Many companies spend significant time and resources planning and executing their sales kickoff. If done right, the effort can be well worth it in the long run. Positive results can accumulate in the coming quarters and years down the line. In our webinar, "Your Next SKO: Stop the Insanity," we received several questions about planning a sales kickoff that will stick with your team. You can't underestimate the importance effective planning has on achieving these results.
Give the "Why"
Too often SKOs lack the strategic directives and alignment with initiatives that feed overall growth and revenue goals. They lack the whole “What are we doing here? Where are we right now? Where are we going? What are our big goals, and how will we reach them?”
Give your reps the “why” and align that why with an outcome that benefits them. If they understand how this event is going to help them sell more and earn more commission, then the motivation to adopt the desired new behaviors is a natural outcome.
Make the Content Relevant to the Roles in the Room
The more relevant the content is to an individual's day-to-day role, the more likely they are to process and adopt new concepts and ways of doing things. Depending on your objective, it may make sense to have completely separate tracks or do a mix of everyone in some sessions and breakouts for another. Remember, your job is to make sure that everything presented is (1) aligned to the SKO’s objectives and (2) aligned and relevant to each person’s job.
Plan for What's Next
Have a plan for reinforcement. In the flurry of planning event, it's easy to forget what's needed to ensure success after the event. If you're rolling out a new initiative, you want to have a plan for reinforcement and adoption after the event. Your plan for what happens after the SKO is just as, or perhaps even more important as what's happening at the event. Remember, the success of the event is tied to its purpose. It's difficult to achieve the purpose if you don't have a follow-on plan.
Use the Value of Your Front-Line Managers
One of the most effective ways to drive reinforcement is to enable your front-line managers. Give them a specific plan that gives them the exact activities and the cadence they need to reinforce everything that’s presented. There are times when we will have the managers come in one day early so we can ramp them up on anything new. Then, they have the knowledge and the buy-in needed to reinforce concepts while the reps are learning. That step helps ensure you have the “boots on the ground” needed to reinforce concepts afterwards. In addition, consider using an e-learning platform or an engagement management system that helps reinforce key concepts with account teams post-training. Both of these strategies help with new hires that join throughout the year. Front-line managers know how to reinforce concepts with new hires and the e-learning platform gives a mechanism to deliver content and tools. Also, when developing tools and content for the SKO, repurpose it for new hires at the same time. That way after the SKO you already have the "new hire" version developed.
Follow event planning and training best practices and you'll be well on your way for success. Having a specific plan for adoption, with accountabilities ensures that the investment you make in the SKO will get the return you need as a sales leader.