How to prepare for your kickoff
Every sales kickoff needs an overarching purpose. You may want to celebrate recent wins, clarify goals for the new year or help your team hit the proverbial pavement feeling re-energized and equipped to improve your sales activities.
Once you’ve figured out what the overriding goal of your meeting is, here are some key preparation points to consider.
What data or information will you need?
To make the most of event presentations or training sessions, you may find it useful to:
- Gather shareable data on last year’s sales forecast, sales results and specific successes
- Clarify where your department or company stands now and where you’d like it to be by the end of the year
- Establish key event takeaways that tie company goals to team member objectives
Many organizations send out meeting content or even pre-work packages in advance to engage and prepare participants, then follow up with post-work packages to help team members put the skills or knowledge they acquire during the event to work in the coming year.
If relevant, don’t forget to also check the availability of event venues, keynote speakers, sales trainers and key sales leaders and decision makers within your own organization who might present informative, inspiring overviews of their major wins and losses from the previous year.
What physical items will you require?
Make sure you have sticky notes, pen, paper and/or worksheets on hand in case participants would prefer to take notes by hand rather than digitally.
For larger events, you may require name tags or ID badges, as well as AV equipment like:
- A sound system
- A laptop computer and laser pointer
- A presentation screen
You should also provide a package of summary materials (in print or online) that team members can take away and refer to. Research suggests that we quickly forget much of what we learn (50-80% by the following day) unless it’s reinforced over time.
Who needs to be there?
Don’t feel you should limit your meeting to sales reps only. For a broader perspective and presentation of sales kickoff ideas, consider bringing in:
- Members of your other customer-facing, sales enablement, marketing and product teams
- Department managers, founders or CEOs
- Customers (particularly brand ambassadors) or even company investors
The better the people attached to your organization understand one another’s roles, the more connected they’ll feel to shared goals.
When should you schedule your event and how long should it be?
The timing and length of your kickoff will largely depend on your budget, the size of your sales department and your objectives.
An in-person event may unfold over a single day or less at your office, or over two to three days at a hotel conference center. It can be scheduled for a weekday, during a time when sales are typically slow, or over a weekend to mitigate workplace disruption.
Regardless of how you schedule your event, you’ll encourage better retention of the information discussed and presented if you prioritize quality over quantity.
What should people bring?
In small, intimate kickoff sale settings, you may want to have team members bring their laptops to facilitate brainstorming or to stream webinars you’ve sourced or prepared. At the very least, they should bring along some personal thoughts or notes around your kickoff meeting ideas to explore as a group.
Attendees of larger events, meanwhile, should come equipped for mingling and Q&A sessions with pertinent insights or questions about the topics under discussion. You may also want to suggest (with proper permissions from guest speakers) that attendees come equipped with a recording app or device.