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kickoff event theme

How and Why to Pick a Sales Kickoff Theme

Lose your why, lose your way. Choosing a theme for your sales kickoff gives you an excellent “why” around which to focus your agenda, creating a watershed upon which every facet of the event can be evaluated. Your theme will help your event messaging stay concise, consistent and cohesive.

Why theme your event?

In many organizations, the sales kickoff is the one time in a year that the entire company-wide sales force meets in person. The idea of the kickoff is for everyone who attends to be trained or notified of new products, know about the competition, create a good rapport with their coworkers and, most importantly, be re-energized to get back out there and sell—basically, a big pep rally.

Your sales kickoff theme should be centered around five key areas:
  1. Increasing or reinstating sales morale.
  2. Establishing or reinforcing the sales mantra.
  3. Setting goals to outperform your top competitor.
  4. Pick a tagline that presenters can embellish upon.
  5. Establish key takeaways you want your sales force to walk away with


The overall message of the theme should help speakers to keep their presentation in focus and for the team to have a common ground for collaboration. Your theme improves the overall memorability and enhances the event’s entertainment value. It’s your sales season’s unifying message.

What type of event?

When picking a theme, it’s also important to consider its entertainment value and longevity. The Sales Executive Council has stated that reps forget up to 87 percent of the training that they received at the event…just one month later. Let’s fix that.

The ability to keep your audience engaged will increase retention of the material being presented. Try to have your presenters utilize storytelling and interactive presenting techniques to keep the audience alert.

You can also try breaking your event into one of three main areas of emphasis:

  • Celebration themes help to keep morale high, and it’s a great option if you’ve got big wins to celebrate or if your team is already performing well. It’s also an excellent time to set goals for more significant gains.
  • Motivation and provocation themes help to kickstart lackluster performance or bring your team to a higher level. Aim to inspire and incentivize.
  • An informational theme will help to give your team key info about new products, refine the sales team or aid in a merger or corporate takeover.

What should you consider when choosing a theme?

Your theme should go hand in hand with the type of event that you’re throwing, but there are other factors to consider as well when planning your theme.

If everything is running well and there are high spirits all around, a more high-energy, over-the-top theme would be suitable. However, when things aren’t running smoothly or efficiently, a more pragmatic approach might be more appropriate. A merger might call for a theme that puts more emphasis on collaboration. Other considerations when choosing your theme should include:

  • What your sales team’s overall satisfaction level?
  • What is your sales slogan for the coming year?
  • Are there any specific themes your speaker can appeal to?
  • What theme can you create takeaways (especially tangible ones) for?

If you’re stuck or unsure of how to plan your sales kickoff event, consult the experts.  Contact ESG today to learn more about kicking off your sales season on the right foot.