Top Five SKO Considerations for Sales Leaders

Top Five SKO Considerations for Sales Leaders

Categories: Sales Kickoff

Aligning the sales strategy with the company growth strategy is a key component to successfully growing a sales organization. There’s no better time than the sales kickoff to make sure your sales team knows the company growth plan and how they as salespeople are a key component to making that happen. 

What do you need to do now to make sure your sales organization is set up for success next year? Consider how you can use the SKO to ensure your sales organization is aligned, equipped and motivated to execute. Here’s what to consider:

1. Think beyond the event

If you need to improve sales performance long term, then think long term. Think beyond the “event” itself. Consider, what is your plan to support your salespeople in overcoming known execution challenges, hitting growth goals, and/or aligning behind company shifts (i.e. acquisitions, shifted market segments, etc.)? Your SKO should fit into that strategy, but think of it less as an event and more as a key moment where you can springboard changes in strategy and/or operations. Channel the energy around the event towards achieving critical outcomes, versus letting the excitement of getting people together distract from driving adoption of necessary concepts. 

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2. Set measurable objectives

Before you and your enablement team get too far into the strategy of how you’re going to execute your SKO, take a step back. Ensure you’re headed on a measurable path to success. 

Set your objectives now so you and your enablement team know what you have to achieve and can plan accordingly. Define measurable objectives for your sales team and how you’ll measure individual performance after your SKO ends. What outcomes do you want to see from your sales organization one month, one year, after you log off or return home? Clear objectives provide the foundation for all the planning and logistics that need to be done around your SKO event. 

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3. Align your agenda to the SKO objectives and desired outcomes 

If you’ve been to your fair share of SKOs and launched some yourself, you know you have a limited amount of time and frankly attention of your attendees. It’s critical that you ensure what is presented, trained on and delivered during the SKO supports your team’s ability to execute next year. As you begin to think beyond the event itself and define clear, measurable objectives for your SKO, and your sales team — align your agenda accordingly. 

It’s important to also consider what is best delivered in a SKO-type forum. If you need to provide new knowledge about what the company is doing, for example, then you may consider delivering that information in a pre-call, or as part of some pre-work in advance of the event. Then, use the actual SKO to practice and build skills around any upcoming changes. For example, let’s say there’s a new product that will target a different type of buyer. The pre-work can be fluency on the product, the problems it solves, the buyer persona, etc. At the SKO, you can execute role plays based on those new buyer interactions, complete with feedback from sales trainers and managers. Executing part of the knowledge portion in advance of “the event” ensures the SKO agenda is packed with the most valuable activities. 

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4. Communicate critical concepts to your salespeople

Constant communication before, during and after your SKO can have a significant impact on your sales team’s actions and engagement.

Provide clarity to your entire sales team on where your company is headed and how this direction will impact your people. While it may be obvious to you how the overall company strategy will impact the sales organization — your team may not be making that connection on their own. Your salespeople are concerned with hitting their numbers and dealing with their own day-to-day challenges. Understand what you need to communicate to your salespeople, early and often, throughout your SKO journey to drive commitment and engagement from your team.

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5. Have a ready-to-launch adoption plan

The actual SKO event, whether virtual or in-person, will likely only last for a couple of days at most. What needs to happen the other fifty weeks in the year to ensure what you roll out becomes ingrained into the organization and drives consistent front-line impacts? 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. Assess what you can do after the event to improve adoption and reinforcement. Think through these five key adoption concepts to ensure long-term sales impact following your SKO.

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Start now

As with anything in sales, preparation is the key to success and waiting limits your options. If your company is making strategic shifts that you need to align your sales organization behind, those shifts will likely demand more than one SKO event. Act now to define what your sales team needs to achieve sales benchmarks next year, and invest in making it happen. The sooner you define what’s next, the more time you have to develop a strategic sales initiative that sets your team up for success. Get busy — use these resources to move forward.

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