It has been over a year since most of us began working remotely, connecting with our teams and colleagues virtually – and, by now, Zoom fatigue is real. Many of us are finding it hard to concentrate or commit to yet another virtual meeting. This is particularly hard for those in sales who may be used to meeting with clients and prospects in person or traveling to tradeshows and events to build new connections and fortify existing relationships.
With this in mind, here are five ways to help ensure your next virtual sales meeting, kickoff, or event is not just another meeting taxing your team’s energy, but, rather, an engaging, fun, interactive experience that drives results.
1. Engage Your Teams When Building Your Virtual Event Agenda
Attendees tend to have more skin in the game if they have a say in the agenda and developing the content.
You can do this a couple of different ways.
2. Gamification Is Key
It is no secret that most sales professionals are hypercompetitive and love to win!
Use this to your advantage by incorporating some fun, friendly competition into your kickoffs.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
3. We All Need Balance – Break Content into Manageable Amounts
We often see virtual events that are way too long or run over multiple days for many hours each day. This can be exhausting and defeat your objectives, which likely are to motivate, engage, and align your sales force.
Consider breaking up your program into multiple days and bite-sized chunks. So, instead of a three-day, eight-hours-per-day virtual meeting, why not break it up over a week and have three or four hours in the morning – giving everyone back their afternoons to decompress and get some work done.
If you have global teams, you will also want to ensure you are being inclusive and consider varying time zones. Having a happy hour at 5pm Eastern is likely not the best time for, say, someone in Japan who would be having breakfast. In this scenario, you could schedule two separate networking/social events to accommodate the various time zones. Alternatively, find a more neutral activity, such as a coffee tasting or trivia hour, that would work no matter what the time zone.
4. Create a Space for Collaboration, Networking, and Fun!
Your virtual sales meeting will not be successful if it is all content and talking heads. You MUST create space and time for people to let loose and connect with one another.
Easy ways to do this are to create breakout rooms where you can split people into teams to network or discuss a particular topic (this can be non-work-related – e.g., discuss what you have enjoyed about lockdown).
Delegate parts of your agenda to various teams to present. This way they get to work on the content together ahead of time and everyone will hear from a diverse group of voices vs. just leadership, for example.
Consider having fun events for people to look forward to at the end of each day or as the culmination of your meeting. This could include a virtual live performance from a well-known musician, a virtual cocktail demo or wine tasting, or even a virtual trivia hour led by a professional gameshow host.
5. Bridge the Online with Something Offline
Everyone loves to receive packages in the mail. Why not bridge your virtual event with a physical care package sent to your attendees ahead of time?
Items could include fun drinks and snacks to keep them fed and hydrated for the duration of the program. You may also want to include some branded merchandise and swag, such as a nice hoodie and trendy office mug they can keep on their desk at home.
When in doubt, it is always fun to include something they’ll have to use during the event. To make it extra special, a heartfelt note from leadership, including some teasers for the event, is always a nice added touch.
The virtual meeting is here to stay. Even when we can get back to meeting in person (hopefully by 2022) there will still be a need for virtual/hybrid meetings and experiences. Fortunately, there are many new ideas being shared daily, so do not limit your creativity when it comes to planning an engaging experience for your sales teams.
Loren Maisels, CMP, is the founder and president of LOMA Marketing Agency.