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Company/Sales Kickoff Checklist

This is a planning checklist for those planning Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR), Sales Kickoffs (SKO), or Company Kickoffs (CKO).


Before the Event

Determine theme, objectives, participants:

  • Determine theme

    • What theme will set a foundation for the quarter/year?

  • Get leadership alignment on overall objectives

    • To do this, ask yourself and other leaders "What does your team need to be able to do at the end of the event?"

    • One consistent objective should be team bonding and celebration

    • Stick to no more than three objectives

  • Determine participants

    • Does this event include teams other than sales? This can change the shape of your objectives and agenda

  • Send Save-the-Date to the team(s)

  • Invite customer or external speaker(s) depending on objectives

Formalize your agenda

  • Empower managers and functional leaders to facilitate their own breakout sessions

    • Ensure objectives and learnings in breakouts are in-service of your overall event objectives

  • Send survey to attendees

    • Captures a baseline metric that aligns with objectives

    • Informs topics you’ll address

  • Potential sessions:

    • Review of successes

    • Awards and recognition

    • Cross-functional team bonding

    • Breakout sessions (lead by functional lead)

    • Q & A with sales reps

    • Q & A with customer

    • Group work (can be in breakouts)

    • GTM (Go-to-Market):

    • Product innovation and roadmap

    • SWOT analysis

    • Skill development

    • Don't forget to include planned break time

Prep post-event survey

  • Align survey questions to objectives so you can measure against the objectives. Was the team about to do what you wanted them to do?

Logistics to make your life easier

  • Establish teams and workgroups

  • Hold pre-brief, expectations setting, and or hype sessions

  • Order swag, prizes, branded items to make the event shine

  • Require rehearsals for speakers or anything logistically complex

  • Require presentations, facilitation instructions, content be ready two weeks in advance of the event:

    • Distribute any pre-work (knowledge that will benefit attendees on-site) at least one week in advance

  • Delegate dining, transportation, and AV logistics to the subject matter experts on your team


At Event

  • Set expectations around computer and screen use. Most sessions should be no computers

  • Test AV with speakers ahead of their respective sessions

  • Start and end sessions on time

  • Drink more water than you think is humanly possible

  • Used mixed media (videos, Slack screenshots, customer testimonials) to share stories in compelling ways

  • Play music to create “atmosphere”

  • Provide surprise snacks


Post-Event:

Gather feedback

  • Immediately after the event

    • Send survey

    • Send customers or guests thank you notes

  • One month after event:

    • Ask for success stories based on learnings

    • Share these success stories with larger org

Evaluate

  • Review new opportunities and pipeline 

  • Use your methodology or tools (conversational listening tool, LMS, CMS) to capture progress against objectives


Other Guidance

  • Getting early leadership alignment on objectives (what the team(s) should be able to do post-event) is essential to the success of the event

  • Don’t try and cram too much into your event; humans can only retain so much information at a given time

  • Avoid “talk-at” sessions (people talking to a slide deck) when possible

    • Proper lead time and planning will allow you to be creative and will make the experience better for learners