How to Host a Successful Hybrid Sales Kickoff Event

Pandemic restrictions may be easing, but not everyone’s in a rush to get back to the office.

With 52% of employees looking for a hybrid work model post-pandemic, it’s clear that many aren’t comfortable with the idea of face-to-face interaction just yet. But where does that leave sales teams?

A sales kickoff event is when the sales department comes together to strategize, network, and set their agenda for the coming year. This year, sales managers face a dilemma - whether to host this crucial conference in-person, keep it virtual, or adopt a hybrid model.

The benefits of a hybrid sales event

In an uncertain business climate, managers need to stay flexible and empower their employees by giving them more choices around how they work. A hybrid approach is an ideal compromise, providing opportunities to meet in-person while including options for those who aren’t willing, or able, to take that step. 

From the point of view of sales managers, hybrid events present a cost-effective option with fewer logistical challenges. There’s no need to book out entire hotels, arrange transportation, or schedule after-hours social activities for a crowd. The in-person component is arranged on a much smaller scale, saving manager’s time, expense, and stress.

Giving employees more ways to attend also means that more of them will attend. Hybrid events expand your audience, boosting engagement and reducing absenteeism. It’s harder for a salesperson to excuse themselves if all they have to do is switch on their laptop and log in.

4 sales strategies for a kickass kickoff

1. Get creative

Hybrid events aren’t simply a matter of setting up a webcam to livestream a speech, they’re an opportunity to play around with the typical event format to keep virtual and in-person attendees fully engaged.

Mix up your content by exploring different formats, methods of delivery, and structure. In-person talks, virtual presentations, surprise guests, large groups, breakout sessions - there’s lots of ways to switch it up and build an exciting agenda.

2. Unite your audience

Sales kickoffs are designed to inform and motivate sales teams. To do this, they rely on connection, communication, and relationship building. If you have sales reps attending from other offices, this may be the first chance they’ve had to get to know their colleagues. 

Fostering those crucial connections means uniting the online and in-person audience. This can be done through interactive activities, small group discussions, and post-presentation mini-meetings. 

Keep the networking going after-hours with structured social events such as a trivia session or team treasure hunt where virtual attendees must partner with in-person colleagues to chase down clues. Again, this is an opportunity to get creative, have fun, and encourage team bonding.

3. Keep it simple

When planning a hybrid event, it’s easy to get hung-up on technology, looking for the latest platforms and apps to dazzle attendees. But unless you have the IT department on speed dial, this can create more problems than it solves

Not everyone attending virtually will be a tech whizz. They need easy access to the event with clear instructions, reliable connectivity, and accessible materials. They don’t need animated displays, elaborate 3D graphics, or AI assistants. Work within the capabilities of your department and focus on content, not computing.

4. Build buzz

Create a sense of anticipation around your kickoff to boost engagement and build excitement. This should involve both internal and external channels, reaching sales reps through office notice boards, company e-newsletters, corporate social media channels, and any other avenues where they regularly connect. 

Selling is what sales managers do and a kickoff should be treated like any other campaign - laying the groundwork to generate interest, teasing agenda items, and promoting them across multiple channels.

The bottom line

With most employees now accustomed to a more flexible working day, analysts predict that the hybrid model is here to stay. In this environment, sales managers must remain nimble to overcome the uncertainties of the post-pandemic business landscape. 

Keeping track of how your staff are performing can help. Employee productivity monitoring solution Prodoscore offers sales managers complete visibility into their team’s daily activities. The software logs activity within CRM platforms, office suites, and other tools to give each employee a productivity score. Prodoscore also provides qualitative insights  so managers can see at a glance whether teams are fully engaging with key campaigns and messaging. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a demonstration.

How will visibility impact your business?