We are officially past the first week of November, with sales kickoffs around the corner. If your sales kickoff planning and content creation is well underway, bully for you.
These are large events that involve a large number of people in your organization and, more importantly, have potential to drive your revenue growth into the next year. It is of course common sense these events would have a level of long-term planning.
But if you are among the industry majority, the sales kickoff is a nagging line-item, placed behind a slew of short-term action items. You certainly have your venue or facility. But the bulk of the work is waiting to be done. And fast.
The Staggering Common Practice in Sales Kickoff Planning
Too many teams wait until November to begin sales kickoff planning. And by this time, they start digging in, realize how much must be done and start sounding fire alarms.
You may recognize this scenario and may very well be living it now. But you may also be asking: How could it be any different?
- I do not know what my teams will look like in the new year.
- I do not know what next year’s product portfolio emphasis is yet.
- Summer was busy and no one was around for sales kickoff planning meetings anyway.
- My team and I are in the thick of the fourth quarter.
While all these are valid points, the truth is, with this common practice last-minute planning, you are already behind and will continue to be behind next year, the year after and so on, if you maintain this precedence.
In doing so, you risk a sales kickoff that not only wastes leaderships’ and employees’ times but also fails to successfully inspire and enable the teams to launch into the next year.
According to Brainshark research, almost 75% of sales kickoff attendees say their company’s meeting would not earn them an A grade, while 29% rate it at a C or below (2018). If this is the result, why have one in the first place?
Refreshing Common Sense Sales Kickoff Planning
It is imperative to start sales kickoff work in the summer at the latest (for a Q1 meeting), even with all the above concerns threatening to hold it off. Remember, you can work through the nitty gritty details later. The foundational plan and messaging will set you up for greater success down the line.
Operating under the assumption you have already locked-down your venue for the event, come summer it is time to plan how to leverage that venue as a foundational pillar for your sales kickoff. How many sessions will be held? How many breakouts? How long does each piece of content and session necessitate? How many people will be invited? Will you hold a sales kickoff in more than one geography?
In the months following, you will have a guiding plan, so you and your product and marketing teams can invest necessary cycles during the fall to generate solid, effective and relevant content for the event itself.
This may seem an obvious process, but as we have already established, common sense does not mean common practice. And if you are among the masses, stick with me as I help you through the end of this year’s sales kickoff planning and execution.