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Katie MoserApr 19, 2023 7:30:00 AM11 min read

Defining a Sales Kickoff (+ Sample Agenda)

As a business owner or sales manager, you know that motivating your sales team is key to achieving success.

One of the most effective ways to kick off a new sales cycle, quarter, or year is with a sales kickoff meeting.

In this article, we will explore what a sales kickoff is, why it's important, and how to make the most out of this important event. Plus, you'll find a sample sales kickoff agenda at the end that you can use for your next event.

a man presents to a group of employees at a sales kickoff

What is a Sales Kick Off?

A sales kickoff is a meeting that brings together your sales team at the beginning of a new sales cycle, quarter, or year.

The purpose of a sales kickoff is to set the tone for the upcoming period, energize your sales force and reps, refine your sales process, and align everyone around a common set of goals and objectives.

During a sales kickoff, you may cover topics such as new products, sales strategies, customer insights, and market trends. It's also an opportunity to recognize top performers, provide training and resources, celebrate successes from the past year, and set the team up for future success.

group of people network at a sales kickoff

Why is a Sales Kick off Important?

A sales kickoff meeting is important for several reasons:

Energize Your Sales Team

A sales kickoff is an opportunity to create excitement and momentum for the upcoming sales cycle. By energizing your sales reps, you can motivate them to hit the ground running and exceed their targets.

Align Everyone Around a Common Goal

A sales kickoff event also gives you the opportunity to align your sales team around a common set of goals and objectives. By doing so, you can ensure everyone is working toward the same targets and moving in the same direction.

group of people learn from their coworker at a sales kickoff

Provide Training and Resources

You can also provide your sales team with the training and resources they need to succeed. By equipping them with the right tools, you can help them hit their targets and achieve success.

Inspire Teamwork and Collaboration

Team members are able to meet and interact with each other, which will foster teamwork and collaboration. Encouraging team members to work together toward common goals can lead to a more cohesive and effective sales team.

Generate New Ideas

A sales kickoff can be a great platform for generating new ideas and strategies to improve sales performance. By bringing together salespeople from different regions and backgrounds, the event can create an environment where fresh ideas can be shared and explored.

Provide a Sense of Direction

By setting clear goals and objectives at a sales kickoff meeting, the event can provide a sense of direction for the upcoming sales cycle. This can help salespeople focus their efforts on specific targets, which can increase their motivation and productivity.

Additionally, having a clear sense of direction can make it easier to measure progress and adjust strategies as needed throughout the sales cycle.

employee connects with his coworker while on a break at his sales kickoff

What are the benefits of a sales kickoff event?

Sales kickoffs have several benefits, including getting your entire sales organization on the same page to succeed in the upcoming year.

Improved Sales Performance

A well-planned sales kickoff can energize and motivate your sales reps, leading to improved performance and increased revenue throughout the year. By setting clear goals, providing training and resources, and recognizing top salespeople, the entire team can leave the event feeling inspired and ready to hit the ground running.

Enhanced Team Communication

By encouraging open communication and collaboration, the event can improve team dynamics and foster a more positive and productive work environment.

Increased Sales Alignment

A sales kickoff can ensure everyone is on the same page, working towards the same targets, and moving in the same direction. This can lead to greater efficiency and productivity, as well as a more consistent customer experience.

Boosted Company Culture

A sales kickoff can also help to reinforce company culture and values to team members. By highlighting what the company stands for and recognizing top performers who embody those values, the event can create a sense of unity and pride among team members.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

By providing salespeople with the training, resources, and insights they need to succeed, a sales kickoff can ultimately lead to improved customer satisfaction. When sales team members are well-equipped and motivated to provide exceptional service, customers are more likely to have a positive experience and become loyal advocates for the brand.

a small group connects while meeting at their sales kickoff in front of laptops

Key Components of a Successful Sales Kickoff Meeting

There are many key areas to consider when building out your sales kickoff agenda. Make sure to include ample time for team building, training, and networking throughout. For a successful sales kickoff, consider including the following in your agendas:

  • Product training sessions and technology training, including industry trends

  • Professional development sessions

  • Team building activities

  • Chances to share success stories

  • Major announcements, including company changes and successes or a new sales strategy

  • Breakout sessions with sales managers or company leaders, lunches with company executives, a customer panel or customer speaker

  • Keynote session from an internal or external speaker

  • Networking events with the entire sales organization and other internal team members

Make sure to balance the entertainment value and educational value with bonding and interaction time.

woman smiles as she sits at her computer planning an upcoming sales kickoff meeting

Sales Kickoff Event Tips: How to Make the Most of the Planning Process

To make the most out of your sales kickoff meeting, consider the following sales kickoff tips below:

Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Make sure you set clear and measurable goals for sales reps for the upcoming sales cycle. Make sure your sales team knows what is expected of them and what success looks like.

Provide Training and Resources

Provide your sales team with the training and resources they need to succeed. Consider bringing in guest speakers, offering workshops, or providing access to online resources.

Celebrate Success Stories

Recognize top performers and celebrate successes. This can help create a positive and motivating environment for your sales reps, benefiting your business in the long-run.

man participating in a sales kickoff from his phone and laptop

Incorporate Technology

Consider using technology such as video conferencing or online collaboration tools to bring together sales teams from different locations.

Follow Up

Follow up after the sales kickoff meeting to ensure everyone is on track and aligned around the same set of goals and objectives. Provide event materials so they can reference back throughout the year.

woman sits at computer participating in a virtual sales kickoff

In-Person versus Virtual Sales Kickoff Events

Virtual events are very common now, and kickoffs are no exception. There can be advantages and disadvantages to each. Let's take a look.

The Benefits of an In-Person Sales Kickoff

One of the primary benefits of an in-person sales kickoff meeting is the opportunity for team members to connect face-to-face.

This can foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork that can be difficult to achieve in a virtual setting.

Additionally, an in-person event allows for more interactive and engaging training sessions, as well as the opportunity to recognize and celebrate past successes in person.

The Benefits of a Virtual Sales Kickoff

In recent years, many organizations have shifted to virtual sales kickoffs.

A virtual event can be attended from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need for travel and reducing costs.

Additionally, a virtual event can be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing, allowing the virtual event attendees to access the content at their own pace.

Considerations for Choosing an In-Person Sales Kickoff versus a Virtual Sales Kickoff

When choosing between an in-person and virtual sales kickoff event, there are several factors to consider.

These include budget constraints, the size and location of the sales team, and the availability of suitable venues. Additionally, in-person events require more logistical planning and coordination, including travel arrangements, catering, and accommodations.

However, while virtual sales kickoffs can be more convenient and cost-effective, they also come with their own set of challenges.

For example, online meetings do not provide the same level of engagement and interaction as an in-person event. Virtual attendees can also be more easily distracted or disengaged. Additionally, technology issues can arise that can disrupt the flow of the event.

Choosing the Right Approach

Ultimately, the decision of whether to host an in-person or virtual sales kickoff will depend on the unique needs and circumstances of your organization.

It may be helpful to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, weigh the pros and cons of each approach, and seek input from key stakeholders before making a final decision. You can also consider incorporating elements of both approaches for a hybrid event, especially if your team is international and travel is difficult.

calendar and agenda notebook lay on a desk with a clock, plant and pen.

Sample Sales Kickoff Meeting Agenda

Your kickoff meeting will often look similar to a conference. We've outlined a sample kickoff agenda below:

Day 1

8:00am - 9:00am: Registration and Breakfast

9:00am - 9:30am: Welcome and Introductions

9:30am - 10:00am: State of the Company Address

10:00am - 10:45am: Keynote Speaker

10:45am - 11:00am: Break

11:00am - 12:00pm: Sales Team Building Activities

12:00pm - 1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Sales Training Session #1

2:00pm - 3:00pm: Sales Training Session #2

3:00pm - 3:15pm: Break

3:15pm - 4:15pm: Sales Training Session #3

4:15pm - 5:00pm: Recap and Closing Remarks

5:00pm onward: Networking event

Day 2

8:30am - 9:00am: Breakfast

9:00am - 10:00am: Sales Training Session #4

10:00am - 11:00am: Keynote Speaker

11:00am - 11:15am: Break

11:15am - 12:15pm: Sales Training Session #5

12:15pm - 1:15pm: Lunch

1:15pm - 2:15pm: Sales Training Session #6

2:15pm - 6:00pm: Sales Team Building Activity

Conclusion: Creating the Best Kickoff Event with GoGather

A sales kickoff meeting is an important event that can help motivate and align your sales reps.

