Planning your sales kickoff or national sales meeting? After you choose the date and venue, your next question may be who you should ask to deliver the keynote—and what you want them to talk about.
But choosing the right speaker is a challenge. There are so many experts and people with inspiring stories who might be a good fit, but which one is available, affordable, and relevant?
Your sales kickoff agenda must be inspiring, educational, and relevant to make your event memorable and productive. Checking all of those boxes, within the budget you’ve been given, can be daunting.
Choosing a Great Sales Keynote Speaker for Your Sales Kickoff
Here are seven tips to help you choose a great sales keynote speaker who will kick your sales team into high gear in the coming year.
Step 1: Ask Your Sales Team
The ultimate goal of a sales kickoff is to improve sales performance. The keynote speaker and topic you choose are the perfect opportunity to target the challenges your team faces and give them ways to overcome them.
Involve your salespeople early in the planning process to get a clear idea of specific topics that are important to them.
Ask your sales professionals:
- What are the biggest challenges you face in our selling environment?
- What type of content or training would be most helpful for you?
- How are you looking to grow this year—both professionally and personally?
- Are there specific industry trends or competitors they’re curious about?
Step 2: Define Keynote Goals
There’s a good chance the keynote address will be a highlight that everyone remembers. An energetic, engaging, relatable speaker will set the tone for the rest of the event.
Before you start your search, decide what you want this keynote to achieve. After you’ve chosen your speaker, you can help them hit the mark by communicating these goals.
Hone in on your goals for the event:
- Support and enhance the kickoff theme
- Give insight into industry trends and how they impact sales
- Share advice about changing buyer journeys and how to sell with value
- Build a sales process for selling excellence
- Entertain, inspire, motivate, and/or inform
Step 3: Set Your SKO Budget
A famous name may run you $20,000 or more for a keynote. But remember, a known name is not what’s most important.
Your top priority is to find a speaker that’s credible and understands what your sales professionals need to succeed in today’s changing world. You want them to speak on a topic that’s relevant and valuable to your team, so ideally, they bring experience in sales and knowledge about sales approaches and skill sets.
The best keynote will have a lasting impact on your team’s performance. The team should walk away with a change in motivation or approach they can use to maintain a competitive edge throughout the sales cycle.
Think long-term and, if your budget needs to be stretched, prioritize your speaker fee over a high-end venue or expensive entertainment.
Step 4. Conduct Your Search
Planning an important event such as a sales kickoff meeting can feel daunting. The earlier you get started, the better. Sought-after speakers typically book up as the new year approaches, so you’ll need to work quickly to secure your preferred speaker and topic.
Try these recommendations to find the perfect sales keynote speaker:
Ask Industry Colleagues: Reach out to connections in your industry and ask if they have attended or hosted sales kickoffs with an outstanding keynote presentation.
Review Podcast or Webinar Guests: Do you have a podcast or host webinars? Review your results to see which ones were most popular or who has a unique and compelling message. Have you seen a podcast host or expert presenter you really like? They may be available.
Poll Your Sales Team: Your sales team may have a trainer, facilitator, or author they have worked with in the past and admire. Ask them who they think would be a good fit to deliver a keynote presentation.
Look for Expertise: See who is knowledgeable about the topics you’d like covered during your sales kickoff. Check out industry groups or organizations you trust and explore options they have for keynote speakers.
Ask Your Sales Training Partner: Many sales training companies, The Brooks Group included, provide engaging speakers who can provide highly engaging and relevant keynote presentations. Another benefit to hiring one of their experts is that they’ll already be very familiar with what your sales team needs and your company’s culture.
Step 5: Narrow Your Selection
Once you’ve gathered a few potential sales keynote speakers, review each candidate’s marketing materials and speaker videos to determine:
- How well they align with your requirements
- Whether they speak on topics that will help your team grow
- How much experience they have in sales and in presenting
- If they’ve partnered with notable clients
- If they have video of their presentation style
- Whether they have excellent testimonials and references
Ask potential speakers how they will work with you to support your event’s goals and theme, and expect them to express willingness to explicitly support your brand and event in the ways that you need them to.
Step 6: Book Your Keynote and Promote Your Choice
Once you’ve chosen your speaker and agreed to terms, you will want to promote your choice—internally and externally.
Let your sales team and other departments know who they’ll be hearing from to drum up excitement for the event. Share your meeting agenda with your sales team ahead of time so they know what to look forward to—and the level of accountability you expect from them.
Ask sales management to roll out the announcement and let the team know they’ll be walking away with skills that will help them increase their revenue and grow their business.
Work with your marketing team to promote the speaker externally in a press release, blog post, and social media posts. Most speakers will have a social following and will want to post about working with you as well. Your speaker choice can amplify your company’s credibility in the industry and help you gain media coverage and social followers.
Step 7: Get Feedback After the Event
Your event was a success. Hurrah! But there’s one more step. Make every sales kickoff better than the last by getting feedback from your team.
Ask your team these questions or ask them to rate the speaker on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).
- What did you think of the keynote presentation?
- What were your biggest takeaways from the event?
- Will you be able to apply what you learned at the event to your everyday selling activities?
Use the answers to assess whether your speaker met your goals and help inform your choice next year. Soliciting feedback from your team not only helps improve future meetings, it lets your team know that you’re planning it with them in mind.
Choosing the Best Sales Kickoff Speaker
Planning your annual sales kickoff keynote can feel challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Focusing on the topics that will move your team forward the most will set the foundation for a motivating and effective meeting.
The Brooks Group offers a wide variety of sales kickoff keynote topics and training programs that can be adapted to fit your meeting. Contact us to find your best sales kickoff keynote presenter today!
Sales Kickoff Planning Guide
Download this free guide that will help you plan and deliver an outstanding sales kickoff that sets your sellers up for a successful year: Your Guide to Planning a Successful Sales Kickoff.