Planning a Hybrid Sales Kickoff? Proceed With Caution

In a recent Mereo poll, we found that 15% of companies in our sampling plan to hold a hybrid sales kickoff, while another 15% were undecided on their plans yet.

Hybrid sales kickoffs hold the appeal of one-size-fits-all. What could go wrong with giving your selling force the option to engage? Yet, much like the slippers that either dwarf your feet or barely cover your big toe, a hybrid sales kickoff can actually do more harm than good for both planning leadership and participants alike.

If, due to lingering restrictions, financial challenges or other considerations, a hybrid sales kickoff is your only option, we want to provide you with these cautions and potential solutions to make the best of it. Or, if you need more justification for your entirely in-person or all-virtual event, we have your defense lined up here.


One of the greatest undertakings in planning a sales kickoff is effectively creating and delivering content. As many organizations have learned through these last few years, virtual content formats and delivery must differ from in-person content in order to remain effective.

When planning a hybrid event, planning committees must make one piece of content available across these two different formats, all the while sorting out the logistics to deliver them seamlessly across multiple channels during the event too. While the planning committee’s purpose is to serve the participants, undue headaches and stress hinder the strategy and planning of the overall program, which impacts professionals serving on the committee as well as participants alike.


For your participants, a hybrid sales kickoff may limit their engagement if the planner is not careful. Virtual and in-person formats demand different schedules in order to keep participants fresh and captivated. In virtual settings, sales kickoffs work best in shorter engagements with small breakouts driving increased participation across a longer event time period — for example, two hours per day over a week or two. For in-person settings, traditionally everyone comes together for highly-engaging sessions and events across a few days. There is an inherent disconnect by trying to merge both formats into one event, where one group suffers their ability to engage meaningfully.

Beyond engagement, too, a hybrid event can limit interactions. In a traditional in-person setting, participants are often given plenty of opportunities for formalized and impromptu networking, relationship-building and culture-deepening moments. Virtual formats also provide avenues to recreate these team-building moments to some degree. Yet, in a hybrid format, your in-person participants and your virtual participants often remain fractured and it takes special planning to try and integrate the two groups.


There are numerous more considerations for your sales kickoff. And we at Mereo have developed the guidebook to help you lead yours to success. Download The Ultimate Sales Kickoff Planning Playbook, and gain leading B2B sales kickoff planning best practices.