The Must-Have Sales Kickoff Guide For Success [+6 Tips For Going Virtual]

March 16, 2021
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Sales kickoff meetings are important for establishing and reinforcing a sales team’s culture and strategy.

It can be easy to lose sight of the overall goal when your sales team is hustling every day meeting their quotas.

That’s why it’s important to have sales kickoff meetings – to give the team encouragement and a big boost, setting them in the right direction for the rest of the year.

Traditionally, sales kickoff meetings were held off-site, as a way to celebrate and educate the sales team for the following year. However, this year many company’s sales kickoff meetings looked different — they went virtual.

In a changing time, we’ll show you how you can get the best out of planning your company’s virtual sales kickoff.

What is a Sales Kickoff Meeting?

A sales kickoff meeting is an annual event hosted for the sales team of an organization to go over the previous year’s sales goals, share best sales practices, and plan upcoming sales goals for the following year.

These events are usually hosted early in the year and are a mix of professional sales training and fun activity-based team-building exercises.

In the past, it was costly for a company to bring its entire sales team together for an all-day, or multi-day, event at a traditional venue. However, sales kickoff meetings were worth the expense, as there’s no greater way to motivate an entire sales force and to align the team on strategy.

These days, renting a hall is likely out of the question. So how does a company hold a successful sales kickoff meeting in a pandemic? 

benefits of virtual sales kickoff meetings

The Benefits of Hosting Your Sales Kickoff Online

The pandemic has limited in-person gatherings, so companies are looking to virtual event and webinar platforms as a cost-effective, and viable option to bring their entire sales team together.

Luckily, today’s event and webinar platforms offer tons of interactive features, including live-streaming, messaging, chat, polls, break-out sessions, and fun gamification to keep attendees engaged and excited.

Let’s dig into some of these benefits.

#1) Capable of Hosting a Large Number of People

Lots of coordinating and logistics go into planning a traditional sales kickoff, such as renting the right venue, planning food and beverage, and figuring out parking accommodations.

However, with planning a virtual sales kickoff, all you need is a virtual event platform and an internet connection! This allows you to focus on the content of your meeting.

SpotMe’s platform is capable of hosting 2,500 concurrent participants and a virtually unlimited number of platform users, which is a cost-effective way to not only reach but also engage with your entire sales team.

#2) Many Interactive Capabilities Available 

Keep your sales team engaged to get the most out of your virtual sales kickoff, and even track the analytics of their interactions. Make sure your platform has at least the following features:

Gamification

Encourage your sales team to participate in activities, such as competing against each other, or completing mini-games to collect points, which then can be used to earn prizes and rewards for individuals or winning teams.

Polls

Get feedback about your presentation by giving a short poll to your audience. It’s recommended to poll your attendees every 20 minutes or so to collect valuable feedback and to keep people focused on your presentation.

Break-Out Sessions

Divide your sales kickoff agenda by setting aside time for break-out sessions for your team. SpotMe’s break-out sessions allow up to 50 people in each break-out session. 

They can also be used to discuss talking points or to complete mini-challenges.

#3) Educational Tools 

One key component to sales kickoff meetings is sales training. You’ll want to make sure your platform is robust enough to offer the following education tools: 

Whiteboard

Using a virtual whiteboard is a great way to naturally handwrite a real-time presentation, which is more akin to how professors teach their students. If PowerPoints aren’t your thing, then using a Whiteboard can be a more flexible teaching tool.

Screen Sharing and Slide-Sharing

Have a PowerPoint or Keynote that you want to share with your sales team? Make sure your platform allows for screen sharing that enables you to share your computer’s content and audio with your audience.

Virtual sales kickoff meeting ideas

6 Tips To Consider While Planning Your Virtual Sales Kickoff Meeting 

Sales Kickoff Tip #1) Stay true to your objectives

Sales kickoffs are meant to be celebrations but don’t lose sight of the true objective — motivating your sales team and their leaders, as well as laying out strategies and goal-setting for the year.

Sales Kickoff Tip #2) Choose the right virtual event platform to host your team

Since your kickoff will be virtual (maybe for the first time ever) spend extra time researching virtual platforms that offer the features your team needs, such as live streaming, chats, break-out sessions, polling, live feeds users can post and comment on, video chatting, and more.

