Face-to-face meetings are the building blocks of the sales process. A successful sales team thrives on the productivity of their sales meetings. The success of a meeting is often determined in the preparation stage itself. In this blog, we look at five things you need to do to before to get the most out of your next meeting.
Before we dive into what you need to do before a sales meeting, let’s take a look at some of the things that constitute a great meeting.
The six characteristics of a successful B2B sales meeting
⇀ The timeline – To start off, a great meeting starts and ends at the stipulated time. At events, attendees and account executives usually have a tightly packed schedule. This makes it important to adhere to a strict timeline to avoid eating into someone else’s time.
⇀ A carefully curated agenda – A successful meeting has a well-crafted agenda. It dictates what is going to be discussed and therefore needs to include every objective talking point. Including important details in the agenda also lets the attendees prepare for the meeting well in advance.
⇀ The right people – A meeting is only as productive as the people attending it. Meeting managers feel that having the right people present increases the chance of closing the deal. This factor extends to customers attending a meeting as well. Having a decision maker sit in on the meeting can drastically shorten the decision-making process.
⇀ The meeting format – Meetings often drag along for long periods of time. On an average, attendees lose interest in what is being said after 18 minutes of the meeting. This makes it important to keep the meeting as short and relevant as possible. Utilize a format that not only addresses a customer’s needs but also gets them involved in the active learning experience.
⇀ The meeting space – A meeting space can make or break the meeting. There have been situations where the availability of a meeting room disrupts the flow of customer communication. This can only be avoided with impeccable meeting space management or pre-scheduling meetings.
⇀ Clear communication – Needless to say, communication plays a key role in any successful B2B meeting. A clear line of communication ensures that everyone is on the same page. From a sales point of view, every instance of communication that takes place between the account executive and customer needs to flow into the CRM interface for follow-up. This way, the lead is tracked through the stages of the sales cycle and driven to closure.
Now that we know what makes a great sales meeting, here are five things you need to do before you step in for the meeting.
Block a room
The first thing that needs to be done is ensuring that you have the space to organize the meeting. As mentioned earlier, attendees have packed schedules and they will not appreciate having to wait long periods of time for a meeting room to become available. To avoid all of this, book a meeting room well in advance and customize it to best suit the type of meeting (sales meeting, product demos, customer networking sessions, etc.) and format.
Include the right people
Having the right people present can go a long way in reducing the time taken to close the deal. When customers sit through a meeting, they may have questions of a technical nature. In order to address these questions, there is a need to get an SME to sit in through the meeting. Similarly, some meetings may need higher management decision makers to be present. If your attendee is a VP or above, you will want to include a high-level decision maker from your own organization in the meeting. Access their schedules and book their calendars well in advance to lock them down for the meeting.
Go through the agenda
The agenda sets the context for the meeting and tells you everything you need to know about the direction of the meeting. It sets the tone for future discussions and defines the purpose of the meeting. Taking a look at the agenda will also help you identify the right internal attendees to call for the meeting. Distributing it well in advance also gives your attendees time to prepare for the meeting, bring up relevant questions and suggest changes to suit their informational needs.
Brief your team
The briefing document gives you everything you need to know before attending a meeting. It contains information that is specific to the account, the sales pipeline discussed, and the people attending the meeting. Take the time to go through this document carefully and brief everyone attending the meeting on its contents. This will ensure that the meeting is kept relevant and may help you anticipate some of the questions your customer may have. If the meeting is a follow-up meeting, you can summarize what was discussed previously.
Next, run your team through the contents of the meeting agenda as well. Inform them about which objectives of the agenda they need to address and where they need to step in.
Last minute checks
Last minute checks are very important when it comes to meetings. The first thing that needs to be done is to ensure that everyone is still available at the specified time for the meeting. Any amends in the meeting agenda and schedule needs to be updated as soon as possible. This applies for internal attendees as well as customers. With a meeting management software like Jifflenow, any updates in the meeting schedule or agenda can be seamlessly communicated through in-app notifications. You should also take the time to ensure that the AV equipment is fully functional and the meeting room is replenished with any stationary items your attendees may need.
A meeting is an investment of time. And time, like any other resource is precious and needs to be managed effectively. Furthermore, meetings are often the first time you get to meet your customers face-to-face. Preparing for a meeting well in advance can put you in the best position to get the most out of the deal in an organized manner. Going with a well-oiled game plan tells your customers that you have taken the time to understand their needs. Use these tips before your next meeting and let us know what you think in the comments section below.