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Thinking Differently to Achieve The Most Successful Sales Kickoff

What comes to mind when you think of a sales kickoff meeting? Bland banquet food, boring board rooms, hotel rooms with itchy sheets and views of an abandoned parking lot? You’re not alone. Sales kickoff meetings tend to fall short in every category you can think of—engagement, excitement, entertainment, insight...the list goes on (and on). And, as a result, these high potential programs miss the opportunity to motivate your team members and sales force. Take a closer look to learn how to a few key changes to traditional sales kickoff meetings can create lasting results and, yes, increasing sales and ROI.  

Mike Larson Photography

Sales kickoff meetings should focus on foundation first.

Mindfulness redefining breakout session

So many companies miss the opportunity to think of sales kickoff meetings as having more impact in an organization than just a routine gathering each year. Any great SKO consists of: purpose (connection, motivation, announcements, awards/recognition, reunions, etc.), people (leadership team, management, new and tenure team members), vision (opportunity, growth, expansion). So how do you create collaboration and inspiration rather than boring breakout sessions, separations between by department, and overplayed presentations failing to motivate your team?

Reaping lasting benefits (like a strengthened team and increased ROI) from your sales kickoff meetings begins with adopting a new mindset and perception: one that focuses on company connection, cross-department cohesion, inspiration and motivation company-wide and arming employees with the tools they need to succeed—not just in the workplace—but in their everyday lives. Think: breathing for stress management classes in a serene yoga studio to rejuvenate between sessions, a motivational sunrise paddleboard to start the day energized and an insightful fireside chats about sales goals at sunset.

Don’t stick your team in a boardroom and expect results.

It doesn’t matter how awesome the donuts are or how many hilarious GIFs are in your Powerpoint. When did "fireside chat" sessions become large conference halls with no fire and even less meaningful conversation?  If your goal is to motivate people to sell, boardrooms are not the answer. A truly high-impact sales kickoff starts with a setting that inspires. You want to tap into every one of your employee’s senses before you chat numbers, goals, or important upcoming launches.   

Adopt a new vision for sales kickoff meetings.

Now that we’ve covered strengthening the kick-off program as a whole and adopting an inspiring setting, it’s time to lay out what a truly effective sales kickoff meeting can look like. Pour yourself a glass of wine and dream with us for a minute…

GPMartin Photography

GPMartin Photography

Team building activities that don’t suck:

Think: crafting your own cocktail alongside local Lake Tahoe bartenders to inspire creative collaboration, or building a raft with your team members along the glistening Truckee river to bring departments together and strengthen relationships of your whole organization. When it comes to creating strong inter-departmental relationships and laying the foundation for healthy, successful employees, cheesy breakout sessions and boring presentations won’t cut it. Inspire your next sales kickoff meeting with experiences and customized activities that are exciting, inspiring, and effective. 

Dynamic sessions for increased retention:

So much information is simply not retained in standard sales kickoff meetings. A five-minute stretch in the middle of the day is not enough to motivate employees or lay the foundation for them to actually retain important takeaways. Why not start the day with a grounding yoga session, spend lunch playing lawn games with other departments, opt for a mindfulness breakout session mid-afternoon, and spend your evening embarking on a nature walk where you chat about all you learned throughout the day? Implementing activities like these will not only revolutionize your sales kickoff meeting, but also your overall company culture and dynamics. They’re the purpose that drives a greater, stronger company vision.

A smarter investment:

The best part about heading to Lake Tahoe for a completely customized sales kickoff meeting? You can achieve a high-impact program for a cost that’s comparable to a few days spent at any hotel chain. You already invest a good amount of resources in your annual sales kickoff meeting, so why not capitalize on those dollars and create a personalized SKO?  Create a customized itinerary with food your employees will actually want to eat (hello, seasoned chefs and farm-to-table dinners), activities they’ll be eager to embark on, and a setting that will have them inspired, motivated, and ready to soak up information.


Ready to find out how to create and customize your unforgettable sales kickoff meeting in Tahoe with our expert team of Lake Tahoe corporate event planners? Reach out to the OFD team today!  

Stephanie Martin