With so many underperforming sellers, why put on an annual “rah rah” event only to turn everyone loose to go back to what they did before that hasn’t worked?
Take the SKO as a time to regroup and re-focus on the priorities of the sales team’s mission.
LEADERSHIP SETS THE STRATEGY
Leaders – from CEO down set the stage for what is important for sellers to focus on this year. Make sure as a leader that you clearly articulate 3 goals for the coming year. Yes, one will be a revenue goal – but what are the others? This will help keep everyone more together as you move forward.
I worked for a CEO who came in every New Year’s Day and wrote down his goals for the company on a big chalk wall – there were 3-5 items – that’s it. Everyone saw them every day, far beyond the kickoff, but the were fully reinforced in depth during the SKO.
SHARE BUYER STORIES
Helping the newer reps and acknowledging the reps who worked on a past deal, holding a “case study” session reminds everyone of what is in it for the buyer. Let’s do less product training and more focus on the buyer at the SKO.
How will you keep the important points of your Sales Kick Off events on reps’ minds AFTER the SKO week? One SaaS sales team in Boston I know gives responsibility to each rep for one piece of the event. They must present and months later, not only do they remember their part but others will speak up about their piece and it is one more way to discuss key points weeks after the event. Use an app, make posters, just be sure the repetition and reinforcement is there or your reps will have no memory of what happened.
MAKE IT FUN
I have been to some very boring Sales Kickoffs over the years. Keep your audience of sellers interested and not knowing what is happening next. Some intrigue and a few well placed good surprises can make it all the better. One CEO stopped in the middle of his presentation to a sales team a couple of weeks ago – asked a tough sales-related question, and when an Account Exec had the right answer, was brought on stage and given a high value gift card – for being willing to answer – and for getting it right. The energy in the room went up 100% at that moment. Everyone wondered what other surprises were in store.
HELP THEM DO THEIR JOBS BETTER
A SKO is the time to show the selling team how the company is supporting them. This is when to roll out any new ways to make marketing and sales flow smoother, and to fix those IT bugs everyone complains about. You also need to bring up a new policy or two – but don’t lead with negative new information or it will set a tone of bad news.
The SKO is an event, and the goals, ideas, and direction you set there needs to be discussed and moved forward the week after it’s over, and two weeks after, and beyond. Plan how to do that, and you’ll have a better event than ever before.
Lori Richardson is President of Women Sales Pros and is working to see more women in sales and sales leadership in companies where there are male-majority sales teams. She is also Founder and CEO of Score More Sales.