By this point in the year, many organizations are either just about to host an annual gathering of their sales teams or have already wrapped it up. These annual kick-off sessions can be a lot of fun, with inspirational speeches from the CEO, educational sessions featuring customers or other outside experts and some group activities to get everyone fired up for 2016. As with any conference, however, it’s easy for most of it to get forgotten once you get back to your desk.
This can be discouraging, not only for the marketing or events planning teams that spend months putting a sales kick-off event together, but for sales leaders. After all, if the kick-off event didn’t really have much of an impact on closing deals, why bother giving people a day away from their phones and customer meetings in the first place?
There’s a lot sales reps can do to make the most of sales kick-off meetings in the months that follow. Use this checklist as your guide:
Send A Strategic Thank-You Message
A week or so after the sales kick-off, share your gratitude to someone involved in the event. It could be the CEO, but also someone in marketing or an outside speaker. Hand-write a note rather than e-mail so you have to take some time to think about what you’re saying and try to jot at least one major takeaway. Whether you actually send this note or not (and you should) it will get your thinking process going to start implementing the best advice. It will also show the recipient you’re interested in building on the idea in a collaborative way.
Schedule Time With A Star
Sales kick-off events are often popular because they’re when top performers are given the recognition they richly deserve. Those sitting in the audience should do more than applaud, however. Treat the members of your team who got singled out as treasure troves of best practice data you should be studying. Invite them for coffee or lunch and learn more about what got them to the stage this year.
Rewrite The Theme
Often sales kick-off meetings are where senior leadership teams unveil a key message that they want to use to drive performance across the organizations. Sometimes sales teams roll their eyes at these slogans, but they shouldn’t. They’re often a great way to think about and interpret the broader strategy. If this year’s theme doesn’t compel you, think of how you could phrase it in a way that applies to your goals this year.
Ask For The Slides
Even with the best of intentions, many organizations have sales kick-off events that go on far too long and stack them with speaker after speaker. If you didn’t pay attention to every single minute, you probably weren’t alone. That said, it’s usually permissible to get a soft copy of the slides sent your way so you can review anything important you missed that could help you in your day-to-day role.
Use Music As A Memory Aid
One thing consistent to many sales kick-off meetings is loud, energizing music that lifts the audience’s mood as speakers prepare to take the stage. The next time you work out at the gym, commute by train or are even just standing in line, put in your earbuds and play any of the tunes you liked. Recall which speaker the music introduced or closed out, and what stood out from that particular presentation.
Create Questions For Your Next One-On-One
Usually it’s up to the sales leader to reinforce the key points from a kick-off event. Why not impress your manager by coming to your regular touch-point with a list of things that stood out to you from the discussions? This will ease some of the manager’s burden but will also help tie in the strategy more directly to a real-life opportunity or challenge you’ll be tackling in the weeks and months ahead.
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