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The annual sales kickoff meeting is a major event that can make a big difference to your company’s bottom line, so you want to make sure it is a success. In fact, a poorly executed event can actually alienate your team members and negatively impact their productivity. A well-organized and high-quality sales kickoff event, on the other hand, will boost morale, expand the team’s knowledge, create confidence and enthusiasm, and accelerate your company’s momentum toward success for the next  year and beyond, so it’s worth the extra effort to plan it well.

A Sales Kickoff Meeting is a Big Investment, So Make Sure It Pays Off

A sales kickoff meeting is the perfect time to get your sales team aligned on goals and messaging to help drive engagement and elicit support from the entire organization. Your agenda should be designed to share best practices, success stories, product updates, new sales strategies, sales training, and anything else required to fire everyone up to go into the marketplace and bring in new sales. 

Taking your team out of commission for a full day or two is a huge commitment – not to mention the travel and production costs – so you want to make sure your venture pays off. If done right, a sales kickoff meeting will provide a tremendous return on investment and send your reps back to the frontlines feeling inspired, confident, valued, and eager to engage with leads and close sales.

The 10 Keys to Running the Ultimate Sales Kickoff Meeting

  1. Plan to Succeed – The planning process should begin at least three to four months in advance, and no later than the first quarter of your fiscal year. Reflect on what did and did not go well in the previous year’s meeting or sales process and plan to recognize top performers and train to improve performance.  
  2. Lock in Strategy and Goals – Before you begin planning, ensure your annual strategy and sales goals are locked in, so your sales kickoff meeting can act as the big reveal to your reps. Your sales kickoff meeting should clearly articulate the company’s goals and how your sales team can help reach those goals over the coming year. 
  3. Talk to Your Staff – Take the time to interview salespeople, operations folks, and executives to ask what they would like to see covered in the meeting. This will help you create your meeting agenda, build buy-in for the topics you’ll present, identify potential speakers and participants, and start getting people excited.
  4. Go Offsite – While you can host a virtual sales kickoff meeting, holding your event somewhere other than your offices can eliminate distractions and create a fresh state-of-mind. It can also easily allow your entire sales team to meet and provide easy networking opportunities with any guest speakers. Consider encouraging informal happy hours or other non-mandatory team-building activities to allow people to socialize.
  5. Find a Theme – Finding an overarching message or motif will allow you to get creative in designing your presentations, documents, and giveaways.
  6. Include Workshops – The majority of the meeting should be spent sharing best practices, not watching presentations, so schedule time that sales teams can sit together and brainstorm. In addition, make sure to include training sessions where the sales reps are refreshed on existing products or learn the functionality of new products to better support your customers. 
  7. Hire a Keynote Speaker – A paid celebrity, athlete, sales trainer, or even a respected executive from another company can help generate excitement and motivation and make your event feel truly special. Plus, it’s always valuable to hear someone else’s point-of-view.
  8. Keep Your Agenda Tight – Running a tight ship shows you respect people’s time and that you have high expectations around execution. A successful sales kickoff meeting will leave your sales professionals energized and ready to tackle the future, so keep your agenda to the point. 
  9. Offer Training to Your Speakers – While a team member may have great insights to share, not everyone is a natural orator, so devote some resources to training your speakers on how to present effectively and engage with an audience. Clear communication will help ensure that your staff receives the important takeaways from each speaker.
  10. Hire a Technology Expert – When AV runs poorly, it makes the company look like it doesn’t have it together. That’s why it’s a good idea to have an expert help with technology to keep people engaged through an effective sensory canvas—including sound, music, lighting, and displays for presentations.

Bluewater Can Help Make Your Sales Kickoff Meeting a Success

A partner like Bluewater can help you handle the logistics, so you can focus on your message. For over 30 years, we’ve supported B2B events with everything required to stage large format meetings. Our presence empowers leaders and organizations with capabilities to help them deliver the stories that resonate at an emotional level and generate action within an audience. If you want to host an in-person event, we have one of the largest rental and staging inventories in the country, with new equipment being added yearly, and we have some of the best technicians in the business. If you prefer a hybrid or virtual event, our team can work with you to provide real-time support, equipment to record webinars, or anything else your team might need. Our goal is to make your sale kickoff a success that will pay dividends for years to come.