5 Tips For Creating A Killer Kickoff Sales Day For Your Business

Mar 18, 2020
Author: alex birch

A sales kickoff is an annual meeting of your company’s sales team. If not done correctly, these meetings can be a pain in the neck. Here are a few ways you can create a fantastic sales kickoff.

  Celebrate both the big and small wins at your kickoff

Sales kickoff budget approved. Check.

Entire sales team coming. Check.

Awesome venue booked. Check.

What else is missing?

The kickoff needs to share best practices, introduce new strategies, update everyone on product updates and launches, deal with topline issues, and celebrate wins.

It’s a gutsy move. Taking the sales team away for a couple of days means they won’t be doing the day-to-day stuff needed to keep the ball rolling. And it’s hard to justify big budgets for team-building. 

Is it worth it? Yup – there’s ample evidence that investing in company culture not only helps maintain a strong team, but boosts revenue, too. 

Plus, nothing can replace face-to-face interactions. Your sales team will be prepared, inspired, and feel valued. They’ll be ready to hit the ground running and the knowledge, sense of teamwork, and positive energy gained from the sales kickoff will motivate them to get leads and close sales. 

But a sales kickoff meeting needs a few special ingredients to make it Michelin-star worthy.

Let’s have a look at five that will prepare the sales team for the best year ever.

1. It’s not just for the money – have fun

Take time to get to know each of the sales team as people, not just employees. What are they like outside of the office? What drives them personally?

If people find common bonds apart from work, they’re more likely to gel together better if they like and understand each other as people. 

Make sure you’re inclusive and while in-jokes are great, newbies may not get them. Try to let everyone shine without pressure.

Obviously, there are already going to be established sub-groups, so mix up the teams so they get to know others. This includes breakout sessions and after-hours events for people to learn about each other without the facilitators, and make sure there’s ample time for people to let their hair down without their bosses around.

2. Use carrots, not sticks

The Glengarry Glen Ross “always be closing” method may have worked in the good ol’ days. But, fear and intimidation should never be part of your strategy to get the sales team motivated. 

You need to trust your sales team to do what they do best. Create conditions to support them with reliable, current and accurate information on updates and new products. 

Involve them in the production process and reinforce just how big an impact they have on the company. Not just in terms of the bottom line, but the hard work that the rest of the company invests in creating and refining the product, launching it, and making sure the right people see it. Make sure that other teams are aware of their successes as well as lessons to be learned.

Salespeople are goal-oriented of course. They have revenue targets to meet and expectations of the company can loom large.

But, there should be another focus on how salespeople engage with potential clients.

The marketing team, product development, and senior management need to know why customers buy, and why others don’t. This is information that salespeople can be key in collecting.

When sales teams understand the value they create for the company as a whole, their motivation and sense of accountability will increase.

3. Use it, lose it, break it, fix it – know the product

That means they need to know your products and services inside out. Whether it’s a physical good, a membership subscription, or a software program, understanding the intricacies of what’s being sold is essential. Salespeople need to know the customer’s needs and pre-empt any questions they might have. 

If the people selling the product aren’t experts on using it, then customers are going to lose trust very quickly. Credibility lost is not just that one customer, but potential ones that hear about the experience. And that means extra time and money to get another customer to enter the funnel and convert.

Use the kickoff to train your sales team on product features and any new ones in the pipeline.

According to some experts, salespeople can’t recall around 70 percent of the information they digest within a week of training, rising to 87 percent within a month. That’s no surprise. Our attention spans are shockingly short.

One easy way to ensure the sales team understand the product well – and remember what they learn – is to use interactive content.

Interactive content makes users learn in a simple, fun, and user-friendly fashion. Rather than assuming people retain information consumed passively, it causes people to engage and respond, often with a reward at the end. Using contests, quizzes or other games that test the sales team’s knowledge, also improves memory retention rates.

Create a fun, funny, yet informative quiz that will help the sales team remember every little product detail. Use memes, GIFs, videos, and other audiovisual content. Make answers short and simple to answer, and reward users with points, or create a leaderboard.

4. Foster a friendly (and competitive) team spirit 

Ask each sales team or member to present a 2-minute key lesson learned in the past year plus a highlight. Some say you should just get your star performers to present what they do as best practice, but you need to get a 360-degree view of what’s working and what’s not. The bottlenecks are going to show you far more about what you need to improve than the success stories.

Create a little competition and get groups to brainstorm contest ideas for sales campaigns as a way of testing their knowledge. Or, do some role-playing and have team members play the worst client ever to test their sales skills and find out where they could improve. 

5. Think about the big picture and keep it simple

It’s easy to get bogged down in details and tactics. These are important of course, but try to have a physical reminder in the meeting space about the overarching vision for the year.

Even if your sales pros know their stuff, some studies show that only 24 percent of decision-makers believe salespeople understand their business needs and a measly 15 percent think calls with salespeople are worth their time. 

So engaging qualified leads is not just showing you know, but showing how their problems can be solved. Your sales team need to think of themselves as problem-solvers, not just deal-makers.

Revisit key strategies. Whether your company is focussing on customer acquisition or customer retention, going over the fundamentals of best practices for customer success is never a bad idea.

When the sales team feels united by a common and coherent vision and goals that are achievable, it’s much easier to maintain positive energy and not overwhelm them. So when you’re planning the next kickoff, think about these five elements to get the best out of your sales team.

Remind your team that they’re an integral part of the company’s success and the kickoff is an investment into both their personal and professional development. Have fun, learn a lot, and focus on the long game.

Alex Birch is the SEO Manager at Typeform. Lover of all things marketing & search. Originally from Manchester, UK but now enjoying life in sunny Barcelona.