Everyone is so busy these days, many companies have considered skipping sales meetings altogether.
But not the smart companies.
You know how important it is to get all of your salespeople in one room, to get them excited about their jobs and motivated about the products or services they sell, and to give them the tools they need to succeed once they’re back in the field.
You’ve been entrusted to plan the next sales meeting, and you want to make sure that your employees are not only excited to attend but will walk away feeling positive about returning to work and feeling like they can conquer the sales goals you’ve set for them. Between travel and expenses, this event will cost the company a pretty penny, and you want to make sure it wasn’t in vain.
You know this sales meeting has to be special; you’re just not sure how to do that.
Make your sales kickoff a slam dunk
by hiring a keynote speaker for corporate events.
How Do You Kick Off a Successful Sales Meeting?
Before you can plan a successful sales meeting, you have to understand the different elements that go into this type of event. After all, you’ve seen those dull, events where the only thing keeping the attendees awake is high-octane coffee. If it weren’t for that caffeine spike and the pastries waiting around every corner, they’d be snoring in the aisles.
You want to create something better. Something that brings value to your attendees and improves the state of the business. The good news is that it’s completely possible.
You’ll need three elements to do this:
Do your salespeople know their products inside and out? Do they have the best practices they need to sell? Have they perfected the sales process or could they use a refresher?
A sales kickoff provides the opportunity to give them all the knowledge they need to sell the specific products you’re launching (and any upgrades or changes to older products), plus, they get to learn new sales techniques, brush up on their sales skills, and learn what’s been working for the most successful people in your organization and in the industry.
Let’s face it, product knowledge may not be the most exciting topic in the world to learn. Rather than just stacking your event with specifics and less-than-fascinating product descriptions, you’ll need to intersperse some entertainment throughout the meeting. The audience will be even more interested if there is audience interaction and participation. This will make them feel like they’re a part of the event (because they are!).
All the knowledge in the world won’t help your team if they aren’t excited about going back to work. Providing a motivational piece to the event will inspire your salespeople to become better employees and better people. They’ll leave the event hungry to return to the field and start selling.
The Best Sales Kickoff Ever in 9 Steps
When it comes to events of any kind, 90% of the success is in the planning stage. If you’ve done your job right, once the event gets started, you’ll be able to relax (a little) knowing that the machine is already in motion. There are nine steps to creating the best sales kickoff ever:
1. Define “Successful”
If you don’t know what “successful” looks like, how will you know when you get there? Sit down with your planning committee and identify what you’d like to get out of hosting this event. Are you looking to celebrate the past successes of your employees and your organization? Do you need to inspire some creative thinking among your team members instead of sticking to the ol’ status quo? Are you looking to inspire your sales force and motivate them to reach for even higher goals than they’ve hit in the past? Or, do you need to communicate the “state of the organization” and dispel some rumors or anxiety that’s been floating around the break rooms?
When you understand your purpose and your desired goals, you’ll have an easier time planning your event.
2. Choose a Sales Kickoff Theme
Now that you know what you want to get out of this event, you can select a theme that supports it. You can go uber-creative and choose a theme that’s both entertaining and whimsical, or you can choose something straightforward that communicates exactly what your team members will take away from the event. Examples of potential themes are “Improving the Customer Experience” or “Sharpening the Blade.”
3. Get the Team Involved
It’s no secret that when employees have the opportunity to provide feedback, voice their concerns, and give input into a decision, they’re more engaged. Send out some quick polls or questionnaires to your employees and ask what they’d like to learn at this event. Find out what interests them and what they’d deem worth attending to learn.
4. Choose your Content Based Off of Your Goals
It’s important to figure out what you want to accomplish during the meeting, but it’s also important to know how that fits into your company goals. Identify the strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots in your organization and provide content that supports closing the gap.
5. Decide on Sales Kickoff Games and Activities
Engaging your employees throughout the entire sales kickoff event will ensure that they are:
- Not bored
- Not rolling their eyes at the cheesiness
- Learning and growing from the content provided
- Going home with actionable steps they can start on the moment they get back to the office.
6. Provide Some Glimpses of the Content to Get Your Salespeople Excited
Just because the event hasn’t yet arrived doesn’t mean that you can’t get your salespeople excited about it. At each step of the planning process, provide a glimpse of what’s to come. You can have the speakers record quick videos about the content they cover, ask the venue staff to do a virtual tour of the location, and even provide helpful hints for “things to do” in the city you’ve chosen.
7. Find a Rockstar Speaker to Give the Opening Presentation
The opening presentation sets the tone for the entire event. Find a speaker who can inspire, engage, and excite your audience. You’ll want someone who captures the audience’s attention the moment he or she steps on stage and is remembered for years to come.
8. Create Your Agenda (and Leave Plenty of Time for Socialization)
While you’ll be providing a ton of content for the attendees, the connections they make between sessions may prove invaluable. They’ll learn best practices from people crushing it in the field, and will make friends, getting to know their coworkers outside of the office environment and creating a stronger team back at the office.
Yes, you’ll still have to be “on” once the event starts. But, you’ll know that you’ve done the proper planning to ensure that the event will be a success. Now, you can go enjoy it and keep an eye out for anything that could be improved in the future.
Your employees are your greatest resource. Invest in their development and training and the return on investment, both in sales and in employee satisfaction, will more than make up for the costs of a sales kickoff meeting.