This blog contains content from our Ultimate Sales Kickoff Resource Guide. Check out all of our sales kickoff resources, best practices and tools here.
Sales Kickoffs are meant to get the sales team motivated toward a common goal for the upcoming year. Given the changing economy, your SKO will be an important opportunity to instill this motivation and align your team to execute mission-critical sales activities.
Ensure the right outcomes and objectives are prioritized in your SKO agenda in a way that drives that company strategy. Set clear, measurable objectives for your SKO and ultimately, your sales team. After all, the SKO, whether virtual or in-person, is just one or two weeks of the fiscal year. Clear objectives for the kickoff and beyond, will be imperative to drive consistent sales performance in a complex selling environment.
Set your objectives now so you and your enablement team know what you have to achieve to drive revenue goals. Below are a few things to factor in when you begin to set clear objectives for your next sales kickoff.
1. Make them realistic
You may have high hopes for a sales kickoff, but you need to be realistic about how much people can absorb and how long it takes for them to absorb things. Make sure your objectives are realistic and can actually be achieved. Changing the entire mindset of your sales team is not a realistic objective for a two-day SKO event. However, changing the process at which they qualify opportunities may be.
Think of one or two reasonable objectives, not five or six. Consider what sales activities will have the biggest impact on your reps' ability to close deals in the current economic climate. Having realistic objectives ensures that you are keeping the time, scope and resources you have at the forefront. Remember, realistic objectives set you up for success.
2. Make them practical
Similar to making them realistic, make sure your SKO objectives are relevant and practical to what your sales teams do every day. Your sales teams should be able to execute your objectives immediately after the sales kickoff. This practicality ensures that you can carry the momentum of the SKO event into the day-to-day grind of the organization.
Consider what success will look like for individual sellers, sales teams, sales leadership and the company overall after the SKO. Giving these practical directives based on what you’re trying to achieve from the SKO, will make these action steps more possible to executive and coach against. (I.e., Each opportunity opened after the SKO needs to use MEDDICC qualification, or, Managers need to use MEDDICC qualification to assess pipeline opportunities.)
3. Make your SKO objectives specific
Avoid any ambiguity around the purpose of your SKO and the expectations you’ll have for each member of your sales team moving forward. You’ve likely got mission-critical benchmarks in mind (increase average deal size, time-to-productivity, business predictability, etc.) Your kickoff should have specific objectives that are aligned to those long-term revenue goals, as well as the overall company strategy. Work back from the end game to define specific objectives for your SKO that will help you achieve those benchmarks.
Your objectives should help you align the SKO activities, deliverables and training to what’s needed to equip your team to hit those long-term benchmarks. Ask yourself, “What’s critical for my salespeople and managers to know at this exact moment in time?” Some specific examples may be:
- Every salesperson is equipped to execute on MEDDICC the Monday after the SKO.
- Every manager will use the MEDDICC coaching process on every deal starting the following week.
- Find three new pipeline opportunities attached to the new product bundle in the next quarter.
4. Define short-term objectives for your SKO
Long-term goals help you define the purpose of your SKO and give you an end goal to work back from as you define your plan. However, at your SKO you also need to have short-term goals you can share with your sales team to give them something to achieve in the initial weeks and months following your SKO. Given your long-term goals, what are those short-term wins you should see along the way?
Short-term goals can be used to highlight areas where teams or individuals have succeeded, so you can easily lift up those supporting your initiative and share success stories. They can also help you immediately identify regions or teams that are struggling to execute, so you can make adjustments before that team falls behind, leaving you off track toward hitting a long-term objective. Given the economic landscape, both of these actions will be critical to driving ongoing motivation and sales impact in a complex selling environment.
When creating short-term goals, ensure they are actionable for your sales team to achieve immediately following your SKO. It could be that you want each sales rep to execute their next sales conversation using a new methodology you rolled out. Don't forget your managers. For example, if you launched or trained on MEDDICC, you may want your managers to use new MEDDICC fields in Salesforce immediately following the meeting. These short-term goals could be in conjunction with your long-term objective of improving your qualification process or selling higher in prospect organizations.
Based on what you plan to launch at your SKO, consider short-term goals or wins that will be your leading indicators that your organization is on track to achieve your larger objectives.
5. Make them measurable
Ensure you can validate ROI for your efforts.
Find a way to measure your identified objectives as a result of your SKO investment. If you don’t have a way to measure and monitor your objectives after the SKO, they will likely fall to the wayside. In this case, it will be difficult to validate the spend on SKO resources. Make sure you have a concrete way to quantify whether or not your long-term and short-term objectives have been achieved. Define specific measurements for each objective and how you will review/capture those measurements. Specify:
- The results or metrics you want to see.
- The time frame that you want to see those results by.
- How you will monitor and measure success on an ongoing basis.
Specifying the measurement of your objectives in this way will help you drive not just compliance, but effective execution against the concept rolled out during your SKO.
For example, a short-term metric might be that you want 100% of sales reps participating in one manager opportunity coaching session in the next month. Then, schedule a time to have an “all-manager” call to discuss the progress. An example of long-term a metric might be to have all regions improve time-to-productivity by 50% within six months of the SKO. Then, schedule monthly all-manager calls leading up to the 6-month mark to share what’s working well, what’s not and how managers are using SKO concepts to improve ramp time. The all-manager calls in both examples are key to ensuring they follow through on what’s being asked. After all, they don’t want to be the one manager that doesn’t have something valuable to bring to the table.
To make measuring success easier on you and your team, consider integrations that you can use to gain line-of-sight into front-line execution and adoption. After you’ve rolled out your initiative or SKO, use that data to communicate the progress along the way. Boost seller engagement and results by highlighting what’s working, lifting up top performers, and sharing the results sellers have achieved by executing what they learned during the SKO.
Now, Make it Happen
Now is the time to ensure you and your enablement team are laying the foundation for a SKO that helps your sales organization achieve critical company objectives. With clear outcomes in mind, define what’s next. We’ve got sales kickoff resources that may help you start moving in the right direction. Use them as you work to develop an actionable strategy for launching a SKO that gets results long after your event is over.