If you’ve been in sales for longer than five minutes, you know that the sales kickoff meeting is a yearly tradition of many B2B sales organizations. The event is one of the few, if not the only, time that the entire sales organization comes together to align on what’s ahead for the upcoming year.
If you add up all the factors at play for a sales kickoff – time away from sales activities for salespeople, the cost of flying everyone to one location, venue and catering costs, these events also come with a hefty budget. High dollars mean there’s a lot of stake, which demands you have clear objectives for the sales kickoff. Below are a few things to factor into setting clear objectives for your next sales event.
1. Make them specific
Your kickoff should have specific objectives that are aligned to overall company strategy and they need to be communicated. Do you want to ensure that the sales organization is ready to sell subscription pricing? Do they need to understand the new product bundles? Are you trying to ensure that they are able to sell higher and broader in customer organizations? Work back from the end game. What do you want your sales team to achieve this year? Use the sales kickoff meeting as a way to kick start that plan, with clear and specific objectives.
2. Make them long-term and short-term
There isn’t an effective sales leader out there who doesn’t have long-term objectives for the year. However, at your kickoff, if the objectives are too long-term, it will be more difficult to celebrate success benchmarks along the way. Ensure that you also have short-term objectives that you want to achieve. It could be you want each sales rep to execute their next sales conversation using the new methodology. Or you want your managers to use the 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.
3. Make them measurable
Find a way to measure your identified objectives. If you don’t have a way to measure them, they will likely fall by the wayside. You may have anecdotal evidence that they’re being accomplished, but nothing concrete. When you’re making a hefty SKO investment, a measurable objective ensures you're getting the ROI on your event. Make sure you have a way to quantify whether or not your objectives have been achieved. Then, communicate the progress along the way, both to the cross-functional leadership team and throughout the sales organization.
4. Make them realistic
Your objectives need to be realistic. You may have high hopes for sales kickoff, but you need to be realistic about how much people can absorb and how long it takes for them to absorb things. Think one or two reasonable objectives, not five or six. Having clear objectives ensure that you are keeping the time, scope and resources you have at the forefront. Remember, realistic objectives set you up for success.
5. Make them practical
Similar to making them realistic, make sure they’re relevant and practical to what your sales teams do every day. The objectives should be able to be executed on 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.