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How to Run a Sales Kick off Meeting & Rally the Troops Virtually

Seventy-three percent of sales account managers rated their role as "highly stressful," according to a PayScale survey on online careers. Indeed, a career in sales is highly stressful, especially around hitting sales goals. That's why it's critical to help the sales team stay motivated and equip them with the best tools to achieve their goals. One of the ways to do that is by holding a sales kick-off meeting. We'll share the basics, plus how you can run one just as effectively in a virtual setting.

What is a Sales Kick-off Meeting?

A sales kick off meeting is an annual event held at the beginning of the year for the entire sales team to celebrate last year's achievements, discuss the company goals, share best practices, and motivate the team to hit their sales goals. Traditionally, it is an off-site event that lasts for a couple of days, complete with creative sales kick off meeting themes. In recent times, this meeting has evolved into a virtual event as most companies have transitioned to a remote operation in the past year.

Benefits of a Virtual Sales Meeting

Due to the 2020 health pandemic, a virtual sales meeting has been a cheaper alternative. Hotel, transportation, and meals make up around 60% of the overall cost of an in-person meeting. For example, for a 14-person sales team, it might run you $20,000 for an offsite event.

More importantly, because of the cost and stress you save, you’ll be able to run shorter, but more frequent virtual sales meetings, especially during product or feature launches. Instead of a two-day event, it could be a jam-packed, two-hour Zoom session. Alternatively, you can even run a fully asynchronous meeting, which is perfect for bigger teams who are in different time zones.

If you usually hold your meeting in person, it's important to reflect on, how to host a sales kick off that keeps the spirit and theme alive.  If you opt for Zoom to run your online meeting, jazz up the atmosphere by using fun, virtual backgrounds on Zoom, so it looks like you're all "traveling" to the same real or even fictional place.

Questions to Ask in a Sales Meeting

Successful salespeople are the ones that ask the best questions. This is also true during a sales kick off meeting. What kind of questions should you ask your team as part of the sales conference agenda? And what kind of questions should you expect from your team throughout the session?

Here are a few questions to ask (which can also be a revenue kick off meeting):

  • What are the recent trends in our industry?
  • Are there new tools and strategies that can help us improve our performance?
  • How do we achieve our revenue and sales goals?

Sales Benchmarking Index has listed more questions for sales executives, managers, and field representatives. You won't cover all these questions, but it's better to be prepared and know what may come up in conversation.

Preparing for a Sales Meeting

How do you prepare, and how to run a great sales meeting?

Start strong and end strong.

Start with something fun while at the same time keeping the team focused on the sales kick off meeting objectives. End with something inspiring to motivate the team even after the meeting.

Include a surprise.

Work with your HR Manager and send gift baskets from an online site like Ace of Hearts that can deliver to any country during the virtual sales kick off meeting. There is nothing more exciting than getting an unexpected delivery that is not from Amazon.

Prepare the agenda.

Fun doesn't always equate to games and surprises. A fun meeting also means an organized one, and the best way to stay organized is to prepare a clear and brief agenda. But of course, keep the surprises off the agenda.

A great sales meeting is a combination of educating, energizing, and entertaining the team.

Sales Agenda Meeting Template

You might say, "Okay, it's nice to have themes and fun gifts. But what should a sales kick off include"? Your sales meeting doesn't necessarily have to be one big fancy production. If you want to focus on the meat of the matter without the fluff, you can use a sales kick off meeting agenda template. Use this template for a one-day, in-person sales meeting or a shorter virtual sales kick off. Even if you have it virtually, you can still include coffee breaks and include some casual conversation such as, how everyone likes their coffee, tea, or any drink.

Morning

  • Sales Kick off Meeting - Start with a fun ice breaker and emphasize the sales kick off meeting objectives.
  • Team Building & Networking - Bring the team into smaller groups for fun team building or create space for an unstructured networking event.
  • Reviewing the past year - Highlight last year's achievements and put achievers into the spotlight.
  • Outline Objectives - Reiterate the sales goals for this quarter or for the whole year.
  • Lunch Break - A simple lunch break or add some creative touches on the side with little games to bring the team closer together.

Afternoon

  • Updates - Share all the company and team updates that will affect the team's sales goals.
  • Coffee Break - A must-have for that afternoon slump to reenergize everyone.
  • Workshop/ New sales strategy sessions - Plan one workshop or a few brainstorming sessions to add to the team's selling skills.
  • Product Training - Have someone from the Product Team discuss new features.
  • Wrap-up - No action items are needed for this meeting, but ensure that you've met the objectives you've presented at the start of the session.

To know exactly how to prepare for each section of the meeting, get the complete and free sales meeting agenda template. The best thing about this template is that you can easily edit and co-create the agenda synchronously before the meeting. Check out all the other free templates, including our sales pipeline review template, to help you run fewer, better meetings.