The more robust your virtual platform is, the more capabilities you’ll have to engage with your sales team. Consider using SpotMe as your complete engagement virtual platform to bring together your sales team, wherever they are.

Sales Kickoff Tip #3) Use technology to your advantage

Team Building exercises and games are a vital part of the sales kickoff. Don’t be limited by your platform!

Gamification functionality in a virtual platform, such as mini-games and point systems, is proven to get isolated team members out of their silos and participate with their colleagues more. Through the right virtual platform, you can also track this engagement to learn what does and doesn’t work for your team.

Sales Kickoff Tip #4) Create an agenda

Your sales team is here to learn, celebrate, and network within their organization. Creating an agenda helps your audience navigate your event so they can plan ahead and get the most out of their sales kickoff.

Certain virtual event platforms feature a built-in personalized Agenda planner that allows participants to view, browse, and sign up for upcoming sessions.

Sales Kickoff Tip #5) Virtual or otherwise, make it interactive

With virtual events, there’s more of a chance your audience member’s attention may be fragmented. 

The key to a successful virtual sales kickoff is getting your audience to participate regularly throughout the event, whether it’s through consistent polling, sending them to break-out sessions, or offering them fun team-building games that get their competitive drive flowing. 

There’s nothing worse than a boring event or presentation where the audience doesn’t feel like they’re heard or important. Adding interactivity keeps your participants occupied so they will focus harder and retain more information longer. Plus you’ll learn more about your team’s perspectives.

Sales Kickoff Tip #6) Be sure to inspire and motivate your team!

It’s typical for CEOs and heads of sales and marketing departments to give motivational speeches at the kickoff. These are the people who are ultimately in charge of the company’s culture, goal setting, and strategy.

Also consider getting other speakers, such as the company’s top salesperson, a loyal and happy customer, or recruiting an outside motivational speaker, to bring a more lively, and emotional speech that will energize your sales team for the following year! 

Inventive Virtual Sales Kickoff Ideas to Keep Things Interesting

All great parties and events have a theme, and sales kickoff meetings are no different.

Not only do themes make the event unique, but they also make the event more effective. By choosing the right theme, you can unify all the lessons, interactions, talking points, and strategies learned to make the event more memorable for your sales team, which increases its efficacy.

Below are a few examples to try for your next virtual sales kickoff meeting:

A Celebration of Success Ceremony

If your team had a particularly successful or profitable year, consider throwing an award ceremony-themed sales event to celebrate your company’s success. Model your event after the Emmys, Academy Awards, or even The Office’s Dundies. 

Encourage your workforce to dress up for their webcam to give your event a more swanky, fun vibe, and hire an entertainer who can act as the award host.

Award your top-earning salespeople with trophies, or give away awards of excellence to team members who completed projects that went above and beyond expectations. Continue the theme by awarding participation throughout the event.

A Futuristic Virtual Ceremony

Since your sales team will likely need additional training to help them pivot from traditional sales techniques to more virtual techniques, why not incorporate a virtual theme to cement those concepts into your sales team’s minds?

Depending on your company, you might consider a cyberpunk or futuristic, sci-fi theme, to help establish the importance of virtual technology for your sales goals.

Ready for Launch

Is your company gearing up to launch a new product this year? If so, then choosing a fun space theme could inspire your sales team to reach new heights, or goals, that has never been achieved before.

Get the Most Out of Your Next Virtual Sales Kickoff Meeting!

Hopefully, now you feel motivated and empowered to take your next sales kickoff meeting virtual!

The benefits to hosting a virtual kickoff meeting are numerous: reduced cost, easier planning and coordination bringing together large teams, greater access to user data and analytics, and more.

SpotMe’s virtual event platform offers all the functionality and interactive features to put on an engaging, and entertaining sales kickoff meeting. Thoroughly engage your sales team with our interactive features, such as break-out sessions, polling, chats, Q&As, commenting on live feeds, and more.

Are you ready to plan your sales kickoff meeting? Reach out today to start your free trial of SpotMe.  

Interested in learning more about planning a virtual event? Be sure to check out our guides:

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