By Jeffrey Byrne and Kirk Saboda, ON Services, January 6, 2023
After years of change and challenges, this year more than ever it’s important to make sure that your event is impactful, leaves a lasting impression on your team, and jump starts your year towards sales success.
Sales kickoff meetings should be more than just a pep rally for your brand, and now more than ever training should be a the the core of your meeting. The past few years have been a period of constant change. Teams have changed, processes have changed, and the way people engage has changed. A sales kickoff event is the perfect opportunity to level set with your sales team and provide them with the training they need to be successful.
Quality training materials and presenters are a must to get the most of this time. Also, consider the demographics of your team and how they learn best. Do they need high-touch, more interactive training or is typical presentation style training more their speed? Consider recording your training so that your team can review at their own pace later.
Also, consider interactive quizzes to ensure your audience is grasping the training content and getting the most out of it.
Okay, so a sales kickoff meeting should also be a pep rally for your brand. A kickoff event is a great way to get your team pumped up about selling your product or service. Make sure that your branding is on point and that you have exciting visuals and collateral for your team to take home with them. Consider how you’ll theme your event and how it aligns to your goals for the year.
Make it memorable for your audience so they can connect with the theme and messaging as a directive, a call to arms, and something actionable. Consider how your theme and branding should permeate all of your touch points in your event, from badges for your attendees to printed and digital signage on site, to social media tags, to branding for your event website for virtual participants. And go big on giving your team branded goods. Ditch the “swag” and lean into some premium branded products that your team will cherish and be proud to use daily.
You want your team leaving the event excited about your brand and excited about talking to your customers about your brand.
Finally, the last few years have shown us the opportunity in leveraging hybrid technology to reach more people. This means having a virtual component for those who can’t attend in person.
By doing this, you’ll ensure that everyone on your team can participate and learn from the event, no matter where they are in the world. But all hybrid events are not created equally. If you simply stream your sessions out to your audience, you’ll likely find your online guests distracted and unengaged.
To do hybrid well, you have to treat your virtual segment like it’s own event.
Your theme and branding should be front and center in your virtual event.
It needs interactivity like quizzes, polls and gamification.
You need to draw your virtual audience in.
Find ways to make them feel like they’re part of the event.
Consider having streaming booths at your in-person event where live attendees can stop in and network with virtual attendees in between sessions.
Plan to send your virtual attendees the same quality branded products that your in-person attendees get.
And consider buying your virtual attendees lunch, just as you would for your in-person attendees.
Again, whether in-person or virtual, you want your team pumped up about your brand and it’s the details that make all the difference.
Plan to Pivot: If we’ve learned anything over the past few years, we’ve learned that change is inevitable, so you have to be prepared with alternative plans. Maybe your company is cutting your budget for this year’s event or maybe you feel like you don’t have the resources to hold a sales kickoff meeting at all.
In any case, you need to know what your options are so that you can get your team excited about your brand and deliver the training they need to be successful. If you can’t host the incredible in-person event you want to, consider changing the mix of in-person and virtual attendance.
As an alternative to holding a big in-person meeting, one option is producing your event from a studio. Your event production partner may have their own studio or may be able to create a studio environment at your corporate campus. In either case, this is a great way to recreate an in-person experience by bringing your presenters and entertainment into the studio to broadcast to your virtual audience.
A studio environment can provide a similar high production value feel for your event while lowering your costs. Adding pre-recorded footage and high quality video content can help elevate the presentation as well. As an extension of this studio approach, if you have multiple offices, consider a hub and spoke model, with your keynotes being broadcast from the studio and training sessions happening at each of your remote locations.
The hub and spoke model combines the efficiency of the virtual experience with a component of face to face meeting with attendees meeting at their nearest office or a nearby off-site location. Throw in a team event or dinner at the end of the night to and you will have managed to deliver a great experience even on a tighter budget.
A sales kickoff event is a crucial part of any company’s success. Coming off years of change, now more than ever investing in your sales team is a must if you want to jump start your year and set your team up for sales success.
No matter your budget or what resources you have to put into planning your sales kickoff event, you have options.
By following these three tips (and our bonus tip), you’ll be well on your way to kicking off the year right and making sure that your sales kickoff event is more impactful than ever before.