Enormous hotel. Matching notepads and pens galore. Hundreds of people riding the fence between vacation and business attire. Yup, I’m talking about a global sales kickoff meeting.
Every VP Sales knows the importance of a successful kickoff, but how do you ensure engagement, education, and excitement about new products and the goals? Here are a few tips I’ve compiled from speaking at and attending some truly great and truly forgettable sales kickoffs.
1. Have Direction
- The structured agenda should have a clear Point of View and direction for the meeting.
- What is the ONE key takeaway or big idea you want participants to remember? How should they change they way they think or act about the product or company? You may have 10, 20, things to say, but there should be one main idea or vision that guides the rest.
2. Inspire & Motivate
- Motivation often stems from inspiration. How are you planning to inspire and excite your global sales team?
- Sales is stressful, so incorporate entertainment throughout the meeting with SHARPs – stories, humor, analogies, references & quotes, and pictures & visuals
- A keynote speaker is often crucial; their message needs to resonate, but also, as Chris Brogan just reinforced, the message needs to be simple. So often, companies spend $M+ on venue, stage, etc., but if the speakers aren't great.. what a waste! Invest time in finding someone of quality.
3. Be Interactive
- Involve the stars of the show, the top sales people – they have a lot to share and will appreciate the recognition. Give them notice to prepare something succinct and sweet.
- While it's important to involve a variety of players in the event, sometimes we miss the mark by letting every VP and director say their piece. Potential nap time alert!
4. Encourage Relationships
- We know the value of breaks and time to marinate on new information. Give people structured downtime for networking, sharing best practices, and the opportunity to build some rapport with one another.
- Remember that you're creating an experience with this kickoff. How does the meeting feel to participants? Is it high energy with momentum, or staggered and slow? Attendees are less likely to run off to their rooms at breaks if the experience is high-energy and exciting.
5. Capture the Moment
- Capture information for follow-up and give the group access to key points and presentations to re-read on their own time. Help them stay in the process after the meeting has ended and continue their education.
- Don’t lose momentum after the meeting ends, use continuous feedback and energy to keep going and moving toward those sales quotas.
Your sales team is your most valuable resource. Are you engaging and motivating your sales team, or wasting their time with this meeting? Please share your favorite part of the last all-hands you attended!