Preparing for a Successful Kick-off Meeting?

The world may stop turning while your preparation is scrutinized. It's intense but a great learning opportunity and a chance to really get to know your team. You're investing a lot of time and money. You and you team would like to show consequential results as soon as possible. You'd also like the team to have a spring in its step having grown from the experience.

Annual kick-off meetings can be the root of fantastic achievements. Having participated in, contributed to, observed and lead several such meetings, I'm very happy to share some insights and tips as you prepare for your most important meeting of the year.

Let's start with a definition and some context. The meeting's purpose is to prepare the customer facing teams, and principally the sales team, for success. Success means activating and retaining happy customers and meeting or exceeding the revenue and profit plan for 2019. Non-sales functions - you may feel out of the spotlight; however, at its core this meeting, and your contribution, will empower the sales team to be successful - a must for the entire organization's health.


Here it is, 20 years of tips and insights summarized in 7 points/ 1 page. Enjoy!

1. Agree the story board.

If you're preparing a presentation make sure that you agree the story-board first. What message do you want the meeting to give? What are the overarching key activities, calls to action, supporting sales tools and marketing activities? What will engage the sales team in your story and convince them? There's no benefit to you in 'over-engineering' before you, your management and your team are happy and clear with the story that you will tell. Use this to prepare a one-page summary/take-away messages and action plan for the presentation and the meeting as a whole.

2. Sales and Marketing are collaborating.

Usually (always?) marketing is leading the content of the meeting as they are launching new products and have defined the focus for growth for the year. The more you team up before hand as a Sales and Marketing Team, the more successful your year will be. Guaranteed. Have friendly and robust discussions but agree clear outcomes. You must agree your calls to action together and agree to break them down for every country and sales territory. Think - what are the 3 things that will happen starting "On the road on Monday" as a consequence of this session? How am I inspiring them to happen? What does success look like? How will we know when we get there?

3. Allow yourself to be creative.

If you're using templates to prepare presentations respect that but don't let their 'form' stifle your creativity. Do allow templates to streamline and clarify your thoughts. No-one will remember that you stuck to the rules though. So what 3 things do you want the audience to remember vividly? How will your product launch or activity be the most vital? (Yes, you are playing for the team and Yes, it is a friendly competition to get the greatest share of mind).

4. Calls to action.

If you're in charge of the meeting make sure that you have clear calls to action from every session which can be summarized at the beginning and at the end of that session and of the meeting too. If you're not in charge of the meeting make sure that you have clear calls to action... and have a word with the boss about balancing the inspiring and aspirational slides with concrete calls to action.

5. Use real stories.

Tell stories. Get your audience engaged with emotion as well as facts. Bring customer insight with real examples, to the heart of your presentation. Help your audience to believe. Entertain and involve your audience. They may be tired after the long journey. How will you keep their energy high?

6. Remember - less really is more.

The intense atmosphere leading up to your kick-off meeting can result in too little time agreeing 'the big stuff' and too many slides, messages, sales tools, gimmicks - resulting in dilution and confusion. Don't kick the can down the road. If it doesn't fit or have an impactful outcome, don't do it. If you can't deliver it on time don't commit. Hold your ground, hold back if necessary and keep your promises.

7. Be you.

Why not start and end your presentation with a story or photo? This can help in getting a connection with the audience. If it relates to the session, even better. How will you connect with your audience?

In summary

I know this can be a stressful time of year and hope that these tips and insights help you in preparing the great content and clear message that you desire. If you remember one thing? Less really is more, so get your agreed story clear and write down the 3 actions you'd like to convince the sales force to take "On the road on Monday." Now, convince them. Good luck!

#Kickof2019 #SalesandMarketingSuccess #lifesciences #diagnostics #SalesMeetings #ReachfortheStars #MondayMotivation

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