How not to F’up Your Sales Kickoff

Welcome to the ultimate guide on how not to ruin your Sales Kickoff (SKO) and ensure your team will leave motivated, informed, and fully equipped to conquer the market. The truth will set you free, but sometimes it stings a little. So, let’s dive in.

Forgetting the Mindset You Want Your Team to Have after the Sales Kickoff

Sales Kickoffs does not need a strategic vision. When you plan a vacation do you define your “strategic vision”?  Of course not!  A great sales kickoff must have an Emotional Vision and Experience. 

If your thought is that you want your team to leave the saleskickoff motivated and excited, that is not the same thing as a strategy. Strategy is about execution and delivery, not the desired outcome. 

So, defining the emotional mindset you want your team to leave with is the most important thing. Do not forget to determine the mindset you want to obtain after your sales kickoff.

Once you have this aspect defined, the agenda and execution become easier to shape and more exciting. While you are planning your sales kickoff meeting and agreeing the strategy with the other departments, keep always in mind those skills you want to improve during your SKO. 

Here is the best practice for planning an SKO I recommend: 

“At the end of the SKO we want the sales team to walk out being better at _____________, ______________ and _______________.

Using Boring PowerPoints During Your Entire Sales Kickoff

No, your whirly bird and exit stage left and fades on your powerpoint do not impress us. Say goodbye to the days of enduring a Sales Kickoff (SKO) that feels like an endless parade of slide transitions. Instead, envision your PowerPoint presentation as a masterpiece of design. 

How many of us have spent about 1-2 hours getting the right content on the slide. Then 10+ hours on the creative, animation, etc. Newsflash, you weren’t hired to make amazing powerpoints.  

Build your content on a plan deck, hire someone else to make it cool. Imagine, what would you be doing if you had those 10+ hours back. Trust me, it will be worth every penny.

Now, here’s the game-changer: share your PowerPoint with your team three days before the SKO. Yes, you heard it right! While it may not be mandatory reading, providing your team with a sneak peek of the presentation can transform your SKO into an engaging and interactive experience. 

By giving your team time to review the material beforehand, they can come prepared with questions, ideas, and suggestions, making the SKO session more dynamic. Click To Tweet.

Encourage open discussions, foster meaningful interactions, and facilitate Q&A sessions. Transform your SKO into a collaborative environment where ideas flow freely and knowledge is shared. 

By creating an atmosphere that encourages active participation, you can tap into the collective wisdom. The experience of your team will provide innovative thinking and generate valuable insights.

Remember, the purpose of a Sales Kickoff is not just to disseminate information, but to inspire and motivate your team. By transforming your static PowerPoint into a dynamic and interactive experience, you can create an SKO that energizes your team. Foster collaboration, and set the stage for success in the market.

Talking Too Much in Your Sales Kickoff

I have a confession to make: I tend to talk too much. I know, it may come as a shock, but the truth is, people aren’t always eager to listen unless the information you provide genuinely helps them succeed. 

Sales representatives can easily access and absorb updates on new services, pricing changes, and the competitive landscape on their own. Instead of bombarding your team with endless monologues, consider a more effective approach.

Give your team time to digest the information. Allow them to engage in interactive discussions use-case specific role playing.  Encourage them to ask questions. Shift the focus of your sessions from simply conveying information to demonstrating how to apply that knowledge during sales calls or conversations. 

By emphasizing practical application, you enable your team to hear how something will sound and make adjustments. So often we want to say something a certain way, and then when we hear it out loud we realize we need to tweak it. 

Let this happen in your SKO and let the members of your team find their authentic voice. After all, the way  you present it and sayit will sound different than how other people on the team will say things. 

Authenticity matters. Give your team the safe space to workshop the conversation so they can find their own authentic sales voice. There is a strong likelihood that sales reps will be more receptive to advice and guidance from their peers rather than solely from their leader, even if the message is the same. 

This approach not only makes the content more relatable but also fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility within your team. In short, give them an emotional vision.


The key to planning a successful Sales Kick-Off (SKO) lies not only in knowing what you should do but also in recognizing and avoiding potential pitfalls. By steering clear of these challenges, you can transform your SKO into a dynamic, memorable, and impactful event that propels your salesforce to new heights. 

Keep in mind that a well-executed SKO is not merely an event; it serves as a catalyst for long-term success. Click To Tweet

Still afraid you might f’up your SKO? I am always open to a free “pick your brain” conversation. 

Yup, I won’t charge you to chat for a few minutes to bounce ideas, here’s my legit cell phone, 415.596.9149, text me quickly first so I know its not a spam call. 🙂 For additional insights and expert guidance on SKO planning, consider visiting The Harris Consulting Group

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