Want a High Approval Rating On Your Next Sales Kickoff Event?

Every sales season ideally begins with a great sales kickoff event. Why? Because sales kickoff’s set the tone for the new year ahead. And if planned carefully the incentive to show up and participate is maximized.

Here are our 5 best recommendations for making your sales kickoff meeting a success:


1. Start planning before the meeting date

This means start surveying your sales team in advance before having them design the content of your meeting. Be sure to ask questions like, “what’s the one thing we MUST get right in order to X”, “What are your biggest concerns on the competitive front…?” and “What are our biggest internal barriers to achieving X?” Asking these kinds of questions help get the conversation flowing, ideas bubbling, and put the team in a better position to produce a plan they can execute.


2. Let Your Team Drive: From Goals to Action Plans

While making a presentation and plan is great – putting goals into action works best when you allow your sales team to break into smaller work groups. Let your team translate each goal into tactical objectives that they then vet among themselves for prioritization and contingency planning. Ask them to define success factors critical to implementation of these tactics, then use this input in your sales planning all year.

3. Mix Work with Play

Too often we’ve seen meeting planners gang all work into a section of the meeting agenda followed by an “all play” set of activities. In fact, most research shows that alternating periods of intense work with more frequent breaks for downtime (and necessary sales calls) can be more successful. Keeping recreational activities tied into the meeting theme will keep everyone on point but will make for a much more balanced mind/body experience and your approval ratings will definitely improve!

4. Surprise and Delight Them

One of the best ways to garner points with a sales team is to lob them an unexpected pass from the outfield. Bring in a celebrity guest they can rub elbows with. Stream in a video visit from your top customer congratulating them on a job well done. Announce your new sales incentive program with a 10-man band. Whatever you decide is the appropriate surprise element, make sure to seed the audience before and during the meeting so the buzz is buzzing before you ultimately spring it on your team.

5. Follow Through (All Year Long)

There’s nothing worse than having a really successful sales kickoff and then not following through on all the ideas, decisions, partner connections, client and competitor issues and business development action items that you discussed during the meeting. Use this meeting as a catalyst to inspire your team all year long. Recap at the meeting’s end. Use analogies and name key initiatives and projects that follow your event in line with your kickoff event theme. Appoint some key lieutenants to recruit their teams to get the ball rolling, and set up a communications stream that tracks progress of these initiatives and an incentive system to reward employees for adding to the company’s “great idea database”.