While you are planning your sales kickoff agenda, there are key components to keep in mind. An ideal sales kickoff agenda lays out a creatively woven tapestry of great speakers, engaging breakout sessions, well-timed networking opportunities and effective team building exercises, all focused on precisely what your salespeople need. Easy, right? (Feat not, we’re here to help).
Five critical areas of focus for your kickoff agenda should be:
Recent research has shown that only 21 percent of company executives feel as though sales reps have relevant examples to share with them on sales calls. This not only hurts your company’s reputability, but could also prevent your sales reps from closing the deal. How to fix this?
Instead of the traditional kickoff model of a business exec giving a single keynote presentation, leverage the heavy-hitting presentation model of storytelling by way of your top performers. Have your top salespeople share their own experiences, tips and stories of successful sales in a live panel discussion with room for questions. The benefits of this are two-fold: top performers will feel that their efforts are recognized and appreciated, and all sales reps will receive relevant, valuable information to apply to their own sales techniques.
Storytelling is a powerful tool in connecting with and retaining your audience’s attention—whether they are your customers or your own employees. Make sure your speakers use engaging presentation techniques to keep the attention of their fellow sales reps with our top recommendations.
Once the event is over, you can turn the success stories that were shared during kickoff into case studies that can be distributed among your staff for future reference.
A sales kickoff event is the perfect time to schedule some tactical sales training sessions. The most successful sales reps never stop learning the newest techniques, so giving your staff valuable training will help them grow as individuals and within your team.
Additionally, try providing training in areas that are more than just sales such as marketing, increasing engagement, and hard skills that are job-specific. Mixing in some soft skills, such as effective communication techniques, listening skills and empathy will go a long way in sales negotiations.
If your kickoff event is held over multiple days, try splitting up the sessions so that each day has a session and each session matches up with your kickoff theme.
An exceptional salesperson could probably sell a product they have no idea how to use or operate. However, even the best salesperson will be an even better seller if they grasp the concept of the product.
A sales kickoff meeting is a great time to train your staff on the newest product updates, features and expansions. Spend some time going over the existing product line, and how it can be utilized for your ideal customer during breakout sessions. Explain what has been updated, and how your customer will benefit. If there are new features, walk your team through how to use them. If your sales line has expanded, show off the new products.
We recommend breaking up the training sessions into chunks no longer than 30 minutes, if only just to get up and stretch for 5 minutes before sitting back down to continue the session. On average, people only actively listen during 7 out of every 60 minutes of a presentation. Out of those 7 minutes spent actively listening, 95 percent of what is heard is forgotten within 72 hours. Breaking up substantial chunks of technical information will help to increase your salespeople’s retention.
From the company whose core brand values include having fun, we recommend making the training sessions as fun as possible. Life is short! Vary up the subject matter, and if possible, include audience participation.
Networking is vitally important in both your sales process and your kickoff meeting. Having the time to network and build relationships within your organization and team can help to bolster morale and strengthen the bond your team has with each other.
Networking, especially among entry and middle-level employees and upper management, can help to share the vision of your sales goals and fortify the relationships that your team has with the company. This is an opportunity for your sales reps to make connections with people they may not regularly see, mingle, and share ideas. You never know who someone might meet that will help them close a deal!
Showcase how well you did last year, and also make sure to mix in those areas with room for improvement. This is also the time to point out your competitors and how they’re doing, as well as brainstorm how you can beat them (or leave them in the dust!). Product developments and reinforcement of sales goals will help to align the meeting content with your overall business objectives.
At the end (of your review, and of the kickoff meeting), make sure you reinforce the theme and what everyone has learned with new learning materials, handouts and questionnaires. Videos of the sessions and recaps of the key points from each panel or breakout will help to keep everything top of mind as your salespeople and company head into this new sales season.
Are you ready to deliver a high-impact and original sales kickoff experience? Let our professionals at ESG help create lasting impressions, memories, relationships and connections in one fantastic event. Contact us today to learn more!