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Exit Five Newsletter #79: Steal This Kickoff Template

Hello and welcome to the Exit Five Weekly Newsletter - read by 14,000 B2B marketing professionals around the world. Join the private community of ~3,500 marketing pros at exitfive.com if you're not already a member.


Steal This Template for Your 2024 Kickoffs/Offsites/SKOs/QBRs


Many of us today - remote or otherwise - have in-person quarterly meetings of some kind. The intent of these is to get aligned, reflect on the previous quarter, and have fun together as a group. This is the ideal outcome, but the stakes are high - if it doesn't go well, you've spent a lot of money to get everyone together just to have that brainstorming go to waste.


We have a great offsite template in the Exit Five community from a very sharp Marketing VP (shout out to Nadia Milami from WellnessLiving - she's also a top LinkedIn voice on Team Motivation, so give her a follow if you're a people manager).


Here are five things that I like about her example: 


Define excellence together on day one

Before they talk about how things went, and plans for the next quarter, the team defines what good looks like as a group in breakout. They define characteristics of a good marketer and a good marketing team. Having shared language around these sorts of things makes a big difference in team culture and accountability.


Explore an academic version of what good looks like 

On day two they have a conversation about Extreme Ownership. I've used this in the past when I wanted to instill a specific behavior - have everyone read the same article/or watch the same video, and discuss. That way it's not coming from you, as a person, but from the expert who created the content. The shared conversation means you can start celebrating when people uphold the behavioral ideal, and having performance conversations when they do not.


Structured goal setting and reflection 

They use a structured way of goal setting and talking about goals (EOS). A previous company of mine was fully bought in to the Traction methodology of setting goals, tracking performance, and uncovering and discussing issues. It’s similar to OKRs (also great). This can be very helpful for ensuring that the plans you make at the beginning of the quarter are followed-through in the months to come.


Plans to make improvements that were discussed

At the end of the two days, they decide as a team which ideas need to be implemented, ensuring all that brainstorming doesn’t go to waste.


Guest Speakers 

This could be board members, advisors, or customers. It’s helpful for the team to hear from others who are excited about what you’re doing, and can re-invigorate people around the company vision and mission.


Here’s the schedule overview: 

Day One

  • 9 – 9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 10:30 Break the Ice (Full Team)
    • One thing you’re proud of this year
    • One major challenge you overcame and how?
    • Who inspired you and why?
    • Expectations of the Offsite?
  • Break
  • 10:45 – 11:30 Break Out Sessions
    • List 5 qualities that make a great marketer and why
    • List 5 different characteristics of an amazing marketing team
    • What are 2-3 things you want done in a year?
    • What’s on your professional bucket list?
  • 11:30 – 12 Present as a Team
  • Lunch
  • 12:30 – 1:45 Issues List, ICE Scoring & Team Assignments (*playbook and how to do this in: Traction by GinWickman, EOS System)
  • Break
  • 2 – 3 Guest Speaker 
  • Coffee Break
  • 3:30 – 4 Guest Speaker
  • 4 – 4:30 Extreme Ownership Discuss Learnings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSW7LQaFHTg
  • 4:30 – 5 Closing Remarks
  • Team Dinner 


Day Two

  • 8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast, Data & Voice of Customer
    • Let’s look at some data from 2023.
    • How did we perform? GA, SEO, MQL, SQO, Best campaigns.
    • Customer insights data overview
  • 9:30 – 3:15 Functional Team Presentations (with breaks)
    • Every team puts together a presentation that answers the following questions: 
      • What we’ve learned in the last year.
      • What can we improve on?
      • Quick Data Preview: how did your area of business perform
      • Competitive Analysis: What are our competitors doing? What about others in our verticals?
      • What have you always wanted to try?
  • Order of presentations: 
    • Design 
    • Copywriting 
    • Field Events 
    • Demand generation 
    • Video 
    • Digital events 
    • Product marketing 
    • Partner marketing 
    • Email marketing
  • 3:15 – 4:30 Which Ideas Do We Add to 2024 Plan?
    • Discuss what we need to stop, continue, start as a team.
    • What were some of the wow ideas we must try.
    • What were the heavy hitters that delivered great results?
  • 4:30– 5 Closing Remarks
    • Everyone rate the meeting from 1-10.
    • Did it meet your expectations?
    • Why/Why not?
    • What can we do better next time?


Do some actual work as a team

The only thing I'd add to the above list is finding time to actually get some work done. How I've structured this in the past:

  • Spend 1.5hrs as a team drafting all social posts for the quarter
  • Build the asana board for the projects that are coming out of the kickoff 
  • Everyone creates all of the SEO outlines that you'll get written and published for the entire quarter
  • Write the projects briefs for each key campaign 
  • Update buyer personas

You can shift focus each quarter - sometimes help content marketing, sometimes demand gen, social, etc etc.


Collaborating to knock out a bunch of work feels amazing, and everyone leaves with a sense of accomplishment, in addition to alignment.

PS. Are you reading? Reply back and let me know, I love getting replies... 

PPS. Big Couch Energy


🎧 Podcast #109: Starting an Agency, Growing Exit Five, and How to Be a Great VP of Marketing in B2B SaaS (with John Short, CEO, Compound Growth)


Dave is joined by John Short (CEO of Compound Growth) once again, and they discuss:

  • The shift from solopreneurship to building a business
  • Techniques for managing the team effectively and setting up processes vs doing the work yourself
  • What makes a great VP of Marketing in SaaS
  • Working the middle manager position effectively, and all the nuance that comes with different companies

Listen To The Episode Now on Spotify

Or find it everywhere you listen by searching "Exit Five" podcast


6 Ways That Members Get ROI From Exit Five

  1. Wealth of historical posts for quick learning 
  2. Templates made by real marketing pros
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  6. Members-only video interviews

And I didn't even mention AMAs, round tables, and all the great conversations that are happening in there all the time. Watch this video to see it in action.

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