Are you wondering how to prepare for a sales meeting? From pre-call through delivery to meeting follow-up, we have created this article to help you succeed.
In this article, we will share how to:
- Determine and define the primary goal
- Plan for it — aka the pre-call planning meeting
- Set a clear agenda
- Have productive sales meetings
- Develop a clear action plan
Before diving in, let’s clarify what we mean by a sales meeting for this article.
Note: Setting appointments can be challenging; check out this article from MobileMonkey on setting appointments.
What is a sales meeting?
A sales meeting is an in-person or virtual conversation between sellers of solutions and prospects looking for help solving specific business challenges.
How to prepare for a sales meeting
Ask yourself, why are we having his meeting?
This pre-call phase is essential. Too often, a meeting could be an email. Or an hour-long meeting could have been done in 15 minutes.
Every meeting should have a clear goal — your prospects and your sales team cannot afford to waste time.
Determining the primary goal will involve understanding the type of company you are, where you are in the year or in your sales process, and whether you have any new products and services in production.
Examples of primary goals include:
- For a first sales meeting, it can be a good idea to keep the meeting brief and use it to introduce yourself, your company and to learn a bit about the potential customer’s company.
- To update on a new product or service, discuss new services and products in development that you know are relevant to their business challenges.
- Changes in their industry, have a meeting to brainstorm and talk through potential solutions.
- A quarterly business review where you discuss progress made since the customer deployed your solution is powerful.
Remember: Always create value for your prospect and, ideally, fit into your sales cycle in a manner that helps deals move from one step to the next.
Now — create a plan for every meeting
Everyone is too busy to attend sales meetings that lack a clear structure and purpose.
You defined a goal above; now ask yourself, to achieve this goal, who needs to attend?
Depending on your goal, various members of either company may be appropriate.
To help each person decide if they are needed (vs. simply reading an email summary), ensure, in email, to explain the meeting’s goal and expectations clearly.
This will allow everyone to provide feedback, ask questions, refine agendas, and ensure the entire process runs smoothly.
And send out a reminder for the appointment the day before.
Oh… wait, we have not yet prepared our agenda.
Setting the up-front contract (Pre-call – How to set a clear agenda)
During this process, setting a clear meeting agenda is critical.
If the objective of the meeting is to discuss a new product, determine what needs to be covered and who has the skills and knowledge to share these insights.
You can do this by briefly outlining the topics to be discussed and who will be responsible for reporting on those topics.
Note: This pre-call should be collaborative. When planning sales meetings, the seller and their contact at the company should sit down and agree on the topics ahead of time.
In addition to setting a clear plan, set a time limit for how long the meeting will run.
Some sellers refer to this as the up-front contract.
An up-front contract is an agreement between the buyer and seller about the purpose, agenda, and roles each party will play during a sales meeting.
Take a minute to review this video from Aaron Evans, where he shares his insights on how your sales team should approach setting a sales meeting agenda for meetings with a potential client.
As Aaron notes about this pre-call planning sales meeting agenda, they:
- Set The Right Tone: Sales meeting agendas let participants know there’s a legitimate business purpose for the meeting. All members should be prepared to discuss specific issues and achieve the meeting goal.
- Identify Topics For Discussion: The sales meeting agenda lets attendees know to include various team members. Give your team and theirs time to prepare.
- Keep Everyone Focused: Sales meeting agendas can focus participants in ways verbal guidance cannot. Teams are more likely to remain focused on what needs to be accomplished during the meeting, allowing them to help drive each discussion toward a conclusion.
- Eliminate Excuses: The sales meeting agenda eliminates excuses. Each team member knows what will be covered — come prepared.
How to have a productive meeting
Start the meeting on time. End the session on time (or earlier if the extra time is not needed).
A great sales meeting focuses on achieving its goal, allowing team members for both companies to understand their next steps and get moving with their days.
With the help of your plan, you need to stay on topic. In a productive sales meeting, you should keep digressions and tangents to a minimum.
If side conversations occur, document those and set up a follow-up meeting to focus on that new topic.
Sales Meeting Wrap-Up – Defining Next Steps
The final part of having productive sales meetings is setting a clear action plan coming out of the meeting.
You will want to establish commitments and deadlines, send meeting notes, and follow up on commitments.
Establish commitments and deadlines after discussing each topic in your plan. This is done by assigning specific obligations and deadlines to team members where necessary.
Within a day of the meeting, send meeting notes. Meeting notes should include:
- Key takeaways.
- What was discussed during the sales meeting
- Action items, clarity of which team members are responsible, and due dates
- Any links or attachments for any relevant documents and resources.
Follow up on commitments before the due date. Demonstrate to your prospects that you can not only meet your commitments but that you will strive to go above and beyond whenever possible.
Final thoughts on great sales meetings
Remember to keep your sales manager in the loop on how leads are progressing and how you plan to use sales meetings to move each deal forward.
Additional sales and marketing teams should hold regular meetings or at least provide updates, so marketing can know what materials are needed based on what resonates with customers and prospects.
Great sales meetings result from excellent pre-call planning, coordination, and collaboration between all parties. They do not happen otherwise.
Treat meeting preparation, delivery, and follow-up as sales skills to be worked on and improved. If you do, more leads will come your way, more deals will close, and your sales manager may just grow to love your work.
Interested in how to run effective sales meetings with some of the latest technologies available?
Here are a few articles from our team focused on having a great sales meeting using specific technologies.