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Sales Kickoff

Ideas for An Engaging Sales Kickoff

  • Thursday December 9, 2021
  • Leadership   

Sales kickoffs are important. Whether held virtually or in person, they are an opportunity to help a team see the full ‘meaning’ of their work. 


Are you looking into innovative and exciting kickoff event ideas? When you create a kickoff event, it brings together the team to get them energized to make sales. However you decide to host it, your kickoff event ideas need to get employees raring to go. With the virtual world a new normal in business, you might be wondering how to ensure you do this right.


Thankfully, there are many ways to hold a virtual kickoff event if you choose to go that way. You can collaborate and build an environment of enthusiasm whether team members are in the office, at home, or both. 


Done well, sales kickoffs become moments when our strengths, interests, and values are brought together to make us feel deeply fulfilled at work.


We have collected tips and best practices to help you be intentional about your virtual sales kickoff:


(1) Help team members to connect with purpose
Stanford University researchers found that even if employees are low in ‘passion’ for their work, employees who are high in purpose outperform every cohort.


(2) Leverage external perspectives
According to Northwestern Kellogg research, including outsider perspectives led teams to generate 30% more and better ideas.


(3) Be careful of simply hiring a ‘speaker’
University of Pennsylvania Wharton research reminds us that one-way conversations – whether virtual or in-person – reduce energy in a room and have low retention rate.


(4) (Re)generate bonds and create valued social connection
Washington University research shows that interactivity at work leads to not just better well-being, but measurably higher productivity and performance.


Can Virtual Functional Sales Kickoffs be as Effective as In-Person Experiences?


You likely have kickoff event ideas from back when everyone was in the same office together. These might not be appropriate for a virtual audience. At the same time, a digital event can be just as effective as one in-person. In some cases, virtual kickoffs can be even more useful. There’s no reason to stop hosting them even if you can’t do it at an office.


Make sure not to take the typical sales kickoff and just move it online. Rethink the kickoff to make it a digital event from start to finish. Team-building and learning can happen online. You’ll just be remote as you do things like celebrating wins, strengthening connections, and getting people inspired for the weeks ahead.


Benefits of a Virtual Kickoff


When you’re thinking about kickoff event ideas, and you want to handle the process digitally, there are a ton of benefits. It might turn out that going remote actually turns out to be better than having an in-person event. We’ll walk through a few of the most important events below.


  • Virtual kickoffs are going to be less expensive than hosting an in-person event.
  • It’s easier to record and distribute materials and presentations when the kickoff is remote.
  • There’s no need to worry about travel time when the team members are logging in from home.
  • Technology can be used for engagement through games, polls, feedback, and surveys. This provides real-time feedback and interaction.
  • The lower cost of facilitating these events means you can have more of them in the same period of time.


Things to Consider for Virtual Kickoff Meetings


As you work through kickoff event ideas, there are a few things you need to consider. These are going to be different than in-person events, so the way you host them can also vary. However, some things can be incorporated to ensure participants and hosts have a good time without getting overwhelmed in the process.


One of the benefits of virtual kickoff event ideas is that you can incorporate them over a longer period. Rather than having a huge number of sessions across a single day, you can break things up for everyone. This can be useful for everyone involved. Presenter fatigue is likely to be less of an issue, and those with diverse locations have a chance to be involved.


When it comes to virtual kickoff event ideas, consider that a digital environment leads to the need for more concise messaging. People can get distracted and off focus in a virtual situation, so keeping messaging brief is important. However, there are other methods to ensure people feel included.


Rather than only having a speaker go over a presentation or research, give the audience a chance to participate in what’s going on. When you give workers the ability to apply and practice what they are learning, it keeps them engaged. Plus, it’s more likely to stick if a worker has the chance to do something on their own.


Of course, when it comes to kickoff event ideas, you also want to think about the appropriate type of programming to introduce. Make sure you choose things that will build morale and leave the audience inspired. As with an in-person kickoff event, you want to celebrate past success while motivating the team for the coming year.


While there can be all sorts of virtual events for a remote or hybrid team, special sessions should be created for sales kickoff events.


