How (and Why) to Write a Meeting Summary
Ideally, when you’re involved in a sales call, you will get into conversations with buyers that allow you to discuss primary business objectives (PBOs), challenges and capabilities. However, in many circumstances, you won’t get to all parts of the Discovery Map in one call, as time may have been limited. And this can be an opening for you to keep the process moving forward even if you ran out of time during the first meeting.
If after that initial call you think there’s an opportunity to go back at another time and deliver a capabilities presentation, speak to another key player, or in some other keep the prospect engaged and the sales process moving along, write and submit a meeting summary. Include only the parts covered in your initial meeting and leave the open items as next steps.
Setting the Stage for the Summary
Before you finish with the face-to-face meetings or telephone calls with any of the sales leaders you are engaging, let them know that you will send them a summary of your discussion, and that you want their feedback on the summary as well as a time to meet to discuss next steps. This not only lets them know to expect the summary, but also engages them by asking for their input and paves the way for a follow-up meeting.
How to Write Your Meeting Summary
A typical outline for a meeting summary includes the following core parts, although this is determined by how much information you learned during the first meeting:
- An expression of gratitude for their time
- Identification of Primary Business Objective(s)
- Challenges they are facing in reaching the objective and the impact of those challenges (financial and others)
- Capabilities that would address the challenges (meaning your solutions or offerings) and the value that the capabilities would provide
- The timeline for the implementation of a solution
- Other key players who would be involved
- The budget that has been established for the project
- A clear request to schedule the next meeting
- A request that the recipient respond in writing to the meeting summary
Make it a habit to follow up after each important sales call or meeting with a meeting summary. It will let your prospects know that you clearly understand their needs—or clarify if you don’t—and it will keep the sales momentum going. If you’re concerned that writing these meeting summaries will be time-consuming, create several different templates that consist of a standard format and content that you could re-purpose and re-use for similar meeting summaries for other clients.