Virtual Sales Kickoff: 6 Proven Strategies for Success and Growth

It’s 2023. The work world has changed. If people aren’t working fully remote, most are in hybrid environments. And when it comes to sales teams, they’re more dispersed than ever. When it’s time to plan and execute a sales kickoff, there are a few things to consider. 

The first is if it’s going to be an in-person event – or if it’s something you can execute virtually. For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to talk about executing an engaging virtual kickoff, which incorporates effective team building online. 

The most important thing to keep in mind in this scenario is brevity. You’re competing for each person’s attention with whatever is around them in their environment. You’ve got to capture their attention, excite them and arm them with everything they need – quickly and by building in breaks.

1. First things first, send them some swag to enhance the SKO experience. 

Just because people aren’t meeting in person doesn’t mean they don’t want free stuff. Send them a branded t-shirt or hat, notepads, pens, etc. Include a note suggesting that everyone wear what they were sent on the SKO call and ask that each person have their camera on. This will create a sense of community and commonality.

2. Start with a theme that resonates throughout your virtual team building event.

Don’t have a theme for the year? Start thinking about one. This would be a good thing to include on the swag you send. Make it your rallying cry. Use it throughout your kickoff. Use it all year. Teach your sales force how to use it in their meetings and pitches. Add it to their sales decks.

Not everyone has the resources to do this, but if you do, create an inspiring, one-minute video playing on your theme for the year to kick off your meeting with the sko sales in mind.

Please, have a keynote speaker at your Sales Kickoff.

Yes, we’re asking nicely. Having a great speaker is a must for virtual events. Work with your stakeholders during your SKO planning sessions to narrow down who in your organization or outside of it would deliver the best message or who has an interesting story to share that your audience would find valuable.

Make each presentation matter by focusing on the sales process.

No one wants to look at a slide full of information that’s not useful. Instead of a ton of text on each slide, try to incorporate more videos and images. Short sentences, and even fragments, are okay in this scenario.

Plan presentations well, considering sales tech and operations.

When it comes to the content of the meeting, consider including a year in review, training sessions, market updates, product training, and closing remarks. Have each deck and notes available for attendees to reference for the rest of the year, and, if you really want to try something new, consider having a top-performer do a live call.

3. Speaking of top-performers, recognize them

Sure, you’re planning for the new year, but take a minute to reward and recognize high-performers from last year. This will not only make them feel appreciated, it will inspire others to perform better knowing an award could be coming their way.

4. Build in breathers for effective sales strategies.

Sales kick off meetings cover a lot of ground. People need a break during virtual events as much (or more) than they do at live events. Make sure you break every hour to let people get up and walk around. If this is an all-day event, send everyone meal delivery coupons for lunch. Take care of your people, and they will take care of your business with effective sales strategies in mind.

5. Have breakout sessions for interactive team building.

Make sure you are using a platform that allows you to facilitate breakout sessions. Have reps get into small groups led by a sales manager or facilitator to complete training and role-play exercises.

6. Set expectations clearly for sales operations and strategies.

Before your SKO concludes, be sure to lay out goals and expectations for the year. If you plan to have additional sales meetings and training sessions, make sure to have those planned and get them on everyone’s calendars before the SKO is over.

Each sales team is unique, but if you spend time planning a SKO that will engage and inspire your sales team, It’s more likely that you will not only reach your goals for the year, but exceed them through effective sales strategies and operations.