How to Set Up an Effective Adoption Plan Around Your Sales Kickoff
Categories: Sales Kickoff
We are working with leaders right now who are rethinking their sales kickoffs, using the event next year to launch a broader sales transformation initiative, aligned to their company’s overall growth strategy. Whether they’re launching something new or aligning the sales team behind company shifts (i.e. acquisitions, shifted market segments, etc.) — it becomes clear pretty quickly that changing sales behaviors and mindsets requires more than a two-day SKO event or one-off virtual training session.
In these situations, these leaders use their SKO as a critical event to build proficiency around new ways of executing key components of sales, whether it be sales messaging, planning, execution or qualification. While the work may start at the SKO event, it’s critical that there’s also a plan to maintain the momentum of the event, measure ongoing performance and drive reinforcement and adoption of new sales behaviors.
Creating Your Ready-to-launch Adoption Plan:
The more you can define the plan for adoption on the front end, the better you’ll be able to equip your sales teams for success on the back end, long after the SKO has ended. In our engagements, we help sales leaders think through these five key adoption concepts to ensure long-term results:
1. Ensure your sales organization sees the initiative as a priority
When the entire sales organization understands the priority of the strategic sales initiative and how it benefits them, they’ll be far more likely to execute new or shifted sales behaviors. Leadership must communicate the priority of the initiative before and after the SKO. Before launch and during your SKO, articulate your mission and vision for the longevity of the sales initiative. Define how sales teams will be held accountable for and supported in drafting new concepts into their day-to-day sales activities.
Sales leaders play a critical role in communicating the priority of the initiative and leading from the front. Here are a few examples:
- Use new language and concepts covered during the SKO in forecasting calls, deal reviews and in communications shared within the entire company (not just the sales organization), including emails, meetings, announcements, etc.
- Set benchmarks for yourself to demonstrate how you’re also applying new methodologies, content and tools to your everyday tasks.
- Find ways to further solve sales execution challenges for your sales team through additional initiatives. For example, if you’re implementing a sales messaging initiative, consider complementing it in a year with a correlating deal qualification or value negotiation initiative to further drive sales performance and growth.
2. Ensure relevancy
Relevant and immediately usable content, tools and processes are key to driving the longevity of your strategic sales initiative. How can you make new sales capabilities relevant to what your salespeople do every day, so they’re easier to execute after the fact?
Help them make the shift by aligning what’s delivered during the SKO to their everyday responsibilities, sales activities and live opportunities. As you outline the goal of the initiative, beyond the event, here are some possible action steps:
- Tailor the training and deliverables of the strategic sales engagement to be relevant to industry trends and live opportunities your sales teams work on (and how they work on them!)
- At the same time, develop immediately usable content and tools, by role, to support your sales teams in applying new concepts to live opportunities and support managers in reinforcing those actions.
- Define what good looks like in each role so managers, reps and other influencers know who does what, and when, once the SKO ends.
- Provide ongoing learning and integrations that reps can use to improve adoption and execution and managers can use to gain line-of-sight into who’s doing well and who needs their help.
- Find ways to monitor your salespeople’s ability to execute new methodologies or processes so you can celebrate wins and quickly course correct as needed.
3. Make integration essential
To ensure the longevity of your initiative, consider how new methodologies, content, tools and processes integrate into the baseline curriculum or internal sales structure your teams currently use to move deals forward. Help them adopt new practices by integrating them into what they’re doing every day. Integration also includes expanding the footprint of the transformational initiative, to ensure new language or tools include other organizations in the company (i.e., Marketing, Product Development) that interact with the customer during the sales process. Here are a few options to consider:
- Develop your initiative around the strategic direction of the company in a way that drafts into your existing sales processes, structure and systems.
- Generate executive alignment around your sales strategy to ensure it will integrate into key marketing and product considerations, as they relate to your sales teams.
- Share custom deliverables with all of your customer-facing organizations (SDR/BDRs, Marketing, Customer Success, etc.) to get your entire organization aligned on new go-to-market messaging and/or buying processes. The integrated deliverables should be tailored to specific roles (i.e., BDRs need different tools than direct reps).
- Implement content and criteria from your initiative into the tools and resources your sales teams use every day, like your CRM.
4. Define the measurement
Is there a plan to monitor ongoing performance, after the SKO, to course-correct any challenges before your sales team gets too far off track?
Put a focus on the practical and measurable results of your sales initiative to ensure salespeople know what’s expected of them moving forward. Tie the measurable benchmarks of your initiative to your sales organization’s key performance indicators or your company’s growth benchmarks. It’s helpful to create benchmarks that coincide with 30/60/90 day check-ins and/or a management cadence for deal reviews and coaching sessions. These actions will help you to:
- Monitor and gain line-of-sight into rep execution to ensure they have what they need to drive repeatable results.
- Course correct rep performance to help them change deals at risk into high-value opportunities.
- Provide the support, resources and coaching that enables reps to repeat success and helps your managers speed up time-to-productivity of greener reps or new hires.
5. Enable managers to achieve results through ongoing reinforcement
Reinforcement is achieved primarily through the behavior of front-line managers, this is why we often say, your manager's role in what happens after the SKO is almost more important than what happens during the actual event. Front-line managers will drive the biggest impact in the reinforcement of your sales initiative, good or bad. They will be the first to hold your reps accountable for using new tools and methodologies in live opportunities and the first person you look to if you need to minimize execution gaps.
Here are a few ways you can enable your managers to drive the longevity of your sales transformation initiative:
- Gain widespread management involvement throughout the initiative.
- Enable them to be valuable coaches, capable of teaching repeatable sales skills and effectively developing the individual reps on their teams.
- Articulate that you are looking to them to lead by example, by using new concepts themselves, speaking a common sales language and managing via common processes.
- Provide sales managers with “coaching playbooks” that define desired behaviors to be inspected and red flags to remediate.
- Help managers implement a management cadence that will support their ability to drive accountability, reinforcement and adoption long after the SKO ends.
Define Your Opportunity to Solve Sales Execution Problems
Define your plan to get the most from your top sellers next year and propel your entire sales organization forward. The SKO is your biggest opportunity to launch a strategic change initiative that equips your sales organization with what’s needed to meet company growth goals. Your people are looking at your SKO to decide if they’re going to sign up for another year selling your solutions. Use it to share your plan for sales growth, what you will expect from your people and how you’re going to invest in their success. Use these SKO resources to get ahead of the competition and launch a measurable SKO that gets results.