The Definitive Sales Kickoff Checklist

Over the years, we have participated and lead hundreds of sales kickoff events. We know what works and we know what doesn’t work so well. I reflected on my deep experience to create a list of sales kickoff planning and execution tips. I shared the list on LinkedIn and crowdsourced the definitive Sales Kickoff Checklist from leaders around the world who contributed their experiences. Interest in this topic is high so we created a sales kickoff checklist.

Sales Kick-Off Checklist

  1. Avoid having people sit for over 30 minutes without music/video stimulation.
  2. Create a strategy which involves pre-work to do before events.
  3. Give reinforcement learning after the event to keep momentum going.
  4. Document a vision for content publishers and event participants to understand.
  5. Align with company culture.
  6. Include all quota and non-quota carrying, in an event that flies people to a central location.
  7. Celebrate customer stories, deal wins, and top performers.
  8. Include top performers on stage to share their successes.
  9. Include healthy snacks (and coffee) throughout the event.
  10. Do more inspiration, alignment, and motivation versus too much product training.
  11. Avoid rolling out new untested technology leaving people with more frustration than benefit.
  12. Avoid running keynotes as “death by powerpoint” presentations without active attendee engagement.
  13. Schedule time to rehearse presenters and practice presentations before showtime.
  14. Avoid sharing department updates at the event on stage. Save the updates for follow up notes, emails, or video calls.
  15. Don’t try to do too many things at once.
  16. Do a lot of networking and peer collaboration.
  17. Keep expenses down by booking hotels and flights early.
  18. Measure the impact.
  19. Don’t work hard and play hard. You can’t do both.
  20. Leave time for down time.

Here are some action oriented and inspirational tips from leaders in the industry who I admire and trust:

Jill Rowley: “have an after care plan in place that drives behavioral change in sales and includes support from marketing.”

Mark Cranney: “Feature customer case studies, wins, and ROI. Account exec’s should be the ones telling the stories. Not just marketing!”

Josh Greene: “Orchestrate customer panels that align to the theme of the event are always a big hit. They also drive further customer engagement.”

Steve Mooney: “Include your best performers on stage to share the secret of their success, and steps to replicate their success.”

Joanne Black: “Don’t pack sessions with product information.”

Tamera Schmidt: “Align a sales kickoff event with company culture and measure pipeline impact.”

Andrew Monaghan: “Have a rallying session at the end for the sales leader to motivate the sales force around some clear objectives and theme for the year.”

Patricia Cuomo-Prater: “Build in some “down time”–people need time to workout, check in with family, catch up on calls, etc.”

What are your lessons learned from your sales kickoff events? What would happen to your productivity if your teams came to your events trained and left your events with content in hand? How are you measuring the impact and reinforcement of your kick-off events? How are you overcoming the reality that 90% of what is taught at kick-off events are forgotten within days?

Make your sales kickoff and company events more engaging with pre and post event content sharing and reinforcement learning. The SalesHood platform and our team of experts are here to help.

About the Author

Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $500M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.

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