October 18

5 Ways to Get Greater ROI out of your Sales Kickoff


What does your team remember from last year’s Sales Kickoff?

The theme?  The awards ceremony?  That awkward moment when the VP of Marketing tripped walking toward the podium?

What about all those great new selling tactics your sales team was introduced to?  How many of those are actually being used 10 months later?

Here’s a sobering fact you may have heard:  77% of what we learn within a week is forgotten.

While the opportunity to bond and soak up company culture is important for a healthy sales organization, ultimately, you’re investing time and money in a Sales Kickoff with the goal of impacting the bottom line. You likely have speakers and breakout sessions lined up to arm your salespeople with new tools and tactics.  Which 23% would you like them to remember?

If you want to get greater ROI out of your Sales Kickoff, you need to make sure your sales team receives, retains and applies more of these valuable selling tactics. That means part of your planning should include how to make those behavior changing messages as memorable as possible.

5 Ways to Get Greater ROI out of your Sales Kickoff:
Sales Kickoff

1. Get Presenters Stage-ready:

No matter how great the content, a poor speaker’s message will fail to have lasting impact on any audience.  Sales Kickoffs present some unique challenges for company executives and presenters not used to the limelight.  Hire experienced stage presenters or schedule rehearsal time for executives and new presenters with a presentation coach who has on-stage expertise.  Here are a few things a good coach can help your executive team and presenters with:

  • Projecting stage presence. Filling a room with your “presence” is not natural for most people, but it’s absolutely necessary to maintain the attention of salespeople unaccustomed to sitting in one spot for very long.  The right coach can help leaders extend their presence from the stage while still maintaining their authenticity.
  • Adjusting movements and gestures. Small, random movements by speakers serve as a distraction to audiences.  Compelling stage speakers use large “away-from-torso gestures” and purposeful movement.
  • Working with a mic. There’s a lot more to a mic than just getting hooked up!  Handheld mics need to be kept a consistent distance from the speaker’s mouth.  Back and forth movements can cause distortion.  Wearing a lavaliere mic provides great flexibility, but when speaker’s turn their head too far to either side, their voice fades in and out.  Don’t wait until you’re miking up speakers to let them know how it works!
  • Channeling nerves. Even leaders who are fearless presenting to top executives or small teams can feel intimidated when speaking to a large group.  Techniques that promise to “eliminate nerves” can backfire and produce a dull delivery.  Look for techniques that can help presenters channel those nerves into positive energy.

2. Connect the Dots between Presenters:

Chances are you’re covering a lot of topics, some of which may only be loosely related under your overall theme.  It’s much easier for people to remember things that are connected, so let individual speakers know who/what topic they are following and ask that they briefly connect the dots for their audience.   For example:

“In the last session, Kathy shared a new tool that will help you quickly and easily identify the right contacts when prospecting.  Now, we’re going to talk about how to find and share content that is customized to each prospect to improve your message open rates by as much as 50%.”

3. Frame Individual Sessions:

Speakers rarely have enough time, so they often cut out important presentation elements at the beginning and end of their sessions that are vital for increasing audience attention and recall.  Ensure that each speaker delivers a clear, concise opening that highlights what they’ll be learning and a succinct closing which summarizes key takeaways and (this is important) ties them to the specific value for the participant.  In the example above, the value of the session “improve your message open rate by as much as 50%” was clearly stated up front and would also be reiterated at the end.

4. Increase Activity Across all Sessions:

How many of your speakers are just talk, talk, talking at your team?  Content delivered in rapid fire hose style is difficult for anyone to remember.  Let alone busy sales reps!  Ask speakers to  get the audience involved in some way besides listening.  Whether it’s live polling, breakouts, or mini-exercises, the more senses involved, the more your sales team will remember the experience.

5. Create a Follow-up plan

You’ve generated a great deal of excitement, don’t let it die out!  Leverage that energy shortly after your SKO with a plan to reinforce key learnings and put new behaviors to the test.  Ask speakers to do follow-up emails or webinars.  Have participants report on learnings or results. Create a contest focused on using new skills.  Keep the momentum going to maximize your investment.

Bottom Line:  If you want to get greater ROI out of your Sales Kickoff, take control over what you want your sales team to remember.  Incorporate proven tactics that will improve audience recall in part of your planning.


Just as it’s difficult for your sales team to remember meeting takeaways, today’s busy customers struggle to differentiate between vendors and recall your message as well —  slowing down the sales cycle and allows deals to fall through the cracks.  Consider a sales speaker for your Sales Kickoff that provides tactical strategies for “Making your Message Memorable” in sales presentation, demos and conversations!


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