Virtual Kickoff Ideas


Now we come to virtual kickoff event ideas that you can use for your company. One great option is to include themed events. Choose something fun and relevant, share the theme, and make the theme a true part of the proceedings. Create virtual backgrounds for your video conferencing software and have a good time getting creative.


A theme and adherence to it can make everyone feel more connected. Another option is to create playlists related to the theme. Have fun choosing other ways to weave in the main focus of the kickoff event.


Another kickoff event idea to use is the inclusion of gamification and prizes. Everyone loves to play games, and it can engage those who might otherwise be quiet. Having a few prizes for winners makes the event a lot of fun. Since people will be more likely to participate, they’ll retain more information and details.


Finally, make sure the whole team is involved. That means the leaders should be a part of things too. There are many reasons to incorporate leadership into your kickoff event ideas. However, the most important is that employees are more likely to follow the lead of their superiors. Besides, if you create a great event, everyone will want to be a part of things, no matter their role at the company.



Teamraderie offers inspirational research-based team experiences that add value to kickoff meetings. We offer a format in which ‘outside speakers’ lead highly-interactive discussions with your team in a short-burst, narrative-centric format. 


Here are the three ideas to build purpose and motivation at your kickoff event:



(1) Invite legendary chess player Garry Kasparov to your kickoff event

In the Teamraderie “Power of Perspective” experience, Garry Kasparov leads an interactive discussion with your team in which you use the game of chess as a way of thinking more strategically about your work. This experience is often used to reinforce a kickoff theme of ‘change the game’.


Team Building with Garry Kasparov

Learn more



(2) Bring world famous gymnast Nadia Comaneci to your kickoff event

In the Teamraderie “Reimagine Perfection” experience, Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner lead an interactive discussion with your team in which the fundamentals for success in gymnastics are applied to your work. This experience is often used to reinforce a theme of ‘cross-functional discipline’.


Team Building with Nadia Comaneci

Learn more



(3)Let NASCAR’s legendary pit crew coach drive-in to your kickoff event

In the Teamraderie “Nascar” experience, Andy Papathanassiou explains how he reinvented the pitstop in NASCAR and created a highly functioning organization. You can compare ‘lessons from the pitstop’ to how you collaborate with colleagues and customers.

Virtual Team Building - The NASCAR Experience

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We have removed all the complexity that might be involved in planning another piece of your kickoff event. Whether your kickoff is virtual or in-person, we join via video meeting on the date and time you need. 


Teamraderie experiences will help your team members strengthen connection to your company and purpose, see beyond personal quotas and targets and tap into intrinsic factors that drive performance.  

Kickoff Event Experiences

Could you gain perspective by talking to the world’s most legendary chess player?

Led by chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, this experience aims to increase energy and motivation through an engaging conversation. During the experience, you will learn the essential thinking behind chess, discuss how human thinking is evolving based on the use of AI, and uncover how chess theory can teach you to learn from your mistakes.   

Don’t miss this opportunity to take part in a new renaissance in human productivity, leaving you with new insights, increased motivation, and a renowned perspective.

$20,000 for up to 100 people
45 min

Do you need to expand your flexibility, agility, and persistence to win?

Led by Olympic Gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner, this experience aims to expand your flexible learning mindset through an engaging conversation. During the experience, you will discuss actionable tips for taking bold steps and keeping focus and will learn how to prepare for anything rather than everything.

Don’t miss this opportunity to flex your learning mindset, leaving you with new insights, unlocking your agility and discovering how to find perfection amidst chaos.

$4,500 for up to 100 people
45 min

Does your team need to evolve how it collaborates with each other – or adjacent functions?

Led by NASCAR’s first pit crew coach, this experience aims to improve collaboration and introduce flexibility mindsets through an interactive activity and discussion. During the experience, you will learn how pit crews collaborate to balance speed and accuracy to secure team victories together. Using a kit containing a NASCAR toy car provided by Teamraderie, you will perform two timed pit crew trials and discuss how to apply these lessons at work.   

Don’t miss this opportunity to improve how your team’s work together, leaving you with new insights, a feeling of camaraderie, and a revitalized team spirit.

$1,500 for up to 100 people
55 min
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