5 tips for a successful sales kickoff meeting


There seems to be no end to the workshops, webinars and blog posts on how managers can better understand millennials in order to effectively recruit and retain this emerging workplace demographic. Tom Coburn, the founder and CEO of Jebbit, a digital marketing platform, offered these management tips for millennials in a recent guest post at Entrepreneur.com.

Experiment with different roles and responsibilities. Let young team members experiment with different roles, observe them carefully and get constant feedback from them on where their true passions lie. You may find someone who wanted to be in sales is better suited for account management or that a marketing director is actually better in a product role. The earlier you discover, this the better.

Encourage mini advisory boards. At Jebbit, Coburn encouraged every member of the management team to form a mini advisory board (normally three to five people) specific to their individual role with the company — an account management advisory board, a product advisory board, a tech advisory board and so on. They meet regularly and the results have been better than expected. Jebbit has seen exponential growth in improving its day-to-day operations, especially for the newest team members.

Be patient. “It probably took us longer than normal to nail down basic processes and procedures. But in the process, we found how important it was to stay patient and let our young managers make their own mistakes and discover their own way,” writes Coburn. “It has paid off in the long run.”

A new year often means a new sales kickoff. Julie Hansen, a sales trainer and author of “Sales Presentations for Dummies,” offers these ideas for increasing the ROI of an annual sales kickoff.

  • Get presenters stage-ready – No matter how great the content, a poor speaker’s message will fail to have lasting impact on any audience. Schedule rehearsal time for executives and new presenters with a presentation coach
    who has on-stage expertise.
  • Connect the dots between presenters – It’s much easier for people to remember things that are connected, so let individual speakers know who/what topic they are following and ask that they briefly connect the dots for their audience.
  • Frame individual sessions – Ensure that each speaker delivers a clear, concise opening that highlights what they’ll be learning and a succinct closing which summarizes key takeaways and ties them to the specific value for the participant.
  • Increase activity across all sessions – Ask speakers to get the audience involved in some way besides listening. Whether it’s live polling, breakouts, or mini-exercises, the more senses involved, the more your sales team will remember the experience.
  • Create a follow-up plan – Keep the momentum going to maximize your investment. Have a plan to reinforce key learnings and put new behaviors to the test. Ask speakers to do follow-up emails or webinars. Have participants report on learnings or results.

“Just as it’s difficult for your sales team to remember meeting takeaways, today’s busy customers struggle to differentiate between vendors and recall your message as well — slowing down the sales cycle and allowing deals to fall through the cracks,” Hansen says. “Consider a sales speaker for your sales kickoff that provides tactical strategies for ‘Making your Message Memorable’ in sales presentation, demos and conversations.”