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Sales kick-off meetings: How to use the momentum to power long-term change

Sales kick-off meetings (SKOs) are a brilliant way to motivate and engage sales reps. They bring national and international teams together and can have a major impact on performance over the year.

The problem is that most of the momentum built during SKOs gets lost the second people leave. As a result, kick-off meetings aren’t effectively serving teams or businesses in the long term.

It raises the question: how can you turn SKOs from a one-off event to a catalyst for change?

Why are so many sales kick-off meetings ineffective?

With presentations, motivational speakers and competitions, there’s a palpable buzz at SKOs.

Then two weeks later, everyone’s back to work as normal. Why does that happen?

It’s a fact that 87% of sales training is forgotten within three weeks. The main reason is that there’s a lot of theory but people don’t know how to turn it into action.

SKOs have a similar problem. The right intention is there, but the quantity of information and how it’s presented can make it difficult to remember and therefore difficult to act on.

How do you create kick-off meetings that drive action?

The SKOs should be about fuelling the passion and knowledge of the sales team. Build it with action in mind and its impact will live on long after the meeting is over.

Here are three places to start.

  1. Bring it to life

Don’t just do skills or product training. Use case studies and get teams to work through relevant examples. Real-life scenarios will boost memory because they’ve actually experienced it and had to work together to come up with solutions.

  1. Have a core message

Make sure there’s a core message behind everything, from the presentations to the exercises and competitions. Avoid having lots of disparate parts brought together. Ask yourself: what are you looking to achieve? And what’s the bigger cause that the business is working towards?

  1. Acknowledge everyone

It’s often the loudest people who take the limelight, but SKOs should also bring out the underlying strengths of more introverted people. Check every single person is acknowledged and gets involved. 

How do you plan a sales kick-off meeting?

When you’re coming up with ideas for your sales kick-off meeting, it’s a good idea to start at the end. 

  • What do you want people to know by the end of the SKO? 
  • What do you want them to think, feel and believe?
  • How do you want them to take things forward afterwards?

Then you can go back and create the journey that takes them from A to B. Work through the natural stages, from theory to practical. Keep the point about driving action in mind – it’s the practical, experiential activities that boost memory and understanding.

If you want the SKO to stick in people’s memories, it shouldn’t just be one person talking the entire time either. Achieve this by combining presenters and having a mix of internal speakers and external facilitators. 

Internal speakers will make sure your SKO is highly relevant to the audience, but external speakers create the buzz. They should be able to bring charisma and a presence to the stage so attendees sit up and listen. 

Finally, salespeople love competition. Make sure everyone knows from the start that there are big prizes to be had. You want people to know they’re going to be recognised by key people in the business at the end.

Creating SKOs with longevity

The last question is: how do you keep it all going once the SKO is over? 

Build ideas and messages from your SKO into your plan throughout the year. Create usable, tangible actions that can become part of your workflow. 

You can also develop your quarterly business meetings to reinforce the core idea from your SKO. It’s a helpful way to keep the momentum going and refresh memories.

Work with Flume on your next sales kick-off meeting

Flume are industry leaders in designing, delivering and driving impact around sales kick-off meetings. 

From creating powerful messaging to making people sit up and listen, we’re experts at creating a buzz around sales. What’s more, we’ll work with you to identify ways to embed new learnings once the event is over.  

“We couldn’t have done it without Raoul. In a room of 230 people, he managed to build rapport with every one of those individuals. We had really great motivational speakers, but he was the only person who got a standing ovation! 

“The feedback has been phenomenal – I’ve had loads of people saying it was the best SKO they’d ever been to. I would absolutely recommend the team for sales training content as well as SKOs.” –  Clare Dunstall at Claroty.

Contact us to find out more.