Good vs. Great Sales Kickoff Meetings: How to Plan One That Provides Real ROI

| Employee Engagement, Team Building
Good vs. Great Sales Kickoff Meetings How to Plan One That Provides Real ROI featured image
Sales kickoff meetings are vital to your organization’s success for the coming year. With the right approach, you can make your sales kickoff meeting unforgettable and ensure it informs, educates, and inspires your team.

If you’re a sales leader, there’s a good chance you spend the last quarter of each year thinking about how to plan a sales kickoff meeting for your team.

And that’s for good reason.

Organizations with high rates of employee engagement—those where employees believe in what they’re doing and become invested in their own contributions—have been shown to retain over 80% of their customers.

Planning a sales kickoff meeting allows you to create that engagement, taking a look at the year gone by and getting your team excited and inspired for the year ahead.

If you’re looking to plan your 2023 sales kickoff meeting, here’s everything you need to know to knock it out of the park.

8 Tips for Hosting Sales Kickoff Meetings That Inspire Your Team

a large sales team gathered around a boardroom in their office

You probably already understand the fundamentals of meeting planning—creating an agenda, deciding on a location, inviting the right attendees, and figuring out whether you’ll need catering.

But in order to plan an unforgettable—and impactful—sales kickoff meeting, you need to look beyond the basics.  

Once you’ve got the basic details mapped out, here are X considerations for how to take your sales kickoff meeting from good to great.

1. Avoid Starting Cold

Rather than jumping into a lecture, your sales kickoff meeting should be interactive. So, before the meeting begins, distribute any pre-work that might need to be done and share any materials that your team could review in advance.

You can also take this chance to tease any major announcements and get people excited for what they might hear at the meeting.

By doing the prep work in advance, your sales kickoff meeting will be an opportunity for discussion, collaboration, and Q&A rather than being a one-way dialogue.  

2. Celebrate Successes

The purpose of your sales kickoff meeting is to look toward the future. But, before you do that, it’s a great idea to talk about what’s been going right.

Take some time to celebrate team successes from the last year. Recognize employees and shout out individual efforts. And share positive customer feedback.

When you start off talking about wins, you set a positive tone from the outset of the meeting and get people more excited than ever about what they can achieve in the coming year.

3. Start with Objectives (And Outline Rewards)

a sales team sitting in a conference room having a sales kickoff meeting

If you want your team to be inspired, you need to tell them exactly what they’re working towards. Your sales kickoff meeting should be hyper-focused on quantifiable and measurable objectives.

This could include things like:

  • Increasing revenue by 5% year-over-year
  • Hiring new customer service team members
  • Boosting customer retention by 10%
  • Increasing upsells and cross-sells
  • Improving conversion rates
  • Reducing time spent by sales reps and appointment setters on non-sales tasks
  • Enhancing specific sales processes and activities

When people know what their specific targets are, it makes it easier to achieve them.

And if you have any incentives on the table for achieving those targets, discuss them as a way to get people excited.

4. Incorporate Team Building and Socialization

The strongest and most productive teams know each other on a personal level. So, as much as you want to use your sales kickoff meeting to discuss business, it’s also a valuable opportunity to help people to forge those bonds.

In fact, it’s been shown that teams will be up to 10x more productive throughout the year when they are grounded with strong, productive relationships.

Whether your team works remotely or in person, we’ve got some awesome team building activities and virtual team building activities we think you’ll like.

Virtual Friendly Feud Social


Gather your colleagues and take part in your very own virtual Family Feud-style gameshow that fuses high-energy competition with engaging social mixer activities.

Virtual Hollywood Murder Mystery

image 2

An up-and-coming actress has been found dead in her hotel room the morning after an awards show. Now, you and your remote team need to channel your inner detectives as you review the evidence, assess potential suspects, and determine the method, motive, and murderer in the crime.

Virtual Escape Room: Mummy’s Curse

image 3

n this virtual escape room experience, your team will be transported into a pyramid cursed by a restless mummy. You’ll have to work together to uncover clues and solve complex challenges to lift the ancient curse.

Virtual Jeoparty Social

image 4

Work collaboratively with your teammates as you put your collective trivia knowledge to the test in this high-energy and immersive virtual Jeopardy-style competition infused with a fun social twist.

The Virtual Do-Good Games

image 5

Team up with your colleagues to do some good in the world and give back to those in need while having a blast. The Do-Good Games is a morale-boosting virtual team building activity that transforms friendly competition into charitable donations.

Wild Goose Chase

image 6

In this scavenger hunt activity, your team can get out of the office and explore your city in a whole new way. Together, your team will need to think outside the box, bond as a group, and venture outside into the community in order to complete a series of fun and unique photo and video challenges.

Charity Bike Buildathon

image 7

Split into teams to build, decorate, and put together an advertising campaign for children’s bicycles. After each group has presented their bike, you get to donate them all to a charity of your choice!

Trivia Time Machine

Screen Shot 2022 11 21 at 5.49.07 PM

Take a trip through pop culture history and transform your office into your very own game show experience – featuring a witty game show host, scoreboard, buzzer, and all!

Game Show Extravaganza

image 8

Play in a game show-style competition trivia challenges covering everything from pop culture to politics.

Corporate Castaways

image 9

Transform teammates into tribemates with this activity inspired by the “Survivor” TV show.

5. Provide Valuable Context

When employees understand how their efforts align with your organization’s purpose and goals, it pays off in a big way: highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability.

So, take some time during your sales kickoff meeting to explain not only what you’re hoping to achieve as an organization but why—and how the individual efforts of every employee, team, and department help make them a reality.

When people understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, it becomes a rallying cry that inspires them to bring those goals to fruition.

6. Create Alignment with Marketing

a group of employees at a table in a sales kickoff meeting

All too often, sales and marketing operate in silos. But this is completely backward. After all, both departments share one common goal: to bring new and recurring revenue into the organization.

Utilizing the best marketing automation tools can streamline this alignment, ensuring that the efforts of both teams are optimized for maximum impact.

7. Consider a Keynote Speaker

Leveraging an outside voice can help get your team excited and inspired in a different way. So, it’s worth considering hiring a keynote speaker to attend your sales kickoff meeting and speak to your employees.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our list of 10 considerations for picking guest speakers for corporate events, as well as four common obstacles in finding and hiring them.  

8. Have a Follow-Up Plan

Don’t let your team leave your sales kickoff meeting unless you’ve done two things:

  • Assigned actionable takeaways from the meeting
  • Created a follow-up plan to check in on your team’s progress as the year gets underway

That third point is incredibly important: you need to be able to maintain enthusiasm and momentum after your sales kickoff meeting wraps up.

This can include doing things like:

  • Scheduling regular follow-up meetings
  • Creating a Slack channel where you can connect with your team in real time and celebrate wins

But it can also include planning in advance for how you’ll reinforce your messages and goals throughout the year.

The ultimate goal of your sales kickoff meeting is to inform, educate, and inspire your team and get them all marching to the same drum. That’s why it’s so important that you make the most of your time together in a collaborative and communicative setting.

If you’re able to make your sales kickoff meeting unforgettable, you’ll see it quantifiably reflected in your business’s bottom line in the year to come.

Does your organization do sales kickoff meetings each year? If so, what’s involved? Let us know what kinds of things you do in the comments section below!

Learn about team building activities for sales kickoff meetings.

If you’ve got questions about team building games for your upcoming sales kickoff meeting, reach out to an Employee Engagement Consultant.  


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments