5 Proven Tips to Create a Successful Sales Kickoff

Sales kickoffs (SKOs) are one of the most important events on any company’s calendar. Learn the proven strategies you can use to plan and execute a successful SKO.

Emily Newman

April 10, 2023

Sales kickoffs are one of the most important events on any company’s calendar. A sales kickoff (SKO for short) builds enthusiasm around the sales process and provide individuals with the ability to gain knowledge and acquire the tools needed to succeed in the year ahead.

The event is also a time for organizations to reflect on the previous year. As businesses grow their remote workforce globally, hosting in-person-only SKOs has become economically and environmentally unsustainable.

This poses a challenge for communication professionals: how can you build sales engagement, educate internal audiences, and reach a global team in a hybrid event format?

We hosted a live webinar in partnership with Ragan Communications, where experts from Notified discussed the role communicators can take to engage and motivate a global workforce.

The panel of experts provided five proven strategies to drive successful communication through digital and in-person channels.

Read on to learn the proven strategies you can use to plan and execute a successful SKO event.

How to Build a Successful Sales Kickoff

When it comes to planning and building your SKO, you must first identify the goals of your event.

During the conversation, our experts defined the five main goals of a successful SKO:

  1. Educate: An SKO is the one opportunity to deliver a message to everybody in the sales organization at the same time. Provide consistent messages when sharing information like introducing new products or features and the industry or market information.

  2. Motivate and Inspire: This is an event to get the team excited about the upcoming year, especially how they plan to grow in their career and obtain their personal and professional goals.

  3. Network and Interact: Throughout the event, there are constantly opportunities to network. A recommended organic networking tactic is to incorporate videos where employees can introduce themselves or lead a discussion. Another way is to break up into small groups to interact to discuss specific topics, fostering collaboration and retention of information. These interactions are pivotal to building deep internal relationships and team comradery.

  4. Recognize and Celebrate: Recognizing and celebrating individual achievements can go a long way for employee morale and creates motivation or inspiration for employees to strive to achieve their goals in the upcoming year.

  5. Have Fun: SKOs are a time to blend education with entertainment. When joining together, it is imperative to get everyone involved to make the event unique and successful.

5 Proven Tips for Creating a Successful Sales Kickoff

To achieve these goals, our experts provided the top five tips you can use to guarantee your SKO will be a success.


Tip 1: Properly Plan Your SKO

Planning is imperative when it comes to hosting a successful SKO. Event organizers should view this task as like a show, generating a plan that creates a spot for every moment of the program while leaving room for spontaneity or conversation. In remaining organized, planners can ensure that the strategies and goals of the SKO are consistent and clear throughout the event.

The key to ensuring employees remain active and engaged in the discussion is timing. An organization should construct an event in a format that works best for the team and personnel. When working across time zones, it is necessary to evaluate how content will be shared, regionally or globally, to ensure everyone can gain the best experience. Get as many people as involved as possible by bringing different groups together to participate and feel welcomed.

In a successful SKO, excitement is built and maintained pre-event, during the event, and post-event. One way to do so before is to send out an event package filled with everything an attendee may need. Another way is to send a trailer or teaser video of what is to come. Even though it is a SKO, this is a marketing opportunity for your organization. These additional tools promote pride in the organization and can capture the attention of new talent if shared on social media.

Tip 2: Choose a Memorable Theme

For an SKO to make a lasting impact, select a theme that is unique and unexpected. All aspects of the event can be personalized and branded to reflect this theme, from the design to sessions and social posts. Think outside of the box to cultivate one that can inspire growth, be interactive, and match the goals of the year ahead.

A successful SKO theme allows a team to center itself around it to increase participation. The theme can boost social media activity by sparking unique content or additional events like themed social competitions. These competitions allow organizations to see colleagues in a different light than they would typically be.

Tip 3: Create an Engaging Experience

The next tip in developing a successful SKO is to engage with the attendees and promote their interactions in different ways. Make sure that the program and virtual platform foster this audience involvement. Communicators can prompt the conversation by generating polls, asking them to type in answers, or bringing people into the session to ask questions.

Tailor the program across different channels by mix-and-matching sessions and bringing in a variety of people. Utilize unique ways or methodologies for how to distribute and absorb content. In an SKO, you can break up into small teams for a sales role-play to work through what is working or not. Gamification and trivia make learning fun and entertaining while increasing the retention of information. Further, some friendly competition allows people to have fun while building collaboration and teamwork.

A key recommendation, in this case, would be when you are looking at a virtual platform for your SKO, make sure you can successfully perform different variations of the session. Examples of these sessions include general one to many people, small breakout groups, one-on-one calls. It is vital to utilize a platform that will allow you to achieve your SKO goals.

Tip 4: Deliver Interactive Content

In any SKO, content should inform, educate, and motivate your team. Prioritize what content is shared and take time to highlight the points that should be most memorable. You can plan these sessions ahead of time and control the quality by deciding what sessions will be live, simulative live, or on-demand. When it comes to speakers, be sure to practice and train with them ahead of time. One of the best ways to make a program interactive is by incorporating a moderator who can help tell the story, lead the program, and engage with speakers.

An example of interactive content would be to host an award show to recognize achievements and highlight top performers. The organization can give out prizes but mix and match rewards to reflect different levels of achievements. This session will boost employee morale and motivate individuals to reach to accomplish their goals.

To make your SKO stand out, invite other stakeholders and integrate cross-functional teams into your event. The introduction to individuals who are helping the sales team will foster growth for the business. These teams can even provide resources that the sales team can leverage in the year ahead.

Tip 5: Extend the Life of Your Content

The final tip is to produce information to extend its use after the live event. Event planners can leverage content in a way where the organization can repurpose it down the line. In keeping everything on-demand or in a repository, you can use the content to promote future events or to go back and revisit it. Following a successful SKO, organizations should host quarterly updates or town hall meetings to keep the momentum from the event alive and keep the conversation going.

An SKO can collect insights on attendance, engagement, and content that resonates. Data is helpful to making business decisions and gathering insights into how to move forward. A successful SKO can gather insights by providing attendees with surveys following every session or the overall event. Thus, allowing companies to pursue insights in a way that can be impactful.

Summary: Proven Strategies to Host a Successful Sales Kickoff

As the future of events changes, these core tips will ensure you can achieve the goals and objectives of your SKO.

In the past, participants would fly to the SKO, and content was only available in real-time. Now, your team can extend invites to not only your sales team but also cross-functional teams or unique speakers. Additionally, even if the content is physically distributed, you can capture it and share it on demand.

An SKO that provides in-person and virtual elements will provide your team with a unique experience that will create lasting enthusiasm for the upcoming year.

Here are a few helpful resources to help you start planning your next SKO:

  • View the full webinar on demand here

  • Check out our hybrid events FAQs to learn more about what it takes to plan a hybrid experience

Get a Demo of Our End-to-End Events Platform

As you plan for your next event, Notified is here to help bring your vision to life.

Our leading technology is equipped with robust engagement tools ready to take your event to the next level. We are committed to the quality of your programs and supporting your needs.

These engagement tools include:

  • Maximize ROI
  • Create a unique brand experience
  • Connect with a global audience
  • Keep audiences engaged with interactive features
  • Measure the impact of your event with analytics

Contact us today to receive a demo and learn more about our services.