Yes! Your One-on-One Meetings Can be More Productive

One-on-one meetings with your Inside Sales team often feel more hurried and disorganized than they need to be. These meetings usually are not goal-oriented or focused on the person. You know these meetings are essential to check in regularly with each of your Inside Sales members, but how can you make the best use of both of your time? How can you make the meetings more productive and foster collaboration? What do you need to change as an Inside Sales leader, and what do you need to ask your direct report to do differently as well? How do you leave the meeting inspiring and motivated?

In a time where digital communication tends to dominate the workplace, instant messages, emails, and the eventually posted notes are taking away the magic and power of face-to-face, one-on-one meetings. In my role as a sales leader and now as a sales leadership consultant, I advise the CEO and sales leader on ways to improve their organizations. One of the tools leaders have available to them is their periodic one-one-one meetings. Here are some ways to help you get started.

Set Time on Your Calendar

For these meetings to take place, they need to be on both of your calendars. Set up a recurring scheduled and include an agenda for the specific time allocated for this meeting. Having a recurring meeting with each of your team members on a recurring basis will prevent unscheduled interruptions. Show up on time for this meeting, this will convey to your team members that he/she matters and that this meeting is important. If possible, try to prevent any cancellation. However, be flexible when unexpected high priority things come up, reschedule at once.

Outline an Agenda

A mutual agree upon agenda will ensure all discussion points are covered during the time allocated for the meeting. Prioritizing the agenda will be a good idea, if you run out of time, items of less priority can be penciled for next time. Quite often, when the agenda is set, many items can be prepared offline and covered in detail during your meeting.

Eliminate Distractions

Closing your laptop and not having your mobile phone visible will convey to your team members that he/she is important and that this meeting matters.

Start on a Positive Note

Highlight contributions, special projects, results, or progress towards specific goals. You can begin the meeting by inviting your team member to share a most recent win. Starting on a positive note creates, and it is a great way to create positive energy.

Focus on Problems You Want to Solve

Shift your conversation to priority problems that you can help solve. One right way to start is looking at the metrics, KPI’s, or dashboard. You can always look at the events and results of last week, of the pipeline, list of campaigns ahead.  Are there any items that need to be addressed to accomplish the goal? Ask questions and listen. Hold the judgment and listen with intent, ask more questions, and encourage your team member to come up with solutions. Volunteer your help to rally resources that are not available to your team member or that required funding, executive sponsorship, or support from other departments.

Discuss Career Paths

Inside sales and sales development professionals are often early in their careers. Ask with about their goals, dreams, and aspirations. Take a personal interest in their “why.” Knowing their careers aspirations will help you develop a career plan and assist with the development of new skills to prepare for new opportunities in the future.

Simply Say… Thank you!

This might sound simple, but a simple recognition of the work done by your team member goes a long say. Joe, “Thank your commitment to our customers, your prospecting efforts led to a new opportunity.”   Nancy, “Great job with the customer presentation last week, based on your update this opportunity is scheduled to close next week, thank you!


Ending your meeting with a challenge for incremental improvements will motivate and compel your team member to stretch to achieve their goals. Be sure to leave your meeting on a positive note with clearly outlined actionable next steps.

Your regular and consistent one-on-one meetings will lead to tighter alignment with your team members, motivation, addressing problems in a timely manner, and working together to achieve high goals.