Boston-based Funnel Coach, Daniel Holland, writes…

These traditional boondoggles cost valuable time and money, and are usually not effectively organized or measured for impact. Historically, companies have gathered their sales forces and distributors in a resort-type atmosphere to feed them motivational speakers, washed down by ample food, drink, and recreation, all with the objective to motivate their performance to achieve sales goals for the coming year.

One of my favorite examples can be found here. Naturally, the CEO and the SVP/Chief Marketing Officer wanted to ‘ignite passion and the full power of the company around ONE mission.’  Most attendees, if they were brutally honest about it, would call the exercise a waste of time, energy and money.  Otherwise intelligent, well-educated, highly-regarded, wealthy people in huge offices make dunderheaded decisions like that every day, because they are surrounded by people afraid to tell them that they’re not wearing any clothes.

What motivates sales people? Money in the pocket, that’s what.

Try a creative alternative to the sales kick-off meeting by creating special compensation incentive programs based on achieving agreed upon goals. After all, remember that the budget should already reflect a bottoms-up process involving everyone in the organization, so spending a lot of time, effort, and money to encourage people to achieve their goal is redundant.

What really counts is rewarding the achievement of the goals after the fact, and distributing the money saved by avoiding the sales kick-off meeting to the achievers is a good adjunct to other incentive awards. If you use the sales kick-off meeting to communicate to employees or train new skills or sharpen old ones there are more cost and time effective local and on-line approaches.