Effective sales meetings enhance productivity and performance | Sunday Observer

Effective sales meetings enhance productivity and performance

3 January, 2021

As explained in this column many times, sales are perhaps the most important factor in the success or failure of a commercial establishment. Hence, the sales team performs one of the most vital functions to sustain the business. Constant encouragement, motivation, and also monitoring the performance of individual team members are essential functions of a good Sales Manager. Thus, conducting regular meetings with the team is required to deliver and extract the top of the mind information. Without real-time up to date information, the sales effort can be derailed. 

In my near 40-year career in sales, I have attended many sales meetings as a salesman and conducted thousands of them as a leader. Through experience from both sides of the table, I can safely say that meetings are usually unwelcome occurrences for a sales team as professional salesmen are a naturally confident, bold, and active group of people. Therefore, sales meetings must be pre-planned and vivaciously conducted with a lively and enthusiastic approach. The topics of each meeting are essentially important to extract optimum productivity of the sales team. 

‘Standing meeting’

During most of my sales career as a leader, I have conducted three types of meetings with the sales staff. First and foremost, I used to call a daily meeting, as soon as the staff arrive, whether the team is small or large. It is a briefing of the previous day’s important or controversial events and the present day’s individual or team needs if there are any.

Usually, the meetings adjourn within ten minutes. I used to call it a ‘standing meeting’ because the meeting is a stand-up occurrence. I consider this an extremely productive meeting to achieve the final monthly goal. The daily briefing is vital as the team usually resolve issues, gather information, and answer questions relevant to the sales effort. 

Secondly, I have always called-on a weekly meeting, customarily on Saturday mornings when the team is mostly in a relaxed mindset. The performance of each salesman against the monthly sales target assigned is evaluated through a multimedia screen. (During my sales representative days in the 1980s, we used a slide projector or a whiteboard for this purpose). The two-way information flow through this meeting is very vital for the team as important information and data such as individual experiences, issues, customer information, market intelligence, and other essential details are exchanged.

However, the most effective regular sales meeting is the monthly sales review meeting where the performance of each salesman is evaluated in front of the whole team. At this meeting, the good players are praised and under-performers are encouraged to do better.

Even the total failures are also motivated to get in line for better results. Identical to weekly meetings, information flow, suggestions, new proposals, product or service development ideas, and official as well as personal improvements are discussed in detail. Finally, the information is converted into an action plan with estimated target dates for required accomplishments.    

Waste of money

Except for the daily sales briefing where discussion is limited to day-to-day events, weekly and monthly meetings need preparation to enhance effectiveness. An important factor the sales leaders must keep in mind is that inefficient meetings can be costly to performance and also damaging to overall business value.

Unproductive meetings are not only a waste of money by way of time but also it can create negative psychological effects on the team. Hence, leaders must always be prepared adequately and keep details in mind before a sales meeting. Bad and ill-prepared sales meetings can be harmful to the leader’s credibility as well.  

There are several effective and meaningful principles to follow when a manager assembles a sales meeting. It is always best to abide by a standard agenda rather than changing at every meeting. A well-thought-out recurring agenda with a simple template would be embraced better by the team. The sales team that habitually dislikes meetings will organize themselves better for a fixed meeting agenda. 

Every meeting, daily, weekly, or monthly, must compulsorily offer value to the sales team.  Provide a brief training on a particular subject related to the products, services, or selling ideas & technique is of use to the team to enhance performance.

There is a common phrase in the selling fraternity that says that the only thing worse than having a well-trained salesman leave is having an untrained salesman remain. Every sales leader must reserve a little time at every meeting to teach something important to the team. However, the important factor is that the team should not feel bored with the training. 


Constant team participation at a sales meeting is vital to avoid boredom. Professional salesmen are most often action-oriented and get bored easily unless they are in the middle of the action.

Therefore, sales meetings must be forums where the team members are allowed to come out with whatever they have in mind.

Questions and answer sessions and brainstorming can be included in the agenda to make the team enthusiastic and also to keep the event alive. The consistency of the dates and times of regular meetings is vital. In my opinion, it is best to schedule meetings always on the same day and time in a month to build a rhythm that creates expectations for the team. 

Most often a sales team, particularly a field sales team, works under adverse conditions compared to other staff members of a company. Selling is stressful unless the salesman has full commitment and enthusiasm. Hence, motivating the sales staff is one of the most important tasks of a sales leader. The sales teams are more demanding than the others in my experience as a career salesman. Therefore, the sales managers must know how to energize the team adequately at meetings. 

The sales manager needs to ascertain whether the team leaves a meeting with more alignment, more enthusiastic, more energised, or better trained.

A smart and efficient leader can identify these facts easily. If the manager feels that the team has not grasped any of this, he must make noteworthy adjustments to the meeting agenda.

I used to inquire from the individual team members, before the meeting, what they like to discuss at the next scheduled meeting. This encourages them tremendously and feels more supported. If the managers act this way, every meeting, they will end with a more pumped-up set of salesmen who are willing to sell more.    

People always like to add value. Specifically, good performers are keen to add value to the company and their careers by sharing ideas. Hence, a smart manager generates strategic value from his team members. The leaders should engage themselves with enthusiasm as their thoughts and experiences may benefit the team.

Getting the entire team to get involved in the process through sales meetings can be enormously effective in the achievement of the final goal.  Also getting the team to work in pairs or as groups was another approach I have used in my former teams. Allocating pairs and groups at the sales meetings make them contributing to each other’s ideas and work. The leader needs to get everyone on board at meetings and try to make decisions as a majority. 

Finally, every single person on the team wants to become a sales leader someday. Hence, discussing what the leader has done to be in the current position is a great inspiration. Salesmen admire, appreciate, and revere that information. Every instruction, advice, or direction must be given to encourage team members to achieve more in sales and in life.