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Date:  09/11/2020

How to turn your 2021 sales kick-off conference into a motivating and impactful virtual event

image of zoom call

Just as a live event needs to keep an audience captivated, a virtual event often has to work harder to engage an audience on a platform that has so many distractions. With 2021 sales kick-offs likely to take place as a digital experience, engagement needs to be front and centre. So how do you host a virtual sales kick-off that is motivating and impactful? From immersive virtual environments to interactive workshops we have picked out the key elements to keep your audience engaged throughout.

Dig deep into your sales meeting’s
goals and objectives

Understanding your sales kick-off meeting goals and objectives is fundamental to planning your virtual event. What do you want your audience to go away feeling? Rewarded, motivated, inspired? What does the sales conference need to achieve? Greater revenue through more sales is a given, but the longevity of your message and colleagues building connections may also be a key objective.   When mapping out the objectives for your event, this will in turn help you to create an agenda that satisfies the objectives and will also allow you to measure the ROI of the virtual event.

Type writer with paper printed "goals"

Choose a sales kick-off theme that fits your objectives and your audience

A good theme can be carried through every touchpoint of the digital experience and will help to reinforce the message of your 2021 virtual sales kick-off. It will set the tone, shape the agenda and create the basis of your session content. When choosing an event theme, keep it on brand, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Think of a theme that motivates, inspires and is forward-thinking, challenging the sales team to think differently in the future.

Create a sales kick-off meeting agenda with different bite-sized content formats

Your virtual event agenda, if laid out correctly, should send your sales reps back out feeling inspired, motivated and ready to sell. It should create the opportunity for them to voice their opinions, challenges and frustrations, and help them feel more connected to the team. When consuming content digitally we have a much shorter attention span, therefore sessions should be limited to at most 30 minutes each. Remember that even though it’s virtual, it should still take a journey through a beginning, middle and end.  Maintaining the energy throughout the day is important to drive engagement, so schedule in a keynote speaker or energiser sessions to keep the audience’s attention.

Example sessions to include in your
sales kick-off meeting

  • Welcome
  • Year in review
  • Breakout sessions
  • Lunch – aim to enjoy this as a team
  • Keynote – an inspiring or energising session
  • Networking or teambuilding breaks
  • A competitive review
  • Training sessions
  • Reward and recognition – a look at the best performers
  • Content recap
  • Closing speech
  • Live streamed entertainment and Happy Hour

Create an event registration website

To deliver a more seamless and personalised virtual event for your sales team, create an event registration website. Brand the site to your theme and hold all the information around agenda and any details needed for the event. Build in teaser video content, and store session recordings for the sales team to watch post-event on-demand. Think about questions you can ask at registration that may help guide the format of the sessions, from content themes attendees may want included through to their favourite drink, which could then be included in a home delivery prior to the virtual event.  

Deliver a creative comms campaign to excite attendees prior to the event

A virtual sales kick-off shouldn’t be a stand-alone event. Create a full comms campaign around the event that will excite and inform the teams on the lead up and inspire and motivate them post event. Sticking to the theme of the virtual sales kick-off, create content in a variety of formats, from video, to email to home-dropped teaser boxes.

Curate an immersive virtual environment

Take your virtual sales kick-off beyond a traditional Zoom meeting and create a more immersive virtual environment. Presenters can be live broadcast in from a studio surrounded with the event branding and virtual staging, or networking booths can be created to give the feeling of a live event. Attendees can follow a virtual journey through the welcome lobby, into the event space and after the sessions to a different space for a celebratory awards ceremony.

Increase audience engagement with good production and interactive moments

At the beginning of the event communicate how the audience can interact with content, whether it’s raising virtual hands, using chat boxes, or via an event app. Investing in the production of the conference will help support engagement. Create a TV style news broadcast, with graphics, animations and video content ensuring your event theme is fully woven in. Interact with your audience, mentioning them by name and ask questions to involve them and to start a conversation. Some presenters may be used to striding a stage at a live event, but struggle to translate their presentation to a small screen. Invest in speaker training where required to ensure all your presenters have the tools to captivate.   Plan a customer Q&A and top performer best practice sharing as ways to motivate the team for the coming year.

Ideas for increasing audience engagement
for a virtual sales meeting

  • Tell a story – build in a narrative that encompasses the event
  • Build in energiser and team building sessions
  • Encourage participation with live polls, live chat and Q&As
  • Create small group breakouts
  • Build an immersive virtual environment such as staging, exhibition booths and sponsorship areas
  • Hire entertainment for post-event networking drinks
  • Send a package to the audiences’ homes for them to open during a session
  • Create shared F&B opportunities throughout the virtual event
  • Engage attendees with a common purpose

Create virtual group networking opportunities

With sales meetings usually being centred around human interaction and physical connection it’s key to ensure that the agenda is strategically broken up to allow for the team to build connections. These could be formed around best practice sharing, idea formulating or just plain fun!   Create separate breakouts for teams, mixing them up throughout the day. Consider ice breakers like escape rooms, achieving a virtual Guinness World Record together or a round of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. For coffee and lunch breaks move teams into small breakout rooms of 4-6 people to encourage them to get to know each other better. 

Build in elements of reward and recognition

Nothing helps to motivate more than building in sessions that recognise the hard work of the sales team. Building in a virtual awards ceremony at the end of the sales kick-off meeting provides entertainment to engage the team, and a chance for everyone to have a beer together after the session. Why not post a thank you gift to each attendee that they can open together during the session? Or include some bubbles with each package, that they can pop open together and enjoy throughout the virtual ceremony.  Consider including elements of pre-recorded entertainment such as a band or performers to keep everyone engaged throughout.   

Don’t let your sales kick-off meeting finish when the participant closes their browser

Plan to create an event legacy with good content. Your sales team will have had to absorb an enormous amount of information during the virtual meeting, so therefore strategic pieces of content post-event will help act as a reminder to them of what they learnt. Package it into different formats, from video content taking them through the key learnings of the event, an email campaign focusing on key areas of the strategy or an online tool for shared resources.  Ensure the follow-up is personalised to the individual and provides the content most valuable to them and their sales objectives.

Measure how your audience engages
with your content

The benefit of virtual events is it can be easier to analyse recordings, on-demand content and communications for how effective they were at engaging the audience. Post your virtual event, analyse the streamed recording for when an attendee joins or drops off and look at if this is across particular sessions. Do certain sessions get more engagement with questions being asked through the chat box? Did participants engagement fade after twenty minutes on a session or later? Did they read their teaser emails and do the actions required of them?  This is all important data to understand what was effective at engaging the audience and how it can be improved for next time.

At Pure Communications Group we have an events team, a creative team, producers and technical managers who are experts in delivering virtual events. If you’d like our support in creating and delivering a virtual sales kick-off in line with your objectives, then do drop us a line and we’d be happy to help.