First impressions are everything and nowhere is that truer than the opening minutes of your IT sales kick-off meeting. You want to make an impression… a big one.
Your sales team is likely one of the most dynamic and excitable departments in your company.
But they also probably bore easily.
If you’re in charge of the sales kick-off meeting for your IT company, you want to look to create an environment where inspiration, education, and entertainment flow abundantly. You must look for ways to constantly improve attention acquisition.
If you do, they’ll carry that sales meeting spark and transform it into sales success. If you don’t, you’ve missed an opportunity to inspire your sales team and that could cost you money. Here’s how to make your sales kick-off meeting the best ever with as little stress as possible.
The Key Steps to a Well Thought Out Sales Kick-off Meeting
- Align your kick-off theme with the company mission and annual goals. Ensure your speakers/presenters know these critical components too so they can help “connect the dots” for your sales team and deliver a much more effective kick-off meeting.
Pro tip: Explain to your presenters who their audience is and what makes them different from other salespeople. The more the presenters know, the better they can tailor their presentation, which will improve attention acquisition.
- Ask your salespeople what they want (or need) to learn through a pre-meeting poll. Accommodate those requests as much as possible. This will make them feel a greater investment in the learning and will improve their sales skills, which ultimately increases your revenue. A strong return on investment makes everyone look good.
Pro tip: Find a way to track knowledge before and after, Perhaps through a poll or survey. This will help you show management that not only did you organize one heck of a sales kick-off meeting but you also helped improve employee knowledge (and, hopefully, company revenue).
- Select a dynamic presenter/speaker and familiarize them with your company and your employee culture. They should be well-briefed on audience expectations and industry vernacular.
Pro tip: While most keynotes have a standing presentation, encourage them to tailor components and language use to your sales team so that your salespeople will identify with the content as well as the speaker.
- Ensure your presenters are familiar with engagement technology and know how it will be used at your kick-off meeting. The possibilities behind visual collaboration are captivating.
Pro tip: Give them some time to use tech beforehand so they feel comfortable with it. Provide tips on best practices. With smart collaboration tools such as visual collaboration your presenters can experiment with fun ways to engage sales by doing things like inviting them to collaborate on the slide itself. The presenter can “draw” trend lines and other components on the presentation while your sales team watches. There are many engaging opportunities with big reveals, particularly when it comes to goals and financials. Visual Collaboration will leave them on the edge of their seats..
- Insist your speakers focus on interactive sessions. Encourage them to use polls, surveys, and breakouts to get the group involved.
Pro tip: Slowly revealing results and other information can be a lot more fun and engaging than simply posting them all at once.
- Accommodate those who can’t make it with a virtual event. Don’t leave them out of the branded company swag either. Send it to their home or office.
Pro tip: If you’re hosting your kick-off meeting in a very cool venue or host city, consider sending a souvenir or even a host city-inspired meal or snack to the home viewers.
- Understand the purpose of your sales kick-off meeting. Are you launching a new product or service and learning is critical? Or are you entering a new market and you’re trying to bring your sales crew up to speed with the needs and demands of it? Knowing the main purpose of your kick-off will help you select your engagement tools and programming.
Pro tip: Select tech that specializes in what you are trying to accomplish. For instance, a Facebook group won’t help you in the same way as a learning management system would. Know what you want to do and select your tools accordingly. A tool that brings your group together and assists in audience collaboration and engagement is a strong choice.
At the Sales Meeting
- Make an impression. Never start a sales kick-off with a fizzle when you could use an explosive BANG! Create an experience they won’t forget. Use the excitement of your sales team being together to create a memorable, interactive event.
Pro tip: Your presentations and learning session should follow that same energy. Grab the attention of your sales team from the beginning with interactive polls and rapid-fire Q&As.
- Encourage audience collaboration during presentations. If you don’t interest them in some way, they’ll find something that does. And since distraction is carried around in most people’s pockets in the form of their cell phone these days, it’s not something you want to risk. Once you lose attention, it’s difficult to get back.
