It comes every year, and still it always seems to sneak up on us: the National Sales Meeting.
From creating the meeting agenda, booking the convention center, deciding on a meeting theme, and identifying a keynote speaker –there’s a lot to be done.
But if you truly want your national sales meeting or sales kickoff meeting to be a success, you need a solid action plan.
Follow these 6 tips to plan and deliver a kickoff meeting that keeps your sales force engaged and ready to hit the ground running as soon as they return home.
Tip #1: Pick a Meeting Theme that Inspires
You won’t get much buy-in or enthusiasm from your sales team if your meeting is based around a cheesy theme like “Anything is Possible.” Instead, consider choosing an area of focus that aligns with the growth strategy of your sales organization.
Think, “Winning with Customer Focus” or “Maximizing Client Potential.”
Once you’ve determined your kickoff meeting’s main objective, you can fill the schedule with training, presentations, and other activities that support the focus.
Tip #2: Select a Memorable Keynote Speaker
If you have a keynote speaker at your annual sales meeting, they need to make an impact on your attendees. Does that mean the keynote speaker needs to be a famous name?
What it does mean, is that the speaker must present on a topic that your sales staff finds relevant and valuable. A successful keynote presentation has a mix of the following elements:
- Relevancy (meaning, your sales reps can go back to work and immediately make changes that result in performance lift)
Tip #3: Incorporate Company Branding
We’re not just talking about having your company logo appear in multiple locations around the sales conference. Be intentional about incorporating your company’s core values or mission into the meeting itself.
That might come through in a presentation from the CEO or Vice President of Sales. Or, it could be a session that highlights team members who have displayed your company values over the previous year.
Sales professionals should leave the meeting feeling inspired and proud to be a part of your organization. To do that, communicate exactly how each player will be expected to contribute so your salespeople can clearly see why the company exists and their role within it.
Tip #4: Keep the Agenda Focused
Try to resist the urge to cram a year’s worth of meetings into one event. Your sales team may be full of heavy hitters but there’s a limit to how much information they can retain in one meeting.
A good rule of thumb is, if a topic can be covered effectively during a weekly sales team meeting or conference call, leave it out of your national sales meeting. Keep in mind the “less is more” principle, and focus on the most important topics to make the biggest impact
Also, be mindful of the time slots you’re filling with “less engaging” content. For example, don’t schedule your CRM training right after lunch. Go for something more interactive and engaging to fight the food coma.
Tip #5: Include Other Departments in Your Sales Kickoff Meeting
If you want your sales force to be successful, there should be alignment with the other departments in your organization – particularly marketing and customer service.
When your sales, marketing, and customer service teams are all using the same language and operating system, the customer experience is greatly elevated.
Your national sales meeting is a great opportunity to align your team members for the year to come. Imagine how much more success your entire organization can achieve in the coming year if sales, marketing, and customer service are in lock step!
Tip #6: Distribute a National Sales Meeting Event Guide
Send your meeting attendees an event guide ahead of time and you’ll accomplish two goals:
- You can drum up some excitement around the event and “sell” it to your team members who may not be looking forward to their time away from work.
- It will help your sales reps (and any other employees attending) know what to expect, and what is expected of them.
If you have an interactive training component scheduled, let your reps know what they need to bring with them in order to participate.
For example, our clients who book a Strategic Account Management workshop during their national sales meetings will let their reps know that they need to bring information from two of their current accounts (a target account and a growth account.) They arrive prepared and ready to work “on” their business, instead of “in” it.
It can be rare to get all the salespeople in your company together, so when you do, be sure to make the most of it.
Keep this list in mind when planning and delivering your national sales team meeting, and include a training component to make your meeting as productive as possible.
The Brooks Group offers a selection of high-impact training programs that are a great option for annual or national sales meetings, and can be customized to meet the needs of your organization and sales team. Learn More.