Kickoff Meeting Can Set Agenda for Sales Success

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Can you feel it? Inspiration, energy and unlimited potential are in the air. Feet pounding, fists pumping and high fives all around. They’re ready.

Are you ready to ignite the spark of success at your 2019 sales kickoff meeting?

I’m not suggesting you channel your inner Tony Robbins to “Unleash the Power Within,” but a sales kickoff meeting may be the secret to your success in 2019.

Why? The new year is a fresh start and your team has the best intentions to achieve success. A sales kickoff meeting helps you harness that energy and get everyone pointed in the right direction and focused on the right things.

However, setting the agenda for a successful sales kickoff can be difficult and time consuming. Below are a series of topics to cover – with questions and considerations – to make your 2019 sales kickoff meeting a success.

Year in Review

First, open the meeting by spending a few minutes on a 2018 year in review. Talk about what worked, what didn’t and highlight any special accomplishments from the team. Focus on examples of good process or behaviors you’d like to reinforce for the future.

Strategy, goal-setting and achievement

Next, share the 2019 business strategy, revenue growth goals and key performance indicators that will track and measure success. Every activity, spanning across sales, marketing and operations, should stem from the business strategy. Sharing the business strategy and goals helps your team know exactly what to start, stop and keep doing. They’ll be able to test every activity against the goals and jettison the ones that are out of alignment.

At this point, connect the current state to the future state and present a specific roadmap on how to achieve the 2019 revenue growth goals.

Specific to revenue goal achievement, it’s very important to set explicit expectations on deal structure and volume. Is the organization gunning for market share and using aggressive pricing to drive volume or is there a strict focus on measured and highly profitable growth? Different behaviors stem from each approach. Both work, but it’s good to know which one you prefer.

Importance of process, rhythm and reporting

Next, it’s time to review the sales process, operating rhythm and reporting. Having a well-defined sales process comprised of pipeline stages such as “qualified, engaged, proposal, negotiate, win/loss” helps the broader commercial organization know how and when to assist the team in moving deals down the pipeline.

Make sure the team has a grasp on the operating rhythm as well. Do they know that deals – we’ll call them “opportunities” – should be updated in the CRM system by 5 p.m. every Wednesday so the sales operations team can pull the data and project the weekly forecast? Does the team know that every Friday morning there is a pipeline review that inspects the status of each opportunity and looks for deals stuck in a pipeline stage?

Lastly, share the small set of standard sales reports that will be reviewed on a weekly basis. Does everyone know exactly which reports and dashboards are the most important and where those dashboards live? Have you provided an easy and obvious link to get to the reports and dashboards? Are they clearly labeled so you can refer exactly to which report gets the most attention and inspection?

Your ideal client

This is also a good opportunity to share any changes and updates to your “ideal client profile.” Do you have a composite sketch of your best customer? Not only their basic information such as industry and job title, but also by their behaviors and motivations? Their triggers and touch points? This is all critical information to help the team better understand how to find and keep these relationships.

Theme development

Have you created a theme for your marketing strategy and programs? Themes are important because they get the team to rally around a key idea or concept. If you can name it, you can talk about it and reinforce it.

Does the theme govern all of your content marketing and sales activity? For example, is your organization attempting to earn the position as a trusted adviser? If so, then every single touch point should have that in mind.

This means that the prospecting team will approach their outreach with a focus on solving problems for the customer and not just pushing for a product demonstration.

Focus on audience development vs. prospect persuasion

Educate to dominate. What’s your position on treating customers like an “audience?”

Will a content marketing program do the job or will you leave it up to the sales team? Are you going to continue pushing product and forcing good prospects through a 90-day pipeline, only to be abandoned if there’s no current oppportunity? Or is your focus on leveraging educational content consistently delivered over time to build an audience and establish lasting relationships?

In conclusion, the DNA of sales people make them driven to succeed. Knowing the goals, expectations and rules of the road will help you align your organization to achieve massive success.

If you’d like any advice on setting the agenda for your own sales kickoff, contact me at

The author, Jeff Herrmann, is chief revenue officer for The Business Journal and grew up in Brookfield. He and his family came home to the Mahoning Valley, bringing with them his 25-year career as a sales leader and digital marketing executive for firms in Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.

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