Are Your Sales Meetings Productive or Destructive?

Article originally published in

By Nancy Keny

A sales meeting can be a source of dread or it can be a means to keep salespeople focused, effective, and productive.  It is the sales manager’s responsibility to stage effective sales meetings.  The meeting should not be a gab fest, gripe session, free for all, or social event.  Each should have a specific purpose, a predefined process, and a planned outcome.

For what purposes are sales meeting held?

  • Motivate team members
  • Communicate goal and objectives
  • Update hot issues
  • Report progress toward goal achievement
  • Make group decisions about team issues

Key elements for a successful sales meeting:

  • The meeting has a clear achievable purpose which is understood by the attendees
  • Attendees come prepared to conduct the business related to the agenda
  • The correct people are present
  • The team functions as a team
  • The agenda is addressed within the time allotted
  • When the meeting ends, everyone knows what has been accomplished, what needs to be done next and by whom

Four-step process to insure the success of your sales meeting:

1. Plan the meeting.  Start by asking yourself, “Does this meeting have to be held?”  If the answer is yes, then answer the following questions:

  • What exactly do you want to accomplish?
  • What level of participation will be necessary by attendees?
  • What support materials will be needed?
  • Who must attend?

With the answers to these questions, you can develop an appropriate agenda.  It should clearly state the purpose of the meeting, the intended outcome, and the attendees’ role in reaching that outcome.

Make sure the agenda is distributed to the attendees in advance of the meeting.  If they will be expected to discuss specific issues or provide information, they should know in advance.

2. Conduct the meeting.  Stay on track with the agenda items.  Facilitate appropriate participation.  Rather than ask “Who’s got some input,” ask individuals for their input.  Cut off conversation when necessary to keep the meeting flowing and on track.  Maintain focus on the intended outcomes.

3. Review the meeting.  Summarize key points.  Identify and assign any action steps.  Establish next meeting time and place before bringing the meeting to closure.

4. Evaluate the meeting process.  Take some time after the meeting to replay it in your mind and answer the following:

  • Did the meeting stay on track with the intended purpose?
  • Was the input from the attendees appropriate and sufficient?
  • Was your input and feedback sufficient?

If your answer to any question is no, identify what should have taken place; determine why it didn’t and what you will have to do in the future to correct the situation.

Keep these four points in mind as you develop your sales meetings.  You’ll not only increase the effectiveness of your meetings, but also the efficiency with which you conduct them.