Updated: Mar 6
A stellar meeting experience is key to generate sales pipeline and win a deal. In this blog post, we explain what you should do as a seller to convert more meetings into valuable sales opportunities and what sales leaders can look at to improve the conversation from sales meetings to pipeline.
We cover relevant tips for B2B sales individuals like Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) and Account Executives (AEs). In addition, we cover the most relevant B2B Sales Meeting Tips for sales leaders and what you as a B2B sales leader should look at in meetings to evaluate pipeline, generate more pipeline and what you should expect your sales team to do before, during and after a B2B business meeting.
B2B Sales Meeting Tips for SDRs and AEs
Every B2B Sales Meeting is a first step towards a new opportunity, and in most cases, it is a serious first step to open up a relationship with a potential buyer or evaluator. As an SDR or AE, you are the first point of contact for most of the potential customers. So make sure you provide a stellar experience. Here are 4 tips which help you to have a better meeting experience for your prospects and customers:
Set up your meetings with the right people and the right personas Meeting everyone is good, but meeting the right people is better. Don’t waste time and energy on talking to the wrong people within the organization. Figure out first who are the company’s buyer personas and try to engage with them by sharing relevant content, being consistent and following up frequently.
Create the agenda and the goal clear upfront Once you have set up your meeting, make sure you prepare the meeting and give the meeting attendees a clear agenda and yourself clear goals for the meeting. A meeting without a goal is a waste of time as well. If there is no goal associated with your meeting, create one. The goal can be as simple as meeting someone in addition in the organization after the meeting or to get introduced to an additional team member to set up an additional meeting.
Organize and send out concrete follow up steps Sales follow-ups are as important as sales meetings. In good sales meetings, a lot of action items should be discussed. After the meeting, summarize all action items discussed and create a follow-up email. The follow-up email should contain at least - Thanks for the time and energy every participant invested - Intent that the follow up should provide again an overview of what was discussed and next steps - The current situation (current issues, blockers, negative consequences) - The desired situation (future outlook, after scenarios, positive business outcomes) - Required capabilities (what’s needed for the customer to get from the current situation to the desired situation) - Next steps agreed on during the meeting
Ask your customer for additional information Be engaged with your potential customer even before the meeting. Ask the prospect if there are already open questions they would like to get answered during the meeting. This gives you a great chance to prepare even better. If you have scheduled the meeting only with one individual person from your target customer, ask them for whom this topic and our conversation could be of interest to and that you are happy to invite them as well. This will expand your footprint within the company you are targeting.
B2B Sales Meeting Tips for all sales leaders (CxOs, Sales VPs, Sales Directors, Sales Managers)
As a sales leader, it’s not enough to have pipeline insights. You need more insights especially due to more and more remote work. Meetings are the interface between leads and pipeline and can provide you with great insights to make sure you forecast accordingly. Here are some tips which can help you evaluate if your pipeline is in the right stages:
With how many people have we met in the organization and how often? To close a deal in B2B it’s important to talk with as many people as possible. 7+ people are usually in a buying group and most of the time you have to meet all of them at least once to convince them about the product or solution you offer. In every stage of the sales pipeline it’s important to check with who have we met and which whom not yet. The # and quality of meetings determine in most cases the stage of the sales pipeline.
When did we meet the stakeholders the last time and in which intervals? If one of your deals is in Selected stage, which means that this deal is basically done, but we haven’t met the legal team, purchasing department or the economic buyer the last time a month ago, I highly doubt that this deal is in Selected stage. These meeting insights can help you identify where the deals really are in your sales pipeline and avoid a nightmare at the end of the quarter.
Which people have we meet? If we haven’t met the key decision-makers like economic buyer, evaluation team, technical buyer, legal team or procurement team yet, the deal is highly at risk (depending on pipeline stage in your CRM). In every deal, you should make sure to meet the key decision-makers and ensure that these people are convinced by our services.
How have the meetings been rated by your sellers? A great way of getting more subjective insights is to rate all meetings the seller had with a certain account. By doing that, you can help your marketing and sales development team identify the meetings which your sellers like to produce more of them, and on the other hand side, you also see which meetings go well and which don’t. In bigger organizations, you can let everyone involved in the meeting rate the meeting, even the customer if you want to collect external feedback.
How many of the meetings have a concrete next step, how many don’t? If your team is having a ton of meetings with new people every time, but no follow up meeting with them or with other people within the same account something’s wrong. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s going wrong in a sales organization when no deals are being closed and the pipeline is there. Outside factors like COVID-19 can then be easily used as an excuse to delay deals. But is this really true? Have we done everything and tried everything to close the deal? In most cases, sellers will say yes, but can you prove it with data to see if we have done really everything? If not, figure out a way how to do this.
How many meetings do we need in average to (a) generate a new opportunity and (b) to close the deal? In the current times, it’s not enough to just let the marketing team generate tons of leads to hope they get worked on. How would you define a good lead? Could a good lead be the right buying persona who is willing to talk to someone of the sales team? If so, the relationship between leads, meetings, pipeline and closed deals become even more important for the overall sales success.
The difference between good and bad sales meetings
Identifying good and bad meetings is critical, follow up on the good ones and improve the bad ones wherever possible or leave them out in the future.
Good Sales Meetings
1) Another follow up meeting is scheduled
2) Concrete next steps are agreed on, for example:
- Start to test
- Talk with several other people
- Start commercial discussion
- Next meeting already scheduled
3) The customer asked concrete questions about the product, service and solutions we offer
Bad Sales Meetings
1) No follow up meeting is scheduled, it was only a one-time event or meeting
2) No concrete next steps or weak next steps are agreed on, for example: - No follow up meeting - Customer doesn’t need any additional information - Customer will check internally and get back to us
3) The customer wasn’t really interested and rather just wanted to have a demo and an overview of everything
Meetings are so important for sales individuals to move deals forward and also for sales leaders to prove and evaluate pipeline and opportunity value. Deals get closed in B2B sales meetings. The right meeting with the right person can close the deal with a higher price, faster and more predictable. Both, sales individuals and sales leaders have to invest more time in valuable meetings, meeting follow-ups and less time in managing pipeline and trying to forecast pipeline without good data points out of meetings.
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