Pro tip: Use visual collaboration tools that allow the sales audience to be a part of the content creation. It’s harder to get bored when you’re given slide access and can take notes directly on them or share your thoughts with others in the sales team, publicly or privately.
- Ensure the learning is absorbed through product or market quizzes. You can do preliminary open tests on the material to establish a starting point.
Pro tip: People are more likely to pay attention to information if they know they will be quizzed on it afterward. Making the results public from a percentage perspective, not individual test scores, can show you/the presenter what still needs to be learned.
- Salespeople are often multi-taskers, but at your kick-off meeting, you have their undivided attention (at least from the point that they are seated in front of you and have blocked off this time for you) to educate them on new products/services, a new technique, or a new company vision.
Pro tip: Use a gamified experience like Ford did to increase its sales peoples’ knowledge through its learning portal. Gamification needn’t be a technology tool. You can employ simple leaderboards that motivate in the same way. These are extremely effective among groups that are highly competitive like sales.
- Encourage best practices exchange. Sessions needn’t be led by keynote superstars. Some of the most compelling learning tracks occur in the “hallway” when peers exchange best practices.
Pro tip: Make sure salespeople are able to connect with one another effectively and leave downtime in your schedule/agenda to get them connecting organically. Since many sales meetings are held at exotic locales, you can assume your salespeople may come with guests. In those cases, hosting mixers for everyone is a good way to facilitate connections.
- Conduct an awards ceremony or thank you session where you set aside time to acknowledge your top performers. Make sure your sales team knows exactly (with examples) why those individuals are being lauded. Public acknowledgment means more when it gives your sales personnel something to emulate. Encourage attendees to congratulate their peers using interactive technology.
Pro tip: In addition to awarding your high performers, you can create audience voting awards. They can be serious like “Best Sales Approach” or funny like “Most likely to not remember this session tomorrow.” After all, tech sales people love a good laugh. Results can be “beamed” right to their newsfeed.
- Create a public image wall salespeople can upload to in order to share in the fun and excitement of your kick-off meeting. Salespeople are never wallflowers. Capture their celebratory spirits and give them the tools to do the same for their peers.
Pro tip: Create a photo album of these images to be used in post-event communications to remind everyone of the amazing time they had.
Post Sales Meeting
- Don’t waste an opportunity to keep your sales team connected. Networking is not only good for their own career advancement but for learning as well. Helping your sales team think of themselves as co-workers across the global expanse means they’re more likely to feel engaged. In an article published in Forbes entitled Can Having a Best Friend at Work Make You More Productive?, Kaytie Zimmerman wrote, “According to a Gallup Poll, those who had a best friend at work were 43% more likely to report having received recognition and praise for their work in the last week.” Not only does having friends at work improve productivity it also may help retention of information.
Pro tip: If you assist attendees in making those powerful connections, you give them another source for information. While they may not want to clarify something with their manager, they may feel comfortable addressing it with a peer. Encouraging networking and collaboration can help build a solid sales infrastructure and knowledge base.
- Reinforce learning after the event is over by creating a drip marketing campaign or success emails with tips and takeaways learned at your sales kick-off meeting. You can even create a video library of your session to ensure they don’t forget anything.
Pro tip: Provide them with access to the docs and slides shared at your meeting directly from their event app.
- Hold them accountable. Create a challenge around how they will implement their new learning. Track success and share it with your organization.
Pro tip: Test them on their retention a few weeks after the sale kick-off. Reward those who score highest.
If you’re in charge of the sales kick-off meeting for your IT company, you need to create an experience they won’t forget. Much of that will be done in the venue and host city you select.
But that’s not enough.
Use interactive technology to involve your salespeople, to increase learning, motivation, and inspiration. An engaged sales department will outperform a deeply experienced group who are simply there for the paycheck.
Evenium knows that a sales kick-off meeting is critical to this year’s company revenue and beyond. Let us show you how using technology to create an engaged attendee sales audience can maximize your profits across your entire IT company.