• December 30, 2014

Surviving Your Sales Kickoff Meeting

Surviving Your Sales Kickoff Meeting

Another year, another notch on your company’s metaphorical belt. That means a fresh start for the New Year, and a brand new earning cycle. It also means that you’re promptly going to be summoned to the very first meeting of the year: the sales kickoff meeting. It’s a fresh start to a new, hopeful year, and maybe you’re excited about what that year will bring.

But on the other hand, if it’s like any of the kickoff meetings that have come before, it may be more like death by PowerPoint, loads of information crammed into a tiny meeting period and (even worse)… forced socializing with awkward executives who clearly don’t know much about sales (but are really eager to talk about it anyway). Still, even though other years’ meetings have been bad, it doesn’t mean that this one has to be. Here are our tips for making the most out of your sales kickoff meeting.

(You should also use Spiro’s sales automation CRM to make meeting your quota easier)

Ask To Understand The Objective Of The Meeting

Although sometimes these meetings do happen out of ritual, other times there is an important new focus and direction. Don’t be afraid to find out if your company is staying the course or heading in a new direction. Do a little digging before the meeting, talk to the people organizing it and your boss, and then you won’t be blindsided when they announce a change.

Know Your Objective And Ruthlessly Seek It Out

Once you know the objective, then you can get prepared: what are you going to do in the new year? What are your goals? How does this meeting relate to them, and how can the people at the meeting help you complete your objectives? With an objective in mind, you can start planning ahead to fulfill it.

Also, the company’s goal doesn’t need to necessarily be your sole aim – they might be interested in making sure all their employees are completely up-to-date on the latest in chemical dog pheromone nullifiers, but that doesn’t mean your professional goals necessarily need to be dedicated to your knowledge of dog pheromones. Although it is important to take company goals into consideration, you have a quota to hit!

Be Prepared – Be Very Prepared

Maybe, a long time ago, these meetings were about fostering team building and a sense of community. Maybe. These days (especially in this economy) it’s more likely that they’re – at least partially – about seeing who doesn’t have their stuff together. One unspoken agenda item is weeding out sales representatives who don’t have anything prepared.

Even if you had a great year previously, there’s no excuse to show up to a kickoff meeting without doing your homework – you might just get the axe a few months down the line. Show up knowing your stuff (especially that objective we mentioned earlier) and be involved. Ask questions, propose ideas, talk. You don’t want to start sucking up, but you do want management and your peers to see that you’re invested and involved in your job.

Give Suggestions

Sales is often a team sport. Be a team player and get involved in the planning. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the organizers to show them what would be valuable to the field, you may just prove why you deserve a promotion.

Learn From Your Peers

Probably the most important thing you can do is spend time with your fellow sales reps, and learn from them. Not just the high performers either. Learn from the guys who aren’t doing well, too. Figure out why you think that’s the case, and take a long hard look in the mirror.

That said, take it easy on the socializing. You’ll have plenty of time to shoot the breeze with your coworkers and bosses throughout the rest of the year, and these meetings can drag on long enough without your help. Even if your company likes to maintain a light mood to their business meetings, remember at the end of the day, it is still business. You’d be much better served with the reputation of a serious and professional sales rep, rather than a party animal.

Take these tips to heart, and make your sales kickoff meeting a worthwhile investment of your time.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Sam Wiggington.