How to Plan Ahead for Your Sales Kickoff Meeting
Your sales kickoff meeting is a key annual event. Whether your sales force is large or small, it’s likely to be the meeting that has the greatest impact on company performance all year. The messaging, training, and resources you provide at the kickoff will be the measure of that success.
That means you really need to get this right. That starts with a well-defined strategy that includes theme, content and sustained effort. With effective planning and flawless execution, your next SKO will give your sales teams what they need to meet and exceed sales objectives. Here are a few areas to focus on to ensure your sales kickoff is everything you need it to be.
Get started on the right foot
It may start with theme development. What are the meeting objectives, and what narrative will best deliver it to your audience? Is it growth, performance, new products or workshop training? The list of objectives may be long, but prioritizing them will help in crafting that perfect message that ties it all together.
At the core of the sales kickoff meeting (or any corporate event) is the experience. It is connected directly to how your message will be received and how it will resonate with your audience.
Not everyone is a creative genius, but working with an experienced production company that can combine staging with content into an engaging experience will be your first steps towards success.
Focus on training & marketing information
Just creating a fantastic environment is not enough. You must connect the experience with the meeting’s intent, which is of course sales performance. There’s no point in setting your sales staff loose on the world if they’re not prepared to talk about–and effectively market–your product or service. That means you’ll need to include up-to-date product information in your sales kickoff. Even more importantly, you’ll want to train your sales team with the most up-to-date and relevant information and tools.
Put simply, your sales staff should know the products, services and narrative inside and out, so they can face the challenges in the field head-on with confidence and clarity.
For marketing information, keep the info you provide concise and focused. Organize materials with a nod to how the sales teams will present to prospects and current clients. It begins with product/services awareness and ultimately deep-dives to important details that may cover a variety of solutions. Keeping it simple allows your sales team to build strong language that is easily delivered, consistent and targeted. Working with your production company will allow you to ensure that marketing and sales initiatives connect to real world applications that your sales teams are facing every day.
Spend time and money on the items that matter
Ideally, your sales kickoff will have high production values. Beyond that, you need to use your dollars wisely to ensure attendees have the resources and tools they need. Ensure that digital resources are available all year round, including videos that inspire, inform and motivate. Make this material available on the company server or a secure network where associates can have access both in the office and on the road.
Consider webcasting if it is not possible for the entire sales team to attend this event. Don’t leave anyone out! Webcasts are a perfect way to expand the audience and provide an archive of useful information accessible on demand.
Other considerations may be including an expo or demo area where hands on interactions, conversations and networking can happen in a more casual environment. The expo area is also a great place to show products and services in action.
Often times, budgets are tight. So, discuss your objectives with your preferred production partner. You’ll learn how the narrative of the SKO can be enhanced by valuable and reusable assets like video, mobile apps, and sales toolkits.
Talk and Listen
You have a unique opportunity to teach and learn at the same time. The SKO is populated with your sales staff fresh from the field. These associates are brimming with real-world stories, observations and suggestions. This is a great time to have their ears but to also hear their voices. Build your agenda with enough bandwidth to collect those voices, through video interviews, social media dialog, suggestion boxes or commitment walls. One of the most measurable things you can do at the SKO is talk, then listen, and then repeat.
Reinforce objectives throughout the year
At your sales kickoff, be sure to emphasize that this is no “one and done” event. Your goal will be to equip your sales team with everything they need to find personal success and increase sales for your company, and no matter how effective your messaging is at the kickoff, it will need to be reinforced.
We call it the Communications Life cycle. You can visualize the SKO in its three phases: pre-event, live event, and post-event. Keeping information flowing through each phase of the life-cycle will reinforce your message and keep it evergreen all year.
The experienced live event professionals at massAV can help you take your next SKO to new heights from day one to day 365. Reach out to us to find out how.