What Not to Do at a Sales Kickoff Meeting

sales kickoff meeting

Annual sales kickoff meetings are a great opportunity to get the entire team together in one place—to share ideas, network, and get motivated to hit the ground running in the New Year. But getting buy-in from your team for the sales meeting is critical in determining whether the time away will be successful and productive or not.

When your reps view the experience as valuable, engagement levels increase and the information presented during the meeting is more likely to stick. Plan your meeting to optimize engagement and avoid the most common pitfalls that can turn a valuable opportunity into a snooze-fest for your team. Here are 6 things you shouldn’t be doing if you want to hold a successful sales kickoff meeting.

1. Don’t Only Include Presentations from VPs and Directors

It’s important for stakeholders and executive figures to demonstrate their support for the sales team, but don’t miss the opportunity to highlight top performing salespeople at your kickoff meeting. Your team wants to hear upper level management input, but learning the secret sauce from one of their peers will really make a lasting impression on your reps.

2. Don’t Deliver a Locker Room Speech

Motivation stems from inspiration. If you really want your annual sales meeting to inspire, make sure that your motivational messaging is genuine and specific to your strategy. Your team is full of competent professionals that crave valuable content, so spare them the cliché rah-rah speech and give them something they can get behind.

3. Don’t Have the Kickoff Prior to Setting Territories and Quotas

Assigning territories and quotas to your team prior to the sales meeting will give your reps time to digest that information, and prepare any questions they may have concerning it. At the kickoff, everyone will be on the same page with what’s expected of them, and you can channel your focus into motivation for getting it done.

4. Don’t Fill Every Minute of the Itinerary with Presentations

Lectures are boring. Your sales kickoff meeting should be informative, but don’t overlook the meeting as a valuable opportunity for salespeople to share ideas and network. Networking and collaboration is consistently ranked by salespeople as the most valuable part of this type of event. Keep presentations interactive and provide time for reps to break apart and engage with one another.

5. Don’t Lose Credibility with a Cheesy Theme

You won’t get much buy-in or enthusiasm from your sales team if your meeting is based around a cheesy theme. Pick an area of focus instead, maybe where your team’s greatest challenge lies. Think “Outselling Lower Priced Competition” or “Strategic Account Management,” for example.

6. Don’t Overload Your Team with Information

It’s easy to get carried away during a kickoff, but resist the urge to cram a year’s worth of meetings into one event. Your sales team may be full of superstars but there’s a limit to how much information they can retain in one sitting. Keep in mind the “less is more” principle, and focus on the most important topics to make the biggest impact.

Keep this list of “don’ts” in mind when you’re planning your 2016 sales kickoff meeting. It can be rare to get the whole team together, so when you do, be sure to make the most of it. Provide value for your team at your next sales meeting with an interactive component that will help them reach the goals you’ve laid out for them.

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Will Brooks

As the CEO of The Brooks Group, Will draws on his leadership, marketing, sales, sales management, and operational experience to help develop and execute the company’s overall growth strategy. Having been in the human capital development industry his entire career, helping organizations reach their full potential through transformational change is a part of Will’s DNA. By putting his name on every single engagement, Will assumes a personal commitment to the success of every client.

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