Home > B2B sales > How to conduct weekly 1:1 meetings that everyone can look forward to

How to conduct weekly 1:1 meetings that everyone can look forward to

Weekly winsThe focus of this article is how to execute weekly sales 1:1s* that motivate salespeople whilst improving their execution through advice and knowledge transfer.

As a bonus and to set the scene, here is a filter you can use to avoid hiring a sales manager who says all the right words, but is in fact wasting everyone’s time.  It’s as simple as speaking with a few of their former direct reports and asking the following two questions:

1)      Did you look forward to your 1:1 meetings with you manager?  Why?

‘A Player’:  “Yes!  I looked forward to the meetings because I always learned something and learned whether I was giving myself the greatest chance of success and making the best use of my time.”
‘C Player’: “No, they made me nervous.  I felt interrogated and didn’t feel like I got anything out of it except a grilling on process and CRM usage.”

2)      What was the focus of your 1:1’s?

‘A Player’:  “What I am doing in the future.”
‘C Player’: “What I have been doing in the past week.”

So, as a salesperson who wants great 1:1s or as a sales leader, here is my recipe for getting ‘A player’ outcomes:

Set the expectation that your 1:1s are designed to make a salesperson more successful, not to review performance.

As a sales leader you should explain that the only reason you are having a weekly 1:1 is to use your experience and insight to help your team member to reach their goals.  In order to achieve this, both parties need to make some commitments to set the stage:

Salesperson’s commitments:

1)      I will ensure CRM data is up to date and that mutual close plans, opportunity history, contact roles, forecast dates, categories and amounts are all correct.

2)      I will come to meetings prepared with questions on deals I need help with and my assessment of results for the past week.

3)      I will have completed the follow-up actions from our last meeting.

Manager’s commitments:

1)      I will have reviewed all relevant opportunity and critical success factors in advance of the meeting so I will never ask you what you have been doing in the prior week – I will already know.

2)      I will come to meetings prepared with specific clarification questions and during the meeting we will focus on how to progress deals or maximize the value that can be extracted from your territory.

3)      I will have completed the follow-up actions from our last meeting.

The 1:1 agenda and notes should be stored in a shared online document

It is very important that you have running documents, preserving a situation snapshot (KPIs or CSFs) each week and a record of what was said.  I have found that OneNote from Microsoft or similar services are ideal.  This means that both manager and salesperson can put notes against the agenda in advance and update them during the meeting.

Here is an example agenda for a 30 minute 1:1 weekly:

Sample 1:1 agenda for B2B sales

  • Review actions from last week
  • Forecast review (Amounts/history/timing/confidence/Close plan/Opportunity Process Management)
  • Deal downgrades (Slipped/lost/stage downgrade)
  • Focus for this week and key objectives
  • Matters arising
  • What is broken that needs fixing?
  • Actions for this week and items to clean up

Every agenda I have created has had nuances, but the above core will get you going.  The key is that all of these headings have notes added by both manager and account executive before the meeting.

P.S.  If you are a sales executive and your manager routinely asks you, “So, tell me about what you have been up to.”  Fire them…  Now.  They are not helping you and you deserve a manager who can help you grow, not one who focus’ on getting the data they need to report up to their Director/VP

* This article has focused on standard 1:1s and hasn’t made reference to periodic assessments such as territory management, which is beyond the scope of a standard 1:1.

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