Sales kickoff events are learning events. And even with online learning gaining prominence in sales organizations, these live, in-person events are still critical to skill development and sales results. Your annual sales kick off needs to serve as a learning experience, providing the content and connections that sellers need to win more business.

These tips are focused on how to create the right learning environment for your sales teams.

  1. Create learning pillars that tie to corporate vision and initiatives. Your sales kickoff should have a clear theme, with learning that aligns to your biggest sales and corporate initiatives. For example, if your CEO has a key objective around revenue growth, that can serve as a learning pillar. Content and metrics can then be designed to support that objective
  2. Segment pre-learning from learning at the event. There are likely several tracks in your sales kickoff that could be better tackled as pre-learning or self-paced learning. When your learning tracks are specifically suited for in-person delivery, attendees will be more engaged and get better value.
  3. Focus on selling skills, not just product updates. Product and operational updates often dominate a sales kickoff schedule. Selling skills are equally important and should get their own track. You’ll likely have a mix of selling experience; designing this track by experience level can make sure sellers are getting the best value.
  4. Design opportunities for relationship building. Face-to-face relationship building opportunities might be the most important aspect of a sales kickoff. When your sales teams and sales enablement teams have strong relationships – they close more business and take better care of the customer. While a lot of informal relationship building happens, design more formal opportunities as well. As an example, design a networking opportunity for your product team to meet with new hires, or for your C-level executives to meet with emerging sales leaders.
  5. Design accountabilities. Don’t let the connections and learning end when the sales kick off is over. Sales leaders and reps need to stay accountable for extending what they’ve learned during kick-off and put it into practice. For example, each rep could identify three skills or concepts they learned at the kickoff and commit to building those skills with coaching from their sales leader.

Sales kickoff is the time to create impactful learning experiences for your sales organization. These strategies will help you create a learning environment that will lead to better skills and stronger sales results.

Amy Franko is a strategic sales expert working with professional services, insurance, and technology organizations to accelerate sales results. Her book, The Modern Seller, is an Amazon best seller and was also named a 2018 top sales book by Top Sales World.  Visit http://www.amyfranko.com