18 sales kickoff themes that actually work

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Sales kickoff themes help presenters find the center of their message and get teams to find common ground to collaborate. A sales kickoff theme unifies your plans into one track toward your goals. While a lot organizers treat the theme as a gimmicky add-on, a theme can actually be a very powerful tool for retention of information.

According to the Sales Executive Council, sales reps forget up to 87% of the training content they receive just one month after their sales kickoff. It has been clearly shown that an entertained audience is an engaged audience. From boardrooms to TED talks, the ability to entertain your audience largely determines how effective your presentation will be. You can use a variety of methods to increase engagement, such as storytellingconversational presenting, and of course, a great sales kickoff theme.

In addition to providing entertainment, a sales kickoff theme should also focus your event on one emphasis: Celebration, Motivation, Provocation, or Information. The single biggest mistake that sales kickoff experts like Tom Snyder at VorsightBP identify is that most organizers don’t focus on only one emphasis. They want to cover everything and as a result their sales kickoff ends up unfocused and ineffective. Tom explains that while, yes, you can touch on all of themes above, it’s important to choose only one as your main driver. To help you choose a sales kickoff theme, we’ve rounded up the 19 best themes and divided them up by emphasis. 

Once you’ve picked a theme from below, be sure to download our free Sales Kickoff Checklist to help you get started.

Celebration themes

When morale is high and you’ve got big wins set your kickoff to appreciate and celebrate:

1. Portraits of success

Celebrate high performers by letting them shoot DIY videos, reenactments and spoofs. This provides a fun turnaround from the expected speeches from big influencers and executives. 

2. Leading the pack

Emphasize how your company is or is becoming the leader, how you got there, and how others are following in your footsteps. To avoid just tooting your own horn try to focus on leadership over simply gloating. 

3. Beat (competitor name)

This is always a good provocative theme. Emphasize how you plan to hook a bigger share of customers and beat your biggest competitor. Use competitions that require participation and teamwork to add to the competitive atmosphere.

Motivation and provocation themes

Motivation and provocation themes are good to jolt a lackluster performance, but shouldn’t be used if your team is already doing a good job as it can come off as insulting.

4. Better. Stronger. Faster.

This sales kickoff theme is popular because it’s effective. Steve W. Martin and American Meetings Inc (AMI) list it as a strong theme and so do countless other sales kickoff roundups. It’s full of opportunities for you and your presenters to discuss how you can improve different aspects of the sales process rather than reinvent them.

5. We own this.

Yes, you do. Belief is half the battle won. You win the other half with specific strategies and tactics but starting with confidence is important. Just remember not to make this one too ra-ra and keep it honest. Good metaphors to use here are depictions of owning housing, investment properties, and even parts of a city. Custom Monopoly boards work well.

6. Elevate!

When your salesforce morale is low you need bring things up a notch – or ten. This sales kickoff theme is all about showing your team that, while you’re not sitting on the ground, you do need to gain some altitude. It puts things into perspective and gives hope for a low morale team.

7. Getting it done

Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan is powerful because it makes no excuses. If you feel your sales team is a no-nonsense kind of group, then this will really resonate with them. Throw out the excuses and just be honest and forthright.

8. In it to win it

Bare your teeth and square your shoulders. You can easily fire up morale and determination with this classic sports sales kickoff theme. 

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9. Purpose and passion

Research shows that human beings seek purpose, it’s what fires us up. This sales kickoff theme taps into this and reminds them why they love what they do. You can’t skimp on this theme, if you’re going to show them what passion looks like you have to go all in. Try to emulate the saying, “how you do anything is how you do everything.” 

10. Breaking barriers

Recognize the hurdles because they are there, and they are difficult. Your salesforce will appreciate the honesty in this, but be sure to then show everyone the tools they need to to break through these obstacles to get to their wins. 

Information themes

The rest of these themes are all about information to help refine your sales team.

11. Charting the course

Everyone needs a workflow, but you don’t all have to use just one. Provide choices for everyone to dance to their own tune, albeit an organized and proven tune. Everyone is unique and a company that doesn’t stifle people tends to perform better.

12. A world of opportunities

Is the company expanding? Are there new partnerships or even mergers? Bring your salesforce into the big picture and show them how their world will be expanding. Using a world map template in your Prezi presentation is perfect for this one.

13. Sharing solutions

If participation is the name of the game then this theme is perfect. Use surveys to get best practices from your sales team and then present the findings to help both your beginners and veterans discover and rediscover the top tips and tricks.

14. Creating customer connections

Marketing has become an online social activity. This sales kickoff is all about harnessing your social community and making word-of-mouth into your marketing army. Show how customers discover you, interact with you, and eventually buy from you. Connect sales to the rest of the company.

15. Champions by design

As they say, champions aren’t born, they’re trained. So design a few sales training modules that reps can go through to improve their skills. Think of the training sequences in your favorite Hercules or Batman movies and emulate that.

16. Customer focus

Set your campaign for the year on providing customers with what they want and need: web content, guides, even funny videos they can use as social currency. This sales kickoff theme is all about being useful.

17. Exceed expectations

If your company is doing well, then it’s time to look beyond increasing leads and conversions. Everyone knows that more sales are better so focusing on that is redundant. Instead try to strategize on surprising your customers with extras. Make it fun and let ideas flow from all your reps.

18. Swing for the fences!

A classic sales kickoff theme that highlights strong hits, teamwork, and strategy. Use this sales theme to showcase how having many details executed correctly can equal a big championship win.

Setting a great sales kickoff theme is only the first step in ramping up your sales team. To ensure that you’re being effective with more than just 13% of your sales team, it’s important to get all the details right. If you want to learn about all the aspects that make a great sales kickoff be sure to download our Sales Kickoff Checklist below.

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