But in this unpredictable economy, sales organizations must be more agile and resilient than ever. A successful national sales meeting or sales kickoff (SKO) is a great way to align the team on goals, communicate key initiatives, and share tactics for today’s turbulent selling environment.
The primary aim of a sales meeting is simple: prepare your sales force to meet their quotas and the goals of the sales organization. But coordinating all the right elements can be tricky.
The best SKOs have three main components:
- planning the agenda and format of the meeting
- defining session content
- fostering participant engagement
Here’s how to plan and deliver an outstanding kickoff that sets your sellers up for success in an unpredictable world.
Step 1: Plan Your Sales Kickoff Agenda
Choose the Right Theme
Pick an area of focus where your team’s greatest challenge lies. Think “Outselling The Competition” or “Strategic Account Management,” for example.
Update the Agenda
Be creative about the structure of the meeting, identify which content must be delivered live, and which can be presented another way.
Save the Best for Live
Focus on the most important kickoff topics that are best delivered face-to-face. Identify dynamic speakers and keynote topics that are likely to inspire conversation. Those are the things you’ll want to highlight with short, live sessions.
Mix Up the Format
Streamline the agenda and postpone topics that can be addressed during a conference call or web meeting later. Engage the team with pre-recorded video presentations, online drills, quizzes, small panels, and breakout sessions to keep the ideas and the energy flowing.
Step 2: Plan Sales Kickoff Content
Target Skills Training
The content of the meeting should focus on the skills training and development that helps your sales professionals overcome the challenges they face every day in the field.
Align with Purpose
Your sales kickoff is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how individual performance correlates with company success. Emphasize your organization’s mission and connect the overall strategy with how each member will contribute.
Provide Tangible Tools
Engage your team by equipping them with the tools and tactics they need to get results quickly. Offer relevant training that incorporates real-life prospect scenarios and customer objections.
Make sure that your messaging is genuine and specific to your strategy. Your team is full of competent professionals who crave valuable content, so give them something they can get behind.
Tap Into the Team
Ask executives, top performers, and SMEs to submit presentations, practice videos, competitive insights, or any assets they think might benefit the team as they prepare for the coming year.
Share Best Practices
Ask salespeople to record a best practice, presentation, or talk track on video. Post the presentations online and make them accessible to the team as needed.
Step 3: Plan for Engagement at Your SKO
Put People First
As the stress of selling in an uncertain economic climate continues, you must prioritize the human element of your meeting. The underlying theme of the kickoff should foster connections.
Maximize engagement and make the most of participants’ time by presenting a mix of live and pre-recorded content. Incorporate simulated customer interactions and role play, best practices, opportunities for sharing, and activities that allow for lots of interaction and connection.
Reinforce your organization’s purpose along with the strategies and tactics your team will use in the coming year. Your sales professionals will come away feeling connected to the mission and motivated to contribute to the success of the company.
Don’t miss the opportunity to highlight top-performing salespeople and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Learning the secret sauce from one of their peers will really make a lasting impression on your salespeople.
Networking and collaboration are consistently ranked by salespeople as the most valuable parts of this type of event. Keep presentations interactive and include exercises that intentionally drive sharing and collaboration.
Include Your Marketing Team
Sales and marketing alignment is critical to sales success. Invite your marketing team to participate in the kickoff to foster shared goals and enable a better relationship.
Be a Leader
Take this opportunity to connect with your team members, help them exchange ideas, and learn from one another. Setting a positive and motivational tone will inspire everyone to return to work with a greater sense of comradery.
Deliver a Successful Sales Kickoff
Your sales kickoff is the perfect opportunity to gather your whole team and hone in on the strategies and tactics that drive sales performance. Follow these steps to plan and deliver an outstanding kickoff that sets your sellers up for success.
Download Your Guide to Planning a Successful Sales Kickoff to plan an SKO that delivers results.
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Sales kickoff season is here. It’s time to plan your sales strategy, train your sales professionals, crank up the energy, and motivate everyone for the next year. Download this free guide that will help you plan and deliver an outstanding sales kickoff that sets your sellers up for a successful year.