How to plan a sales kickoff meeting: 8 steps

A balanced and intelligent approach to organizing kickoff meetings can pay huge dividends.

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The most awesome of annual gatherings, sales kickoff meetings set the agenda for the coming year and imbibe your team with the best practices for moving forward.They’re an opportunity to motivate your team to reach new heights and should be full of energy for their attendees. Meetings strategies should be agreed on and ambitious agendas put into place.

As meetings will increasingly be held online due to the coronavirus crisis the traditional kickoff meeting might be under threat. Business will increasingly become less likely to host events in the real world. The meetings that do proceed in person will be your most important, which is why we think sales kickoff meetings need to continue in real life.

The key to planning a sales kickoff meeting

That’s why it’s more crucial than ever to make sure your sales kickoff meetings are effective, efficient, and excellent for all to attend. You can achieve this by following the eight steps, which you can use as a template. This can be used by any business working in any industry while offering enough flexibility to be useful in any scenario.

1 – Set an awesome agenda

You’re not going to get anywhere with your sales kickoff meeting if your agenda is lacklustre. The agenda needs to be comprehensive and concise, which can be more difficult than it sounds. You need to cover as many important issues as possible without having such a broad focus that important detail is missed out.

Collaborate with all relevant parties to make sure every key aspect of your business that needs discussed is included. Encourage feedback from every member of your team, open communication is one of your best practices after all. Make sure you space out the agenda too to retain maximum attention.

2 – Set your atmosphere

After you’ve set your agenda you need to start creating a positive atmosphere for your sales kickoff meeting. This is just as important for your business if you’ve been experiencing success or a slump in sales. Remember, your sales kickoff meeting is also an opportunity for a new beginning.

You can create this atmosphere by sending communications to your whole team extolling the positives of the last year’s work. Celebrate achievements, no matter how small, and publicize exciting developments you plan to make. You can even announce that prizes will be awarded to colleagues at the sales kickoff.

3 – Review your previous year’s sales strategy

Always start your sales kickoff meetings with a look over your previous year’s work and sales strategy. You should encourage honesty throughout this stage and cover both successes and failures. Make sure you examine every aspect of your sales strategy including social media, marketing, meeting strategies, and brand reputation.

This will give you the bedrock on which you can base your agenda. Every other aspect of the agenda will ultimately be based on learning lessons from your previous sales strategy. Share the goals you had and how these goals will influence you in setting the next year’s targets.

4 – Emphasize your business’ concepts and values

Discussing your sales strategy should give everyone an appreciation of your business’s core concepts and purpose. Therefore you should also set aside time during your sales kickoff to reiterate your company’s key concepts and values. Everyone on the team should be reaffirmed why they work for your company.

At this point, you should share your best practices with the team and highlight how to align them with your company’s core values. Preferably, this section should be given in the form of a presentation by a motivational speaker. Your team should feel empowered and excited to do their job after all.

5 – Set activities for your agenda

Plenty of sales kickoff meetings are long, slow, and meandering affairs given over to dull speeches and reports. This is a mistake as it blunts the impact of the meeting, it’s very easy to get lost in the detail. Therefore you should plan for team-building activities and workshops to take place as part of your agenda.

Don’t be afraid of pushing the envelope here as your workshop ideas should be as creative as possible. As long as your workshop concepts are both relevant to your sales and designed to facilitate networking you’ll succeed. You can also plan practice meetings where you can develop your best meeting strategies with your colleagues.

6 – Encourage positive competition

A reasonable healthy level of competition is good for any business and will add to your sales kickoff meeting. Certainly, you can create this atmosphere by highlighting the various successes of each department at your company. You can also instill the kickoff meeting with this atmosphere during the meeting itself.

Remember the previous stage? Creating workshops and team building exercises offers an opportunity for you to instill healthy competition throughout your team. Let each department compete against one another, their morale and efficiency will improve considerably and the sales kickoff experience will become more fun and productive as well.

7 – Don’t forget the detail

We mentioned earlier how your sales kickoff needs to be both comprehensive and concise. Now, while getting the comprehensive side of things right is fairly simple, crushing your concise information is more tricky. This is why you need to make sure your agenda is designed to reinforce the most important information.

Agree on the most important information you want to be reinforced at the meeting with key stakeholders and insert these key aspects as bullet points into your agenda. The title of each stage of your agenda can be written around these bullet points. Also, make sure these bullet points are worked into every meeting, workshop and session.

8 – Aftercare and evaluate

This might come as a surprise but the most important issue when planning a sales kickoff is the evaluation and aftercare stage. This is where the greatest conclusions are reached about your work and the best plans are laid for the future. Therefore this needs to be planned well in advance and considered in all your meeting strategies.

The evaluation stage needs to look at the lessons learned during the previous year and the kickoff meeting, and what you’ll do to continue and/or improve. Aftercare may need to be applied to heal egos or lift the spirit of downcast teams if performances have been poor. Be objective, and match your determination with compassion.

Setting up and organizing a successful sales kickoff requires you to know how to best utilize a vast amount of information. This can prove difficult for many salespeople, after all, if you work in sales you’re motivated to close deals and not crunch numbers. That’s why you need a dedicated CRM tool to organize your data and plan every aspect of the sales pipeline as well.

That’s why you need Revenue Inbox. This highly detailed and intuitive CRM tool helps you wield every aspect of your business in one location. With Revenue Inbox’s data capture, integrated email sidebar, intelligent calendaring and opportunity insight dashboards, you’ll never miss out on crucial information ever again. Not only will this mean that your sales kickoff meetings are better than ever, but you’ll also find that your overall business will become more efficient, profitable, and effective.

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