If I could offer you only one piece of advice for making your sales kickoff a massive success, it would be this: Coordinate the content into one integrated whole. Let me explain.
It is rare that you get your entire sales force together in one place for a few days, so everyone is going to want time with the whole group, and a good many people on your team are going to want certain workshops. You are never going to have enough time, but you know that.
It’s also expensive to put together a sales kickoff meeting. You have to deal with logistics, hire keynote and content speakers, handle catering, and deal with entertainment. All of this is critical, and it is more work than most people recognize.
It is important that the sales force is entertained and educated, but it is more important that they return back to work with the ability to take action on what they learned. This means one of your primary goals should be to weave all the content together, building to the outcome that you want.
Keynote speeches must be entertaining. They also have to contain some major learning outcome. A great keynote can provide the content that creates a mindset shift in the sales force. That mindset shift serves as the platform on which to build the rest of the content.
Breakout sessions need to educate, and they should teach new skills to accompany the mindset shift enabled by the keynote. This is where mistakes are usually made, and they usually begin with content around product. Product is important, and salespeople need a deep understanding of what they are selling. The mistake is to provide product content alone, separated from the mindset shift and separated from the sales skills.
This can very easily be improved by connecting the product to the theme, and then tying it tightly to the skills being developed in the breakout sessions. Here is a quick example.
Let’s say your keynote speaker talks about how buyers have changed the way they buy. The skill set training might be around identifying where the buyer is in their process, requiring the salesperson to leverage that information to open a conversation about the new outcomes enabled by the product.
The integration of content around the outcomes you are trying to enable isn’t easy to do, and there is no chance you won’t have content that falls out of your major outcomes. But it is still the best way to ensure that you achieve the result of having your salespeople leave capable of doing something they were not capable of doing when they arrived.