Ultimate guide to effective sales stand-up meetings

The purpose of a daily stand-up meeting is to wake the entire sales team up. Get them pumped and ready to sell.

sales teams and sales leaders
INSIGHTS IN THIS GUIDE

When my clients come to me with their sales team’s problems, challenges and struggles, I like to go through all the basics. I want to figure out what’s working and what’s not working.

One of the most common areas sales leaders get wrong is the classic stand-up meeting or daily sales huddle.

You may think it’s just a meeting, Ali. No way is it contributing to our sales challenges.

You’re mistaken.

Here is my guide to ensuring a more productive and impactful meeting with your sales team.

What is the purpose of a stand-up meeting?

You can call it daily scrum meetings, sales huddles, or stand-up meetings. Essentially, it’s a daily meeting led by the sales leader with the sales team. It is basic project management and an impactful sales tool.

I have watched my fair share of stand-up meetings- sometimes ten to fifteen client recordings in one sitting.

Sometimes, I attend in person.

And what is clear is that many sales stand-up meetings lack purpose and focus. It is a meeting for the sake of meetings. You see this on the face of the salespeople when they leave the huddle – it sucks the energy.

So, what is the purpose of a stand-up meeting? The actual purpose of a daily stand-up meeting is to wake the entire sales team up, prepare them to sell by checking the pipeline, and stress testing the deals and activity for the day.

sales team

As the sales leader, I want every team member ready to go to work and sell. Ensure your entire team is on the same page and thinking the right way.

The sales stand-up is equivalent to an NBA player shoot-around before the game.

You go to a basketball game, and 10-15 minutes before tip-off, they’re warming up – they’re doing layup lines and little drills.

But that’s not them getting ready for the game.

They’ve been there for hours doing their actual program warm-up routines. For some players, their warm-up routine is as little as 45 minutes to upwards of an hour and a half.

And these are very intense drills, not just layups and shoot-arounds. They are getting their body game ready.

When they walk into the game, they’re entirely warmed up. They’re in complete flow and complete rhythm.

The point is that the layup lines and shoot-arounds are not the full warm-up. In the same way, you need to understand what the stand-up meetings are doing for your sales team.

The key to the daily huddle is intensity. There needs to be intensity.

You don’t want your stand-up meetings to be a simple layup line -that’s just for the fans.

So, ask yourself these three questions,

  • As a sales leader, what am I here for?
  • What are we here to do?
  • And ultimately, what do we need to do to prepare team members?

Ask these questions, maintain consistency, and make the meeting productive and worth your time and your employees’ time.

The key to the daily huddle is intensity. There needs to be intensity. You don't want your stand-up meetings to be a simple layup line -that's just for the fans.

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We evaluate your compensation structure, tech stack, sales playbooks, sales strategy, sales process, hiring and onboarding to ignite revenue growth.

Stand-up meeting benefits

Daily stand-up meetings offer an array of benefits to employees and the company:

  • Increases intensity and warms up the team to sell
  • Saves time with fewer meetings on individual progress checks
  • Reduce road blocks and stucks in the pipelines
  • Strengthens the team’s concept of common goals
  • Roleplay warms up the sales team’s mouths and preps them for daily activities
  • Promotes transparency and accountability within the team
  • A pipeline check provides an honest assessment of the team
  • Expand the sales knowledge with topical & current discussion on challenges
  • Boost your sales teams’ skills
  • Highlight low accountables vs. high-performing team members
  • Stress checking the pipeline highlights the good, the bad, and the ugly in your salespeople’s timeline.
sales team and sales leader

When your sales team starts to plateau

Where should a meeting take place?

The number one problem I see is that so many of these sales stand-up meetings are remote now. So, it’s not a stand-up. It’s a sit-down.

The whole reason for your stand-up is to raise your team’s velocity. You can’t do that sitting down.

So, first, stand up.

Get your blood going. Get your body moving. Get your mouth moving. It creates energy.

In open-concept workplaces, your stand-up meeting is behind the desks.

This is not advisable for your team members.

Instead, conduct your stand-up meeting in a conference room where you and your salespeople can stand, sit or move around.

The key is to ensure your standing in front of the whole team.

How long should huddles last?

A stand-up meeting length should last between 5-to-15 minutes. These short meetings, typically in the morning, should be no more than 15 minutes; anything longer than that is annoying for meeting attendees. And anything less will not meet goals for the meeting in the first place.

Ensure these daily meetings occur first thing in the morning. It helps your team member get warmed up and avoids prime selling hours.

sales hiring and sales team

Who should run the daily huddle?

The reality is your sales leader needs to run these sales meetings because that is their role.

I know this seems like an obvious answer, but I have watched many stand-up meetings where the meeting leader is anyone but the sales leader.

A sales manager and project manager might run it. I have even seen new team members run a sales meeting.

Unacceptable.

A sales leader’s role includes:

  1. Nurturing sales talent
  2. Strategic & creative thinking
  3. Sales culture development

How are the team members supposed to respect the sales leader if the sales leader doesn’t lead the meeting agenda?

sales leader speak with prospect and sales team

So, how do you get your whole team to think the right way? Follow these steps:

How to run effective stand-up meetings

1. Stand Up

Start the meeting standing.

And get your team standing. Consider the types of discussions you have sitting down vs. standing up.

Standing increases the energy. The quality of the sales stand-up increases. The discussion quality increases.

We get the team going. My people are ready.

2. Start with topical discussion

You may start with a thought-provoking question, a challenge, action items, or something you see persist throughout the team.

You may say:

“We’re having many issues and challenges with handling objection X.

“I’ve been watching recordings, and many of you guys are getting stumped on X.”

Keep it topical and relevant so that it is helpful for your sales reps.

