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Sales Management

How to Run a Sales Meeting That Doesn’t Suck

“Oh boy, another sales meeting!”

Yeah, that’s probably a line you’re not hearing very often from your team, right?

Let’s be honest. In the eyes of many employees and managers alike, meetings feel like a total time-suck.

Whether it’s attendees going off on tangents or yet another boring, uninspired presentation, it doesn’t take much for a would-be productive sales meeting to go completely off the rails.

That said, you obviously can’t afford to slash your face-to-face meetings altogether.

Successful sales teams require recognition and likewise need to be on the same page when it comes to company goals. In fact, Gallup notes that the most engaged, productive employees are the ones regularly participating in team meetings.

If you’re responsible for running your company’s sales meetings, you’re tasked with keeping your team informed and aligned without wasting any precious time.

So how do you make it happen?

In this step-by-step guide, we break down how to hold speedier sales meetings that don’t bore your attendees to death.

5 steps to holding sales meetings that don't suck

1. Define the purpose of your sales meeting.

Spoiler alert: sales meetings shouldn’t happen “just because.”

Sure, you might block off some time week after week so your sales team can get together.

But falling into a routine can create a sense of complacency.

And if there isn’t a concrete point to each of your meetings, you can’t be shocked when your meetings feel, well, pointless.

Rather than allow your sales meetings to become just another calendar item, set a topic of discussion or “big idea” beforehand. This will not only help you in coming up with an agenda (more on that later), but also provide your team with expectations.

Consider how you can boil down your sales meeting into a single mission statement. For example:

  • “Provide an update on the status of Account X and outline the team’s next steps.”
  • “Discuss the upcoming product launch and how it impacts our sales strategy.”
  • “Review results and initiatives from Q1, highlighting trends and top-performers.”

With a purpose propping up each sales meeting, attendees know exactly why they’re showing up beyond a Google Calendar alert.

2. Come up with a time-saving agenda.

Want to slash the time spent in any sales meeting in half?

Look no further than your agenda.

Because a little bit of planning can go a long way.

Think of your agenda as a roadmap for your meeting.

Highlighting specific talking points and action items helps cut down on questions and tangents. This also puts some responsibility on the shoulders of your team as they understand what they need to bring to the table as well.

what sales meeting agendas should cover

Will you be reviewing CRM data? Discussing potential business targets? Brainstorming fresh ideas?

If so, let your team know beforehand.

As a side note, your agenda should be easy to digest at a glance. Keep them brief and bulleted, if possible.

Make a point to send your agendas to attendees via email a few days in advance. By accepting your invitation, your team members acknowledge that you’re on the same page.

The sooner you can send your agenda, the better. Give your attendees ample time to respond and pose any potential questions they might have. This alone can cut down significant chatter and preventable back-and-forth on the day of your meeting.

With an actionable agenda, your attendees know exactly what they’re getting into. This translates into getting in, getting down to business, and then getting out without wasting any time.

3. Establish expectations and etiquette.

If your sales meetings tend to go long or devolve into chaos, you might need to hit the reset button on how you run your meetings altogether.

This means explicitly addressing expectations and etiquette.

Perhaps the most pressing expectation to set is in regard to time.

Conventional wisdom tells us that productivity and engagement tend to drop off after about half an hour. Saving time in meetings means being firm about the following non-negotiables:

sales meeting non-negotiables

You don’t want to squash your team’s enthusiasm or discourage anyone from asking questions. But just as people are given the chance to speak, you also reserve the right to cut them off when the clock’s ticking. Try to block out action items (for example, five minutes per bullet point on the agenda) to keep up an engaging pace.

Remember, the purpose of putting a hard time limit on your meetings is to keep things moving, not stress anyone out.

Having an explicit heart-to-heart with your sales team about going off-topic might be necessary. In such cases, show empathy and foster a culture where team members are comfortable with providing feedback on their time.

It’s important to frame expectations as being a net positive: respecting their schedules and allowing them to focus on their strengths rather than sitting in meetings.

And hey, that leads us to our next point.

4. Make your meetings more engaging.

Your next sales meeting doesn’t have to be a snoozefest.

If you have doubts about whether or not your meetings are up to snuff, consider this: 87% of people are not engaged at work. Lackluster meetings certainly aren’t helping, are they?

So, what can you do to keep your sales team from dreading your get-togethers?

For starters, don’t overlook the importance of enthusiasm and positivity. Think about it. If you treat your meetings like a chore, your attendees will pick up on your energy.

And no, you don’t necessarily need to be a stand up comic or motivational speaker to set the right tone.

A common strategy for positively engaging your sales team from the start is to begin by offering some recognition.

Sound like fluff?

According to the previously noted Gallup study, only 3 in 10 employees receive any form of significant praise on a weekly basis. Highlighting a job well done (hint: look at your CRM data) or giving a quick shout-out can work wonders for your team’s level of engagement and motivation.

A good place to start is by going over your top performers for the previous week. Copper’s sales leaderboard shows your top reps by revenue, meetings set, calls made, and emails sent. It sparks friendly competition and adds a little energy to sales meetings.

copper crm sales leaderboard

Here are some additional sales meeting ideas that could boost engagement:

Call on attendees. Let’s be clear: the goal here isn’t to single anyone out. Instead, consider how asking questions of attendees (on their data or company goals) helps encourage active listening. This tactic also keeps you from doing all the talking and makes your sales meeting feel like it belongs to the team.

Roleplay. Acting out sales scenarios and discussing “what-if’s” is a brilliant exercise for your team. Roleplaying does double duty of making your meetings seem more actionable while also giving attendees a chance to participate.

Work in groups. In the case of a lengthier sales meeting, give your team an opportunity to talk things out with each other and come to conclusions as a group. This sort of critical thinking keeps your sales team sharp, too.

Move around the room. Put yourself in the shoes of your sales team. Would you like to watch someone drone on and on over a PowerPoint presentation? Try to structure your meetings in such a way that allows for some much-needed movement (like meeting in a circle or holding a stand-up session).

Switch up your setting. On a related note, try holding the occasional meeting beyond the walls of the office. Whether it’s a lunch meeting or team-building activity off-site, a change in environment can breathe new life into your get-togethers.

The takeaway here is that not every sales meeting should look the same week after week. Evolving your format and approach to presentations keeps people on their toes. Bringing in new, engaging activities also cements the expectation that they’ll participate in the process.

5. Don’t forget to define your next steps.

Any and all sales meetings need to result in some form of action.

In other words, each team member should walk away with an understanding of what they should do next.

Maybe that means hitting a certain sales target or putting together a report for next time.

Take detailed sales notes during the meeting and end with a quick recap and confirmation from your team—it shows that your meeting was successful and likewise sets the stage for the next one. As a refresher, you can also email your attendees meeting notes or reference your last meeting in your next agenda.

And with that, you’ve successfully set the stage for your next meeting.

Ready to step up your next sales meeting?

Bottom line: sales meetings don’t need to be treated as some sort of necessary evil.

Implementing the sales meeting ideas above may be just what you need to engage your team and get down to business.

Because when meetings are purpose-driven and you provide your team with some opportunities to interact, they immediately become more meaningful.

By setting the right expectations and keeping track of your sales team’s data, you can align those meetings to reach your goals.

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