10 Tips for a Successful Virtual Sales Kickoff

December 15, 2020

New year, new virtual sales kick off meeting! As you gather everyone over Zoom or Skype to go over monthly, quarterly, and annual targets for the upcoming year, you’re probably wondering how you can keep engagement levels high throughout your meeting, while also generating strong momentum that carries past when everyone leaves the conference room.

That’s why we’re coming to you with 10 creative, essential kick off tips that are sure to not only enhance your SKO agenda on the day, but also to keep your virtual sales team motivated and pumped as they move into that all-important first quarter. 

1. Include An Engaging Powerpoint 

By this, we don’t mean a powerpoint that just lists the numbers you want to hit this year. The best Powerpoint slideswill include images, gifs, videos (a motivation video to kick off sales meeting is a great idea), and other interactive content that’s both funny and keeps spirits high

Remember - graphics, charts, maps, and images are all extremely important to include in your presentation since 65% of the US population are visual learners, while 30% are auditory, and 10% are kinesthetic learners (they learn by doing). Given this information, make sure that the key messages you want to communicate are outlined in all three formats, so every member of your team can memorize the essentials.  

Of course, you should include those monthly, quarterly, and annual targets too, but you can weave them organically into the presentation throughout, so it’s not just a bunch of numbers your virtual sales team has to consume in one go. 

We also recommend using PowerPoint to celebrate individual and team successes of the previous year, noting areas to improve, as well as put down in writing the targets, rewards, and expectations for the upcoming year. 

2. Bring Out The Success Stories 

Brainstorming motivational sales meeting topics? Look no further than inside your own company.

Every organization has examples of at least one or two salespeople who killed it their first couple of years, and now they’re in the 20s and already managers or executives, or they’re on a super high commission level and doing deals with all your industry’s biggest giants. These people are excellent sources of inspiration for your virtual sales team - they show them the potential for upward mobility your company offers, as well as the tangible commission up for grabs if they work hard enough. 

Especially in the middle of your sales kick off agenda - usually the point at which momentum begins to lag - bring out these people to discuss how they succeeded in your organization, any tips they have for your sales reps, and what they wish they knew when they were in their position. This ‘recipe for success’ they impart is especially great because not only does it directly engage your virtual sales team on an individual level, but it also indicates that, for those who generate results for your company, the opportunities are endless.  

3. Send Out A Sales Kick Off Agenda

So this is technically a pre-sales kick off tip, but it still stands. The day before the meeting, send out an overview to managers and virtual employees alike of what they can expect from the sales kick off.  

This doesn’t have to be anything in depth - in fact it should be a short and sweet timetable if possible - but try to break the day into segments and, wherever you can, highlight how the content to be discussed will be applicable to those showing up. 

This is so important because, unfortunately, according to surveys carried out by Harvard Business Review and Boston University, most managers and employees view meetings as productivity-killers (and your sales kick off meeting does fall into the meeting category!). Meanwhile, 9 out of 10 employees report daydreaming while sitting in meetings, and this may or may not include the 25% of meeting time that is apparently spent on irrelevant issues.

So try to show how relevant each part of the sko agenda will be to your virtual sales team: if you have a segment on productivity while working from home, think about titling it ‘How To Increase Your Productivity (And Commission) While Working From Home Next Year’ - or something along those lines. Leave no doubt in their mind not only why they should tune in, but why they should stay engaged with your sales kick off the whole time. 

4. Include A Short Sales Kick Off Speech 

The reason some sales kick off speeches don’t work is because they’re too long and a little boring (to put it bluntly). Try to keep your speech under the 2 minute mark - make it snappy, enthusiastic, and keep it “we/us” focused. 

This is the time to go in guns blazing and hype up your virtual employees! Stay away from numbers and getting too specific at this point - try to focus on just generating momentum and getting everyone excited to be part of the sales kick off.

5. Schedule In Breaks To Your SKO Agenda 

Studies on productivity indicate that it’s ideal to take breaks every 50-90 minutes.

The thing is: people will take breaks once their attention spans have worn out - by daydreaming, or listlessly checking their email, or going to make a coffee - whether that break has been scheduled into the day or not. So the trick is to give your team breaks that are scheduled into the sales kick off agenda. This way, when your executives and managers are imparting the really important information, your team hasn’t already checked out thanks to brain fatigue. 

So how should you institute these breaks? Well, according to studies, breaks should ideally be between the 10 and 15 minute mark for every hour or so worked. Since not every part of the sales meeting will be brain-intensive, depending on how dense each of your segments are, try to work in a 15 minute break every 2 hours or so, with a longer break (30 minutes to 1 hour) for lunch.

Also, try to encourage employees during that time to get up and stretch their legs, whether that means going for a walk around the block, or to the restroom, or to the kitchen for a drink - whatever it is, if they’re able to work in a little physical activity during the break, there’s less chance they’re going to feel restless over the coming couple of hours. 

6. Break Down Company Goals 

Sometimes lofty company goals like “reach 10 million in revenue over the next 5 years” or “be on track to IPO in 10 years” go over employees’ heads. These are important goals to bring up, but it’s important that they’re raised in a way that reminds every employee, especially your virtual sales team (given their pivotal role in growing your business), the part they play in achieving these goals. 

For instance, if you’re talking about IPOs, then tell your employees what that would mean for them: would they be given the opportunity to buy stock pre-IPO? Or if you want to grow your company, put a number on how many new hires you’d like to see and encourage them to refer their friends and associates.

