By Jason Cunliffe
Vice President, Thought Leadership and Sales Enablement Practice
For companies with far flung and diverse sales teams, a sales kickoff meeting represents an ideal venue for promoting a sales enablement agenda. To get the most out of the face-to-face opportunity such a meeting presents, here are the top 10 tips for success.
- Develop a central theme that provides the meeting with overall coherence. Think of the theme as the underlying thread that ties all the sessions together. Avoid simply having a series of presentations that are loosely if at all connected.
- Make sure planners, executives, sales leaders and presenters are in synch and onboard upfront in terms of the meeting’s objectives. Doing this may require significant legwork in advance but – if done well – will pay off both in terms of engaging attendees during the meeting itself and providing ongoing messaging down the road.
- Enlist engaging outside speakers who complement the messaging yet can mix up the agenda in terms of tempo and presentation styles. The most effective outside speakers will communicate in ways that are relatable and will educate the audience.
- Hold training sessions but don’t overdo it. The kickoff meeting presents an ideal opportunity for salespeople to learn about new products, services and processes. Ideally, such training is role-based and takes place in interactive breakout sessions rather than in keynote presentations.
- Engage first-line sales managers to promote key concepts and training that emerge from the sales kickoff. Facilitate this process by providing these managers with training materials and assets they can incorporate into their sales coaching activities.
- Highlight outside perspective and insight into the changing buyer landscape and dynamic marketplace. This external perspective is most effective when delivered via outside speakers and customers and prospects. Avoid being too insular given that salespeople don’t sell in a vacuum.
- Incorporate the voice of the customer wherever possible. The customer presence can include actual customers participating in panels, recorded video interviews or direct quotes displayed creatively throughout the venue. Getting direct feedback from customers firsthand can be incredibly valuable for the sales team.
- Emphasize interactive communications and sessions as opposed to a series of PowerPoint presentations. With a focus on educating and motivating, static one-way communications should be kept to a minimum. Role-playing breakouts, Q&As and team-building exercises are among the interactive tactics to try.
- Focus on providing the sales team with actionable guidance. The key takeaways of any sales kickoff meetings should be information, advice and processes that – when put into practice – will help salespeople do their jobs better.
- Provide great follow-up content and resources to keep momentum from the kickoff going. This serves to reinforce the message throughout the years, especially when content revolves around successful sales activities that emerged from the kickoff.