How to Keep Your Sellers Engaged at Your 2019 Sales Kickoff

November 6, 2018 | Michele Wilkins

SalesKickoffMeetingThis is the second of a two-part series to support your 2019 sales kickoff. If you missed part one, you can find it here

Most sellers are about to receive a “save the date” for 2019 sales kickoff if they haven’t already. After attending more than 20 of these, my initial reaction remains: “Ugh! Another four days of my life in Vegas (or wherever) with little sleep and not much value.”  

Truth be told — sales kickoffs aren’t all bad, all the time. Taking the best of the best would make for an agenda that would keep sellers as engaged as is possible. It should go without saying that items such as quota and territory should be distributed in advance or everyone becomes distracted.

Here are 9 things to consider when planning for your 2019 sales kick-off meeting:

1. Theme: It’s hokey, but a theme is important. Tying things together makes the content of the meeting more memorable.

2. Awards: Always present a few of these early on. It jumpstarts your sellers’ competitive nature. Let the winners have a few minutes to discuss the unique details of their deal as a source of inspiration.  

3. Product training: Send product material as pre-work. Then hold an onsite session with a quick overview and ample time for Q&A. There is nothing worse than sitting through a meeting where questions get cut off due to time constraints.

4. Customer presentations: Customer presentations are an excellent way for sellers to learn use cases first hand, so don’t just save them for user conferences! Hearing customers talk helps enhance your sellers’ storytelling ability.

5. Skills training: Sellers want to hone the skills of their craft! For example, the trend today is value-based selling. According to Forrester Research, “while 88 percent of key decision makers feel that salespeople can speak knowledgeably about their own products and services, only 24 percent feel like they understand their business needs.” Teach your sales force to focus more on the outcome than on the features and benefits. As a seller, I want to learn to quantify the value of our solutions. Help your sellers’ talk to buyers in a way that shows an understanding of the buyer’s business. Approximately 90 percent of successful sales organizations have two or more tools for customer research. One of these tools should deliver historical financial performance, industry and peer comparisons, KPIs of importance and the ability to calculate the value of an improvement in said KPI. Having these skills and this information will produce better meetings and more sales.

6. Compensation plan training: Include this somehow. Sellers are coin operated so understanding how to make money is an extreme motivator.

7. Entertainment: This gets people in sales energized, so weave it throughout the agenda even if it’s just loud, popular music. Hiring third-party speakers to discuss provocative topics can also get people fired up.  

8. Group activity: How about volunteer work one night instead of just a social? Philanthropy is energizing!

9. Unlimited water, snacks, and a bar: These are must-haves.  

What to leave out? Anything that is outside of what’s described above. With all due respect, sellers don’t want to hear about how to better leverage the training organization or technical sellers. Do that later in a WebEx.

Your sales force is spending four days of their lives to participate in a sales kickoff meeting. Make it worth their time and your investment.


Do you need a customized training program for your sales kickoff? Learn more about FinListics' education series. 


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