14 Items to Influence the Agenda of Your 2018 Sales (and Marketing) Kickoff

Is your revenue plan and go-to-market strategy locked and loaded for 2018? Is your Content Marketing strategy aligned to your sales process? Below are 14 items to consider for your sales and marketing kickoff meeting so you can have an amazing 2018.

Setting Business Goals and Growth Strategy

How are you setting and communicating your business goals and growth (sales and marketing) strategy for 2018? Are you gunning for market share and using aggressive pricing to drive volume; or are you strictly focused on measured and highly profitable growth? Is it consistent with the maturity of your business and expectations of the owners?

Company Mission and Vision

Is the company mission statement and vision clear and attainable? Is it tied directly to the growth goals of the organization? Or, is it a lofty set of concepts that might feel unattainable to those in the ranks?

Regardless, the mission and vision are enduring multi-year concepts that should be reviewed in the sales kickoff, but not the extensive focus of a sales kickoff agenda. The vision and mission govern the entire company’s behavior, so it’s likely implicit in the tone and all communications.

Value Propositions and Key Message Points

Do you have clearly defined value propositions and key message points? Is your team leading with these statements, or are they focused on educating the customers about current market conditions and sharing best practices on how to solve their problems?

In my opinion, value propositions and key message points are important, but should only be used under 3 conditions:

  1. Only when directly asked – “why are you better/different?”
  2. When you’re in the later stages of a deal and you’re up against the competition.
  3. To inspire your Content Marketing strategy and mission statement

Want to debate me? Please reach out!

Sales Process Design

Do you have a well defined sales process? Are the expectations set? Does the team know how to turn inbound leads into qualified prospects – and then usher those deals through well-defined Opportunity stages? For example, does the team know the exact methods to use and milestones to hit to move a deal forward?

Are pipeline stages clearly defined like the process below?

Prospect > Engaged > Consult > Negotiate > Win > Retain.

Once the deal is closed, is the hand-off process to client services clearly defined? In so many cases, clients feel the disconnect between sales and client services because they find themselves explaining the same information again. Is your CRM the single-source of truth and client insights?

Operating Rhythm

Have you set a rhythm for the team? Do they know that deals (Opportunities) should be updated in the CRM by 5:00 PM Wednesday so the sales ops team can pull the status and project the weekly forecast? Does the team know that every Friday morning there is a pipeline review that inspects the status of each Opportunity and looks for deals stuck in a stage?

Reporting

Are the reports that are being reviewed clear and transparent. Does everyone know exactly which reports and dashboards are most important and where those dashboards live? Have you provided an easy and obvious link to get to the reports and dashboards? Are they clearly labeled so you can refer exactly to which report gets the most attention and inspection?

Team Structure

Is your team structure clear and does everyone know exactly what’s expected of them? Does each member have a role description and specific KPIs so they know exactly how they’re going to be coached and evaluated?

Quota Assignment

Are you going to share the specific activity path your team can use to attain quota or are you going give them the number and tell them to figure it out?

Giving your team an activity roadmap can demystify the shock of getting a big number handed down to them. Helping them see the pace – month by month – adding up to the total can alleviate a lot of stress in the beginning of the year.

Setting New Business Revenue Targets

Is new business seen as a plug to reach the top line or a key driver of your growth strategy? Are you planning from the top down or bottom up? Below are formulas for each approach.

Top Down

Total Revenue Target – (Retained Revenue + Growth of Current Accounts) = New Business Target

Bottom Up

New Business Target + Retained Revenue + Growth of Current Accounts = Total Revenue Target

Both approaches have their merits. The top down approach shifts more of the burden to the CFO and client services team to drive an aggressive growth strategy from current accounts. The bottom up approach shifts the burden to the sales leaders to select a target that’s aligned with their current and future team resources. Be careful of sales leaders that are eternally optimistic or those that sandbag their numbers to underpromise and overdeliver.

Marketing Strategy and Programs

Is your marketing strategy 100% supportive of the organizational growth strategy? Is it tied explicitly to your business goals? Are there any marketing programs being activated that do not perfectly map back to your business goals?

If there are experimental marketing programs, is that activity being managed in a discretionary bucket? If it can be measured and it works, will it earn a place in the program possibly later in the year or in 2019? If not, then shut it down and dump it from your plan.

Ideal Client Profile

Have you identified your Ideal Client Profile? Not only by firmographic information (industry and title) but also by their behaviors and motivations? Their triggers and touch points? Have you developed personas?

If so, how many persona profiles do you have? I’d suggest no more than three. Personas are great because they become shorthand for the sales and marketing team. Personas suggest the best way to approach and position a conversation.

For example, if you have a “Budget Barbara” on the hook, you’ll want to lead with metrics and ROI. In comparison, a “Sammy Strategy” will want to hear about making a big impact and owning the market.

Theme Development

Have you created a theme for your marketing strategy and programs? Themes are important because they get the team to rally around a key idea or concept. If you can name it, you can talk about it and reinforce it.

Does the theme govern all of your Content Marketing and sales activity? For example, is your organization attempting to earn the a position as a trusted advisor? If so, then every single touch point should have that in mind. This means that the prospecting team will approach their outreach with a focus on solving problems and the needs of the customer and not just pushing for a demonstration jammed with product features and benefits.

Focus on Audience Building vs. Prospect Persuasion

What’s your position on audience development and building lasting relationships? Will a Content Marketing program do the job or will you leave it up to the sales team? Are you going to continue pushing product and forcing good prospects through a 90-day pipeline — only to be abandoned if there’s no current Opportunity?

Or, is your focus on leveraging educational content consistently delivered over time to build an audience and establish lasting relationships? In my opinion, great relationships pay off over years while pitching product and looking for “in-market” prospects only limits your potential.

Team Building Activity

Lastly, have you set up a team building activity? I’m a little up in the air on this one. Does your team work for your organization because they love the business and the people? Or, would they rather hit the ground running and not waste time having forced fun? Whatever it is, hopefully it’s organic and enjoyable…and does not feel forced.

Conclusion

Are you ready to hit the ground running in 2018 because you built a solid plan and have the best sales kickoff agenda ever? If you want more information or clarification on any of the items and opinions above, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Have a great 2018!

© 2019 MADISON, MICHIGAN & MARKET