Whether it's a virtual event or in-person, a sales kickoff is crucial to your sales strategy. It helps keep your team motivated, connected, and inspired, leading to better business outcomes.

By setting clear goals and expectations, providing training and resources, celebrating successes, and using technology, you can make the most out of this important event.

Let's brainstorm on ways to enhance your 2024 kickoff meeting.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Invited to a Sales Kickoff?

The attendees for a sales kickoff typically include internal teams such as the entire sales team, sales management, executives, and relevant department heads.

Depending on the size and structure of the organization, the event may also include representatives from marketing, product development, and customer service.

The purpose of including relevant stakeholders is to ensure everyone is aligned around a common set of goals and objectives for the upcoming sales cycle. Additionally, having a diverse group of attendees can provide valuable insights and perspectives.

When are Sales Kickoffs Hosted?

Typically a sales kickoff event is hosted in the first few weeks of a company's fiscal year. This gives companies enough time to plan for the year ahead, review the previous year, provide adequate product training, and set sales targets for the year ahead.

Although this is typically an annual event, some companies will also host sales meetings throughout the year, though these may not include the entire organization.

Where Should You Host Your Sales Kickoffs?

When it comes to hosting a kickoff, the location and venue can play a significant role in the success of the event.

Ideally, the location should be easily accessible for all attendees, with ample transportation options and nearby accommodations. The venue should be large enough to accommodate the entire sales team, with sufficient space for presentations, breakout sessions, and team-building activities.

Overall, the location and venue should be chosen with the needs and preferences of the sales team in mind, with the goal of providing a comfortable, engaging, and productive environment for the sales kickoff.

How Much Does a Sales Kickoff Usually Cost?

The budget for a sales kickoff conference can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size of the sales team, the duration of the event, the location and venue, the keynote speakers, and the team-building activities.

As a general rule of thumb, companies can expect to spend between $500 to $1,500 per attendee for a two- or three-day kickoff conference. Virtual events will naturally be more cost-effective than this, though you will still need to account for technology and any food delivery you want to include.

This budget should include expenses such as venue rental, audio-visual equipment, catering, transportation, lodging, training materials, and speaker fees.

To ensure that the budget is realistic and comprehensive, it's important to carefully plan out all aspects of the conference and consider any potential unforeseen expenses. Consult with your planning team or external meeting planners to get a better sense of what to expect.

What Are the Downsides to Kickoffs?

  1. Cost: Hosting a kickoff can be expensive, and this cost may be difficult for some companies to justify. If the sales team is large, the cost can quickly add up, especially if the event is hosted in a high-end venue or includes expensive team-building activities.
  2. Time Away From Selling: While a kickoff can be an effective way to boost morale and provide training, it also takes salespeople away from their core selling responsibilities. If the kickoff is scheduled during a busy selling season or if the event is lengthy, it may negatively impact sales performance.
  3. Travel: If the sales kickoff is held in a location that requires travel, this can be an inconvenience for some. Travel time can cut into productivity, and some salespeople may have personal or family obligations that make it difficult for them to attend.
  4. Disengagement: Depending on the content and format of the kickoff, some attendees may feel disengaged or uninspired. If the presentations are too long or repetitive, or if the content doesn't relate directly to the sales team's goals, it can be difficult to maintain attendees' interest and enthusiasm.
  5. Lack of Follow-Up: Finally, one of the biggest downsides to a sales kickoff is that the energy and momentum generated by the event can quickly dissipate if there is no follow-up or reinforcement of the training and motivation provided. To ensure that the kickoff has a lasting impact, it's important to provide ongoing training and support, set clear goals and metrics, and regularly communicate progress and success.

Katie Moser

Katie Moser is the Director of Marketing and Business Development at GoGather. She has an extensive background in creating content and branding for events, working with speakers, and managing agendas for conferences. When she's not updating blog posts and sending out social media posts, she helps clients identify areas of opportunity for their events from branding to communications. In her downtime, she enjoys spending time at one of the many beautiful San Diego beaches, exploring new breweries, or chilling at home with her cat.