering insights into broader updates (e.g. company news, policy changes, new tools or technology, marketing activities, etc.). It’s important for reps to remain abreast of any changing business objectives or strategies, and to understand the decisions behind those adjustments. When reps feel like they’re in the loop, they’re more comfortable and confident in their company’s leaders. This also improves transparency and overall company culture, as informed employees feel they have a stake in the game.

  3. Review performance - Keeping detailed track of your team’s performance is crucial for meeting goals and course-correcting if there are any issues. But your sales meetings shouldn’t include an in-depth overview of every single metric you’re measuring, especially if you hold them at a weekly cadence. Instead, pick four or five key performance metrics and provide an overview of how the team is doing. This is another great opportunity for reps to discuss what’s working and what’s not, based on up-to-date performance metrics. Check in regarding more specific sales activities here, too, as it will help you identify any inefficient or time-consuming tasks that might not be a great fit for your team’s process. Modern tools with powerful sales dashboards can make this a breeze, as they enable you to review metrics and performance in real time, all in one place—instead of having to dig for and consolidate data prior to every meeting.

  4. Present pipeline - Your sales pipeline is complex and ever-changing, so it’s worth the effort to pull out a few key opportunities that are stuck in a particular stage or should be scrapped altogether. Of course, not every opportunity needs highlighting; but examining those that are significant (for one reason or another) will help your team shed light on what’s happening with their prospects, collaborate on how to move a deal forward, or uncover insights that drive efficiency. That’s why it’s beneficial to implement tools that help your team uncover which sales activities are most influential in terms of rep performance and revenue. Advanced pipeline management solutions, for example, can help you seamlessly track every activity within your sales process and pinpoint how they impact your overall pipeline. Armed with that detailed information, managers can better monitor, manage, and present the pipeline to reps for improved predictability and efficiency.

  5. Answer rep questions & brainstorm - Reps should always feel comfortable voicing their opinions, concerns, and questions in a sales meeting. If one rep is confused on a particular part of the process, chances are others are, too. Opening the floor for discussion should always be a priority, as your reps’ experiences are incredibly valuable—to each other, leadership, and the company as a whole. This will also set managers up for relevant training in the next step, since pressing issues will be top-of-mind.

  6. Team-wide training - Continuous improvement is vital for your sales teams’ success. Even the most experienced sales reps need refreshers on processes, tools, and best practices, and those who are still new to sales or your organization need more than just initial onboarding to succeed. Dedicate part of your sales meeting to brushing reps up on techniques they might be currently struggling with or new tips for improving their effectiveness. This is much easier if you have sales tools that help you easily identify and act on opportunities or deal risks in real-time; so make sure you leverage technology that takes the guesswork out of determining which areas would benefit from more training.

  7. Action items - Never leave your sales reps wondering what’s next. At the end of each sales meeting, share your expectations of the team (or specific team members) and what they should accomplish prior to the next meeting. This helps keep your team on track and ensures the items you discussed during the meeting don’t fall through the cracks. For example, if the group identified a need for new collateral during the meeting, assign one or two reps the responsibility of following up with the marketing team. Since roughly 41% of managers say their biggest pet peeve about their reps’ follow ups are incomplete actions and next steps, it’s crucial to use a tool that helps your team track and manage their tasks. An intelligent sales engagement platform makes it easy to quickly create, assign, and configure action items based on priority and deadlines, so managers can rest assured that nothing is overlooked or forgotten.

Sales Meeting Ideas to Motivate Your Team

A common challenge among sales leaders and managers is finding the balance between identifying and resolving issues and motivating their reps in their sales meetings. While it’s essential to address problems that might be impacting performance, it’s equally vital to engage and encourage sales reps. Try implementing some of these best practices in your next sales meeting:

  • Pick and prep a “champion” - Sure, an open discussion format is great for fostering collaboration and demonstrating that you value your reps’ opinions. But any experienced sales leader or manager knows that a completely open discussion can get messy pretty quickly. If the first person to speak asserts an opinion or goes on a tangent, others often follow their lead—which can impact the group’s perception or cause the team to get off track. To prevent this from happening, try picking a champion ahead of the meeting. This specific sales rep will guide the discussion in the right direction (based on previously prepared topics) and help ensure constructive, focused communication among the group.
  • Ask specific questions - When managers pose a general question to the entire group, they’re often met with either blank stares or several reps trying to talk over one another to get their point across. Instead, try asking specific questions (grounded in performance data and experience) to specific people. This not only ensures your questions will be answered, but also holds reps accountable for coming to each meeting fully prepared. It also shows your team that you value everyone’s opinion; not just the reps with the loudest voices.
  • Always be punctual - Sales reps often deal with clients who are perpetually late or flaky, which is frustrating and negatively impacts their productivity. Show them that you respect their time and energy by starting—and ending—sales meetings on time. Make sure you communicate with them ahead of time how long the meeting will be, and make a concerted effort to stick to that duration. That way, if there is a one-off meeting here or there that runs a bit late due to something pressing, they’ll know you’re keeping them for something important rather than disrespecting their schedules.
  • Share the agenda before the meeting - You want your reps to be thoroughly prepared for every meeting they attend, and sales meetings shouldn’t be any different. By sending them the meeting agenda ahead of time, you give them the opportunity to consider and prioritize their questions, prepare for what’s expected of them, and share any essential topics that may warrant an additional agenda item.

Improve Sales Outcomes with the Sales Execution Platform

Sales meetings are an essential, albeit relatively small, part of your reps’ day-to-day. When developed correctly, sales meeting agendas (and the discussions that follow) can have a significant impact on rep productivity, efficiency, and success. But this is a challenging feat if your team doesn’t have robust tools for support.

The Outreach Sales Execution Platform offers AI-backed tools for driving efficient, predictable sales outcomes. Outreach helps sales teams manage workflows, gain actionable insights, and build more pipeline, all in real time. For sales meetings and far beyond, Outreach helps sellers become more efficient and effective in their daily tasks which, ultimately, boost employee satisfaction and performance.

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