During your sales kickoff, role-plays and other hands-on activities should dominate. These exercises allow your teams to have in-depth practice of what to do — and what not to do — during buyer interactions.

When your teams are not given the space to practice skills and sales tools, they can make larger blunders with buyers. Your teams need safe spaces to practice and make mistakes. This way, it is easier to point them out and correct them.

Coaches in athletics run “situational” plays all the time – 4th down inside of 2 minutes on the clock in football, inbounding from the end-line with 5-seconds left on the clock in basketball. Or when a baseball player is on deck, they will do practice swings. The player does not do this for fun; they are evaluating the aspects of their swing and taking this time to improve upon and perfect them.

Through these exercises, your teams will have a better understanding of what to do in certain situations and break old sales habits that are no longer serving your organization or buyers.

Your sales kickoff event is like your first game of the season. This is your organization’s chance for either redemption or to hold their title. This can be achieved with a top-notch game plan guaranteed to lead your teams to victory. Just as your favorite sports team does, this is your opportunity to unite, inspire and teach your teams.


Role-plays are about understanding the situation and having a plan so that it can be practiced until it is second nature. Psychologically your teams are confident because they have a plan and have seen it work in a relevant simulation. Coaches lead their team through practice plays, holding them accountable to giving it their all rather than just going through the motions. Then coaches remind players of important aspects of the play after the fact. Your sales training programs should be no different — in any mode of delivery.

Most people (75%) learn by doing. That and you do not want your teams to be “practicing” in front of the buyer. During these exercises, your teams can get feedback from their peers and leaders in real-time, making it more difficult for them to learn “wrong” approaches and selling behaviors. In addition to getting your teams well acquainted with your value proposition, sales simulations reveal which members of your teams are ready to implement new selling skills in a real buyer conversation.

Now that you understand the why, it is time to do.


Create a safe space for your salespeople to learn and grow from your and their peers’ feedback and support. A sports coach does not nitpick or put down. Rather, a coach inspires their players to do and be their best. A common issue B2B leaders face is their teams thinking these exercises are silly, embarrassing or useless. Not all of your salespeople are going to see the value of these exercises, so it is your job to emphasize the value and engage your teams to take these exercises seriously.

Take these steps to prepare for effective sales training practice sessions:

  • Before you jump into role-play scenarios, you need to identify your goal and pre-plan the scenarios you would like to simulate. For example, if your teams are struggling to properly deliver your message to the buyer, add a scenario to your agenda that covers that topic.
  • You need to ensure your teams take this exercise seriously. With two individuals who view this activity as a waste of time, you will likely realize no value or improvement from the activity. Instead, pair everyone with at least one teammate who is committed to bettering themselves and their partner.
  • Set clear rules for the role-play scenarios. This way, your teams will not be joking around but rather they will treat the scenarios as if they were the real thing.

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready! All that is left is to begin the exercise and work together to achieve your end goal and create a foundation for buyer meetings.


Role-plays and hands-on activities are the foundation of your sales kickoff. Give your teams and yourself a sense of confidence with a well-designed game plan. Download Mereo’s Ultimate Sales Kickoff Planning Playbook and begin crafting your sales kickoff plan today.


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