Best practices for virtual sales kickoffs

The whole team is thrilled for 2020 to be over, but you’re still stuck in Zoom.

If you’re feeling the fatigue just thinking about planning your annual sales kickoff virtually, chances are that you just need a little help refreshing your programming to make the most out of your time in 2021.

Happily has produced thousands of hours of virtual team meetings for startups with small founding teams to global tech giants with tens of thousands of employees. We’ve taken enough creative risks and made enough mistakes to promise you that your virtual meeting can be really great and maybe - gasp, dare we say it?? - better than ever.

Welcome new faces

It’s tough joining a team these days, so designing a special experience for the noobs can go a long way:

  1. Create a special networking session before the SKO that has no agenda except to help your newest co-workers forge relationships as part of the “quarantine cohort”.
  2. Build a special webpage that features your new coworkers, boost their visibility just like you would a keynote speaker - with a picture, bio, and links to their social channels.
  3. In breakout moments when you’re doing a round of intros, ask people to share their name, department, location and how long they’ve been at the company. Play a little airhorn sound when a new team member pipes up.

Story-driven updates

Virtual events will end up as a recording you can simply press play on, so the narrative quality of your experience is more important than ever.

  1. Whenever a speaker takes the mainstage, coach them into starting with a story. It’s the fastest way to draw people into a shared space despite the physical distance.
  2. Finesse each presentation to have a clear beginning, middle, and end that supports one main call to action with new plot points presented within 90 seconds to three minutes.
  3. Don’t be shy about using voice over narration on video footage or image-driven slides, we’re all a bit tired of the talking head. Camera switch to close-ups of your speaker’s face at emotional moments to underscore a point and leave the rest of your updates to graphs and video.

Synchronize your global team

Curb your desire to bring everyone at exactly the same time and instead embrace a regular work day schedule on the regional level.

  1. Work with a local MC and moderator to introduce pre-recorded segments live and interact with attendees in real-time.
  2. Be willing to support your MC to speak in their native language and be prepared to live caption and subtitle pre-recorded videos in English.
  3. For times when you just can’t avoid a live sync across time zones, ask your team what time they prefer - you might be surprised at their answers!