7 Ways to Rock Your Sales Kickoff

7 Ways to Rock Your Sales Kickoff

What is your vision for your absolute best sales kickoff event ever?

Take a moment and envision the rapt attention of leadership, sales teams, marketers, and even partners while strategies for the year are discussed and aggressive growth goals are set.

Imagine your attendees having easy access to all the information needed, accessible on their preferred device - logically organized within an intuitive and familiar user interface.

Your team knows the value of this compelling event and wouldn’t miss a second to ensure they exceed quotas and goals and drive revenue for the business. 

This isn't just a dream - it's achievable! With the right planning, execution, and platforms in place, your business can have a rockin' sales kickoff that energizes the business and prepares your teams to hit the ground running in the new year.

We've worked with a multitude of businesses, and have gotten an inside look at what makes the sales kickoff the most successful. Below, we'll outline 7 ways to ensure yours is the best that it can be!

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1. Set a Vision & Provide a Platform for Content

Executing an amazing sales kickoff requires A LOT of planning in advance. Looking back at the past year at what was effective versus what didn't work well is a great place to begin.

Moving on to setting the right strategy while considering the market, your ICP, current competition, and more are key. A lack of a clear and well-communicated vision can derail your best efforts. To make your sales kickoff a winner, it can't be just another repetition of the same old annual sales meeting.

If your reps were honest with you, they might be saying that all rah-rah with no substance is worthless. Emotion and motivation are important, but it only works if it's backed up with concrete ways to take action with the right tools to execute. Give your people real takeaways and draw from multiple departments in your efforts to create your winning sales kickoff.

And most importantly, ensure you give your reps a simple, easy-to-learn, and intuitive platform to access all the materials needed for their success. You may not be aware, but studies show that up to an average of 70% of information is lost within 24 hours if it's not reinforced. With the right platform, your sellers will be able to easily find just what they need to reinforce their learning and access everything shared at the SKO, before, during, and after the event! They can continue to absorb the information, reinforcing what was presented and launched and in turn, build up their confidence. And we all know that confident sellers are winning sellers.

With all of the presentations, sell sheets, and other needed information, you can rest assured that your teams will be set as they strive to hit their goals in 2023.

2. Involve the Right People

Consider all the people whose expertise can take your event to the next level. Draw from the CEO, sales leadership, and the marketing and customer service teams for strategy, and mission to help align all of the key elements. You'll also want the tap the insights of the sales enablement team, the events team, and any product managers and subject matter experts who may be presenting or relaying information to your sales team should be involved in the planning.

Create and run through a checklist of the important individuals that will be necessary during various stages of planning and the event itself. It's about getting the company aligned and supporting the sales goals for the year.

Last-minute tip: If you’re currently planning, round up whoever you’ve forgotten and get them on board as soon as you can. Outside feedback from partners can be invaluable at this stage.

3. Plan Ahead

Sometimes things don't go as well as you expect them to. From technical difficulties, a missing speaker, finding the right location, and more, early planning can help to avert most of your issues. Also, look within your organization for better planning. One key ingredient is to gather feedback from your reps about previous kickoffs to make this one the biggest and best yet. If some are concerned about being honest, make the system anonymous and ask for:

  • What they enjoyed the most about last year.
  • What helped them to be successful.
  • What they might change.
  • Any ideas that could add that extra spice or bring depth to make this the ultimate sales kickoff.

Planning with your key people and listening to the needs of your sales team will help create an event that engages and connects. Start early for the best results.

Last-minute tip: Plan for next year! Keep notes on anything from this year’s event that went smoothly or poorly to bear in mind for next year’s event. Create and document your own sales kickoff best practices.

4. Theme Your Event

Steve W. Martin, the author of the “Heavy Hitter” series, offers these insights for your sales kickoff. When it comes to themes, consider his five factors:

1. Level of sales force morale.
2. Defined area of sales force improvement.
3. Your arch-rival.
4. A theme easily incorporated by presenters.
5. Delivery of meeting takeaway.

All are important areas to consider when creating a compelling theme, related content, presentation materials, and any items you might give away. Take the theming further by deciding on colors or graphics to “brand” your event, and then incorporate the branding and messaging throughout the year to help remind your team of your initiatives.

Last-minute tip: You can still introduce a limited theme to your planned event – even if it’s just choosing a single word, and then using that word throughout 2023 to motivate your team. It’s not too late to tie it all together.

5. Finalize (or Create!) Your Strategy

Get crystal clear. You need a concise overview of what you hope to accomplish in an easy-to-understand document with ideas and objectives that everyone can get on board with. This one-page document should cover your goals, objectives, audience takeaways, and pain points for the kickoff event. And make sure everyone has easy and ongoing access to it so it remains top-of-mind throughout planning and execution! If you don't currently have a platform for this, look no further😜

Last-minute tip: If you haven’t done it yet, get this document out to your team ASAP.

6. Create Contingency Plans

People slip up, and sometimes unexpected things occur. However, they still need to be quickly addressed. If something doesn't go as planned  – maybe there's a hotel room shortage, last-minute additions or cancelations, going over budget, etc. You need to plan and adjust. As Jeffrey Gitomer, author, speaker, and business trainer said:

"Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you."

Last-minute tip: Make the events team accessible to leadership and have a single point of contact in case of issues. That person can then delegate the problem-solving among his or her team to make sure that everything is handled appropriately.

7. Keep the Energy Going After the Event

Keep running with a good thing. Continue using the themed messaging in your internal communications, provide tools that support any training received, and launch contests or dashboards to support the execution of goals set.

According to Harvard Business Review, you need to treat your sales force like an investment. Think of ways to motivate your stars, laggards, and core performers after your kickoff. Tie your multi-tiered targets to your year’s theme and challenge your organization to deliver the right messaging to each of your sales groups.

For strategic partners, continued support is of particular importance to channel the sales kickoff momentum into results.

Last-minute tip: If you don’t already have plans to do this, do it now! It’s not too late to launch these initiatives, even if your event has already happened.

Here's to your best sales kickoff yet! Share your best practices below or tweet us at @ModusEngagement.

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