A sales kickoff meeting is your chance to get everyone on your sales team in one place to create a sense of unity. Many sales professionals think of these meetings as a review of numbers, products and marketing plans. However, Lynne Zaledonis, an SVP at Salesforce, says they can be so much more.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Zaledonis' four elements to ensure your sales team is motivated, empowered and focused on the right priorities all year long.

1. Inspiration. Zaledonis says that a key priority for any kickoff is getting pumped for an incredible upcoming sales year. To accomplish this, inspiration must run through the entire kickoff, from start to finish. Inspiration can come in many forms. You will most likely have senior leaders there to speak and engage with reps. But the motivation doesn't all have to come directly from the company. An outside speaker can really bring a fresh perspective and pique the curiosity of attendees.

2. Strategic planning. A kickoff is all about planning—communicating the plans and goals for the year ahead and plotting the paths to success. According to Zaledonis, devising a kickoff starts with identifying the key goals. Ask the question, "What do you want attendees to walk away with?" Prioritize what may be most important, especially in terms of looking back at the previous year and sharing goals. An ideal agenda will include some must-haves such as engaging breakout sessions, networking events and panels. And don't forget to have some fun, adds Zaledonis.

3. Enablement. Sales reps are only as successful as your enablement and support—and a sales kickoff is ground zero for delivering the information and training at one time. Remember that any presentations and content should be interactive and designed for information retention, notes Zaledonis. Look for ways to involve customers in the event, from live panels to individual sessions or conversations. Their perspectives and input are invaluable to informing sales reps on not only what customers want, but how they can do their jobs better.

4. Future learning. A successful sales kickoff isn't one that ends after everyone goes home. Attendees should be inspired and ready to hit the ground running. However, Zaledonis says that even with a keen focus on quality over quantity and delivering more interactive sessions at the kickoff, there's a stark reality: People forget things. You can do several things to help mitigate this. Capture all of the sessions on video for redistribution or create a one-page cheat sheets to distill the content and information.

Don't miss the mark on your next sales kickoff. Be sure to incorporate inspiration, strategic planning, enablement and future learning into your meeting. By taking time to map out a productive event, you set the course for a successful year.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lynne Zaledonis is SVP, product marketing at Salesforce. She is an experienced cloud leader and marketer with a diverse background of more than 19 years in CRM solutions and sales.