There’s a reason why TED, the popular conference series, has an 18-minute rule. Most people can pay attention to one thing for about 10 to 18 minutes before tuning out. That explains why designing an efficient sales meeting agenda is crucial. You want all team members to be on the same page. And you don’t want anyone nodding off during your meeting. You want to build a sales meeting agenda that covers the essentials and is productive. But how do you do that while driving good results for your sales team and keeping them upbeat?
Here are 10 crucial elements of a successful sales meeting agenda.
Designing your sales meeting agenda
1. Set your sales meeting parameters
Your sales meeting agenda should map out the scope of the meeting and state the time allotted for each topic. A general meeting guideline works. But a meeting agenda template helps “streamline the sales meeting process across the organization,” says meeting management software MeetingBooster.com.
Stuff happens. You don’t need to stick to your parameters 100% of the time. But if you start with a solid meeting guide, it’ll be easier to track the meeting’s runtime and the topics of discussion. You’ll know when you’re veering off topic, and you can then steer the meeting back on course.
As a rule of thumb, ideal sales meetings should run from 15 to 45 minutes, never for longer than an hour.
2. Start the meeting with a bang
How often have you been in a meeting that started like this:
- “We still haven’t met our sales targets for this period despite …”
- Or like this: “After several tries, we still failed to outperform competitor A.”
The best meetings are inspirational and motivational. If possible, avoid starting your meeting with a downer.
Instead of harping on poor performance, try to energize your team. Begin the meeting with a rundown of what you’ve all accomplished. Don’t ignore the areas for improvement. But when you do bring them up, be sure to mention actionable countermeasures.
Here’s a rough example: “We managed to close two big deals just yesterday. However, we failed to meet our weekly targets for weeks 2 and 3. If we manage to close another sale this week, we’ll be on our way to realizing our targets for this week and possibly even for the month.”
Sounds more constructive and less disparaging, doesn’t it?
3. Devote 3 to 10 minutes of the meeting to a quick orientation
Come prepared with a slide deck or multimedia presentation for this section. Focus on the period’s highlights, revisit your project’s goals, and provide a concise overview of how everybody is doing vis-à-vis their individual targets.
Bring any relevant developments to light. Emphasize tasks to prioritize. Then discuss the team’s daily, weekly, or monthly deliverables.
4. Make the meeting interactive. Allow 2 to 7 minutes for sharing tales from the trenches
If only one person talks the whole time, you’re in for a boring meeting. Avoid putting your team members to sleep. Ask them to contribute to the meeting by sharing success stories, case studies, experiences with customers, lessons learned, or best practice recommendations. These don’t have to be full-blown presentations. It should be an opportunity for your team to learn from each other by solving real-world problems.
Requiring complete participation not only keeps your team engaged. It keeps their eyelids up, too.
5. Allow 2 to 5 minutes for discussing pain points
Maybe team members object to a new policy that hinders them from achieving certain team goals. Perhaps a new process slows down the sales team instead of helping them meet their quota. Or maybe a new script ends up irritating customers instead of leading them to purchase.
Allot 2 to 5 minutes for members to air their complaints. This will help your sales team feel valued. And an empowered, not demotivated, sales team will bring a whole lot more value to the table.
6. Save another 3 to 5 minutes for a quick, roundtable discussion
Save some time at the end for a free-for-all discussion that can set the tone for future meetings. If you have enough time left, extend this session to 10 minutes. Just try to keep the conversation on topic. Light conversation about Sunday’s game or the last episode of Game of Thrones is OK—just don’t let it derail the rest of the day.
7. End on a high note
Despite the need to keep the day moving, don’t forget to pump up the team’s spirit before they leave. Provide a short recap of the things you’ve achieved so far. Then recognize individuals and teams for jobs well done.
You can also end with a pep talk, or a summary of action items to achieve individual, team, and company goals. Maybe even toss out a joke to lighten the mood before your team heads back to their workstations.
8. Send the sales meeting agenda 3 to 5 days in advance so participants have ample time to prepare
Long-winded discussions come from unprepared participants. If you get on a tangent, it’s easy to ramble on about topics that may not be related to the meeting’s agenda. Give your team time to prepare notes and stay on track by sending them your meeting agenda at least a few days ahead.
9. If it helps, use a timer
Sometimes, discussions and speakers can ramble on without anybody remembering to track the time. Set a timer to ring twice: once a few minutes before the end and again when you reach the end of the allotted time for a certain topic. This should remind participants to wrap it up and tie up any loose ends.
10. Impose house rules to limit distractions during the meeting
Keep your meeting organized by imposing certain house rules. So many participants still walk in to meetings unprepared, late, or preoccupied.
You might ask participants to refrain from using cellphones during the meeting. Unless they’re emergency personnel on call, there’s no harm in unplugging for a few minutes.
Meetings need not be the dreary, unnecessary scourge employees would rather not attend. Make meetings more productive by designing a sales meeting agenda that covers all the bases, and keeps everyone in a participative mood.
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