How to Run a Successful Sales Kickoff and Training

Employee Training

Set the tone for a great year by planning a successful sales kickoff meeting.

A sales kickoff meeting is a good opportunity to bring your team together for bonding, training, and planning so you can hit the ground running on your shared goals. And while there are many important elements to consider, a truly successful sales kickoff starts with listening.

Ask your sales team what they want.

Before you start planning your kickoff, check in with your team, including your new hires. Ask them how they’re feeling. After such an unpredictable year and a half, you might get a huge array of answers. Some folks might be feeling energized and motivated, while others might be exhausted and overwhelmed.

Ask your team what they most want from a kickoff. They might want to hear from a particular leader or technical expert so they can ask questions. They might be interested in a best-practices presentation from a rockstar colleague or special training from another department. You may find that people simply just want to see each other in person again.

Listen closely to what your team says so you can meet them where they are. An agenda created specifically for your team is way better than something generic you Googled at the last minute.

Set clear goals before and after your sales kickoff.

Review feedback from your team, your own priorities, and directives from your leaders. This information will help you set specific goals for your kickoff event. Share your goals with everyone when you send out your agenda. With everyone on the same page, you can all stay laser-focused on what’s important without wasting any time on fluff.

You should walk away from your kickoff with goals too. Whether your team’s goals are set by leadership or by individual contributors, each person should know exactly what they’re working toward and what they’re accountable for. This makes it much easier to keep track of progress and keep things moving.

Energize your sales team.

Kick-off your kickoff with something fun and exciting. Your goal is to get everyone amped up and ready to get to work. You know your team best, so think about what they like and get creative.

If your team loves friendly competition, try something out of the box like laser tag or go-karts. If motivational speeches make their eyes light up, hire a top-notch keynote speaker or bring in the most engaging person from your corporate leadership team. If they love a show, find a comedian or other entertainer. If they’re just thrilled to be together again, host an unstructured social event so they can reconnect after so many months apart.

Celebrate your team, too! Shout out your top performers and share stories about people who went above and beyond. Public accolades for a job well done are a great way to get people smiling and start your kickoff on a positive note.

Make training fun.

A sales kickoff is a great time to provide training and education on new products and processes. With everyone together, it’s much easier to ask questions, learn from each other, and get everyone on the same page. This is especially important for your new hires, who are trying to learn the ropes and get to know the team at the same time. Creating a shared learning experience is a great way to get people to bond.

Make it fun by using a tool like Trivie. Trivie turns the learning process into a trivia-style game, so your team can engage in a little friendly competition. 90% of what they learn will stick with them for the entire calendar year, so you’ll still be seeing the benefits at your next annual sales kickoff. Trivie also gives you reports on the backend, so you can see which concepts your team is grasping right away and which might need a little extra training.

Pro Tip: Plan your training by sending out a knowledge assessment quiz, see what your people know, that way you can plan your training accordingly by only presenting topics your learners are struggling with. Redundant training with fully understood concepts can make your learners disengaged and bored.

Get started by speaking with one of our knowledge experts to see how Trivie works: contact us here.

Remember the human being.

It can be tempting to cram as many items as possible into your agenda, especially after such an unpredictable year. But you’ve got to remember that your team is still human. If you want them to power through full, intense days with energy and enthusiasm, you need to fuel them appropriately.

Get a great caterer for meals and stock up on everyone’s favorite snacks. If you have team members with dietary restrictions, ask them directly what they need and make sure the caterer can handle it. Make sure there’s plenty of water, hot coffee, and other drinks available.

And for goodness’s sake, give your team a break. Leave ample time for people to use the restroom, stretch their legs, and answer a few emails. Don’t antagonize people who’d rather skip the bar after dinner and go to bed early. Remember, your team will be at their very best when their basic needs are met, so be mindful of the fact that those needs are a little different for everyone.



Trivie is a "learning as a service" platform that uses neuroscience and gamification to increase knowledge retention and engagement while providing companies with powerful data to improve business outcomes.

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