10 Ways to Put On a Killer Sales Kick-Off Meeting

Ryan Walsh, CEO and Founder
Ryan Walsh, CEO and FounderJan 9, 2019

The annual sales kick-off meeting has the potential to be really motivational for the team and is critical in terms of setting the tone for the year.  The flip side of this, though, is that it can also be demoralizing if the team leaves the without energy and not 100% clear on the goals and mission of the team for the upcoming year.

January is the time for these meetings, so as you reflect on how yours went or are finalizing this year’s event, below is a guide (10 key points) for how to get the most out of this day (or two).

 1. While this is a sales kick-off meeting, the rest of the senior management team should be invited and 100% on board with everything presented at the meeting. It’s also an opportunity for the sales team members to get quality face-time with cross-functional leadership.

 2. Have a dinner and make sure the leadership team (as referenced above) is at the dinner.  Don’t have the leadership sitting together – mix them in with the sales team.

 3. You really need to get out of the office for this meeting.  If budget is tight, get creative, ask favors, do what it takes.  Even with no cell phones (yes – your team should NOT be on their phones during the content), just being in the office is a distraction.  It’s also just a different and better vibe if you’re somewhere else.

 4. Celebrate winning in a big way for those who performed the previous year.  Be gracious with awards and make it fun! If you’ve ever been on my team you know I’m a fan of the giant golf-style check!

5.  Recognize those who contributed to the team outside of the core sales group.  Sales teams simply can’t succeed without the support of legal, ops, finance, etc, etc. Make sure that’s clear to everyone.

6.  Do a team building competition and make it fun – this crew likes to compete, right?  Organize the groups to give team members exposure to some other people they may not engage with regularly.

7. Remember, too many charts, numbers, metrics, graphs will kill the meeting.  Keep the metrics review at a high level and to those that are critical.

8. For both sales leadership and other cross functional leadership (who should also be presenting), the content should always be focused on how the leaders are helping the team succeed.  What are they doing to support the efforts of the sales team members.

 9. Be very clear and specific about the goals for the upcoming year.  Make sure everyone leaves knowing exactly what the organization needs to accomplish.  Additionally, make sure they know what happens if you achieve that goal.

 10.  Finally, it may seem small, but where is the top performer trip club going to be for those who qualify?  It’s NOT motivating enough to go through the year thinking about somewhere “non-specific but likely will be awesome”. Knowing they can go to some island in the Caribbean, or Europe, or wherever is highly motivating!

Always one of my favorite meetings / days of the year (work-wise at least), but it can easily go off the rails if you don’t prepare and take it seriously.

Good luck!

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