Rose Garden Sales Accelerator Process
We evaluate your compensation structure, tech stack, sales playbooks, sales strategy, sales process, hiring and onboarding to ignite revenue growth.

Topical discussion client example

One of my clients did a lot of work in Europe.

When the war broke out with Ukraine, many of their deals started dying.

Their customers were worried about the political unrest. There was a lot of uncertainty. They were not sure they wanted to invest.

So, the sales leader addressed this at the sales stand-up, explicitly looking at solutions to those sales challenges.

For example, in that sales huddle, we said:

  • What if all three of them are bad?
  • What if all three of them are great, but this person is lazy and lowballing it?
  • Why can’t they close all three of them? You better close all three.
  • If you close the first one, do you hit your commitment and then fumble the bag?

The whole point is to get them moving their mouths and speaking, which brings me to my next point.

3. Roleplay

Workshopping is good because it gets your sales reps’ mouths moving. You are warming them up.

Remember that the sales stand-up’s goal is to increase the team’s intensity.

Roleplay makes the meeting more fluid and reduces roadblocks.

Every industry has issues that arise. It is essential to bring hang-ups to the team’s attention sooner, but the roleplay helps to develop a solution more quickly.

Giving and rehearsing the talk track with your reps is more productive and keeps it fresh in mind on sales calls and client meetings.

sales team in sales organization

4. Pipe Check

Once you finish your training or action items, you need to know about the team’s day-to-day business.

Many employees and sales representatives have to report to their senior leadership.

For example, they say:

  • We’re expecting $5,000 to come today.
  • We’re expecting $500,000 to come in today.
  • I’ve got two calls with two different clients, and I’m hoping both of them close.

Now the problem is most leaders stop here. They don’t poke further and stress-check the pipeline.

I’m typically seeing this:

Sales rep: “I’ve got three calls later today, and I’m hoping one of them will close.”

Leader: “Okay, cool. Let me know if you need anything.”

Then the leader moves on to the next guy.

See the problem?

Consider:

  • What if all three of them are bad?
  • What if all three of them are great, but this person is lazy and lowballing it?
  • Why can’t they close all three of them? You better close all three.
  • If you close the first one, do you hit your commitment and then fumble the bag?

Your job as a leader is to stress test each of the three and learn about them.

Your team may be shooting a bunch of shots that doesn’t mean they’re making them.

You don’t want to know how the deal went at the next meeting. You want assurances now.

sales team

Then you get this situation:

Leader: The phone call with the founder yesterday. You said it would close, but it hasn’t.

Sale rep: I was hoping it would close, but it didn’t.

Leader: Why did the deal die?

Sales rep: The founder needed to talk to his co-founder, and I’ve never spoken to his co-founder before.

Leader: So, that deal is not about to close? You pitched to 50% of the decision-making team.

And now you’re telling me he will update you on what he said to his co-founder.

That deal is a 5% chance of closing.

Sales rep:

I have watched this play out in many stand-up meetings. But, the problem is the sales leader only asked the sales rep for a pipe check and didn’t follow through with the stress check.

5. Stress Check

The sales leaders’ job is to pulse check that activity in the pipeline.

You need to stress test all of their forecasts and all of their commitments.

You need to know if the sales representatives have gold or crap on the board.

I also don’t want clients to say yes verbally and not sign off. I want my sales team hunting for the signature.

Ask your sales representatives these questions about their pipeline:

  • Why do you believe they’re going to close?
  • What has happened? What have you done? What have you not done?
  • What was the last conversation? What expectation?
  • What are you walking into this conversation with?
  • Why are they going to buy it? Why are they going to say yes?
  • Why are they going to sign on the dotted line?
  • How are you going to force the signature?
  • How are you going to make that happen?
  • What are all the reasons why this deal would die?
  • Have you looked at X? How will you ensure that isn’t going to happen?
sales team and sales leader in a sales meeting

Stress Test Talk Track

Sales rep: “I’ve got three calls later today, and I’m hoping one of them will close.”

Sales leader: “Why do you believe they’re going to close?”

Sales rep: “Because…”

Sales leader: Okay. But I need to make sure this doesn’t happen to close it. How are you going to close your second deal?

Sales rep:

Sales leader: On the second one, you need to do this. And ensure that this doesn’t kill your deal.

And then do

And don’t do this, or the deal will die.

I expect three closes today. Don’t give any lowball excuse. Don’t let your sales reps under promise and over-deliver.

If you have a sales rep who is under promising and overdelivering, it means they have no clue. People who under promise and overdeliver have no measuring stick, understanding of their capabilities, or even a desire to commit to exerting any effort.

Stressing your pipeline in the stand-up meeting will help determine your reps’ capabilities, commitment, and perception of themselves.

Does your sales leader need help?

A sales team’s winning culture can be your game changer. However, playing to win means you lead with creative solutions.

Do you know how to find creative solutions to these issues preventing team progress? Can you be creative? Can you lead? Can your team learn from you?

Maybe, you don’t have your focus. Then, your business needs help.

Let me be clear, if you were going to find the solution to your sales problems, you would have seen and solved them by now.

You need support and help to solve them.

Rose Garden is solutions-focused, so if you want me and my team to ignite your revenue growth, we will do so with our Sales Accelerator Process and Team Assessment.

About the author:

Ali Mirza is the Founder & CEO of Rose Garden, a national sales consulting organization, and featured in Forbes, Inc, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Business Rockstars, and The Wall Street Journal.

Ali is a highly sought-after public speaker presenting at multiple national conferences on innovative ways to accomplish transformational growth on your sales team.

Rose Garden provides unparalleled support and guidance to growth-minded founders via sales strategy differentiation, world-class sales culture creation, and exclusive playbooks, processes, and scripts to position them for limitless growth.

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