In considering all virtual sales kick off ideas, it’s first and foremost important to get your sales team to feel invested in making your sales rally objectives become reality. And the way to do that is to make sure they feel they have a stake in the success of the company.

Especially in larger organizations where employees can be at risk of feeling “like a number,” making all your virtual salespeople feel they have a tangible impact (even at the entry-level) is of essential importance. 

7. Do a Virtual Event Giveaway

Is there any more fun way to kick off a meeting than with gifts and merch

It’s one of the most reliable ways to start your meeting on a high and encourage a sense of team-building and togetherness. 

When it comes to gift ideas for meetings, the options are plentiful, so we’ve broken it down into three different categories (although there are plenty more out there)!

If you’re interested in high-end, for-everyday-use swag that’s going to last, prioritize:

  • Patagonia Hybrid Jackets, Micro Pullovers, or Down Sweaters;
  • North Face, Topo Design Backpacks;
  • Bluetooth Headphones;
  • Set of Ceramic Kinto Mugs 

If you’re interested in budget-friendly gifts for salespeople, think about customized: 

  • Appointed Notebook
  • Stanley GO Tumblers;
  • Champion Reverse Weave Crew Sweater;

And finally, if you’re looking for swag bag ideas for virtual employees, consider the following gift sets:

  • Wellness Gift Set 
  • Coffee-Lover Gift Set
  • Workout Gift Set

Gemnote carries all of the above items (and many more). From tech products to apparel to quality gift sets, we’ve got you covered. To brainstorm more gift ideas for your virtual sales kick off, check out some of our other options here.   

8. Choose One of Our Best Sales Meeting Themes 

You can go in a lot of directions for this one, but here’s some of our favorite virtual sales meeting themes 2021. 

If you’re searching for meeting themes for growth:

  • Have a kick-off centered around personal and business growth
  • Educate your virtual sales team on how striking a good work-life balance, increasing productivity while decreasing hours worked, staying healthy, and practicing mindfulness, all help employees’ personal and professional lives prosper. 
  • Make sure to include actionable tips like recommending free meditation apps and online yoga classes to help them put into practice the things they learn at your kick off!

If you’re searching for sales kick off themes about team-building

  • Focus your theme around strength in numbers and how you’re far more likely to successfully tackle goals as a team.
  • This is one of the most fun kick off meeting ideas, and it’s particularly friendly to kinesthetic and visual learners. Try to break your virtual sales team into smaller groups - of say 3 or 4 - and get them to write down each others’ top strengths. Then have them discuss what part each person’s unique skills will play in reaching your team’s annual goals. Next, have each person write down their own weaknesses, and 3 actionable steps they’re going to take to improve this upcoming year. This creates both a collaborative work environment and encourages members to take responsibility for sales rally objectives.
  • Don’t forget to save what people write down so that at the end of the year you can regroup and discuss particular instances where these strengths showed up (and what weaknesses they’ve most improved on)!

If you’re searching for motivational sales meeting topics:

  • This may be one of more quirky sales conference ideas, but we’re also confident it has the potential to be the most uplifting and effective: focus your theme around personal and professional aspirations/dreams. 
  • This is a great theme to focus on if you want: 1) your virtual sales team to bond and get to know each other better, and 2) to tie in your company’s bigger sales objectives with your employees professional aspirations. 
  • Create exercises where you encourage each team member to share what their ideal life looks like in 10 or 15 years. Then work with them to create a career blueprint - what milestone do they want to achieve by what point, how far do they want to have advanced in your organization, etc.
  • Keep in mind that for younger or recently joined employees - who might not know the ins and outs of the structure of your organization - be transparent about what roles your company offers, what personality types they suit, and what qualifications you need to achieve these roles. That way, when it comes time to creating their blueprints and their action plan on how to get there, your virtual sales team can be very clear and specific about how to reach these aspirations and on what time horizon. 

Need some more kick-off meeting examples? Check more out here

9. Diversify Your Speakers

As you go through each stage of your sales kick off, try to balance out the managers and corporate executives with voices from your entry-level and mid-level employees. You can do this in several ways: 

  • At the beginning, if your virtual sales teams aren’t too big, invite each employee to introduce themselves; alternatively, ask one employee from each team to represent their respective office and say hey, what they’re looking forward to this upcoming year at your company, and anything else on their minds;
  • At the end of each segment or lesson in the sko agenda, offer the opportunity for other employees to impart their own experiences and any advice relating to what was just spoken about;
  • Near the end of the kick off itself, set aside 15 minutes for anyone with any lingering questions or thoughts to have the opportunity to speak. 

10. Sponsor a Remote Lunch 

Since a virtual kick off is often less expensive than an in-person event or conference, consider ordering lunch at each office at the same time so people are able to mingle, get up and walk around, and enjoy a special lunch as part of the kick off occasion. 

Consider holding a poll beforehand where your employees can vote for their favorite place to order from, or their favorite meal - that way, you ensure that whatever option you go with, the majority of your virtual sales team is going to enjoy it. After all, who doesn’t like free lunch? 

Wrap Up 

Whatever tips you take from this article, just remember to be as creative as possible when organizing your sales kick off.  Consistently focus your SKO agenda around fun, engaging content that’s going to get your virtual sales team excited, and try to implement exercises that connect your company’s goals to your employees’ own aspirations so they feel a strong, personal stake in knocking out their sales targets in 2021!

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