Use Your Virtual SKO to Invest in Your Salespeople
If you decide to move forward with a virtual sales kickoff event, it will have its benefits. You can forego the hefty budget required for hotel stays, travel expenses and other in-person provisions. Your sellers will be "out of the field" less, which means less time away from critical sales activities. You can also reset the event according to your organization's priorities, which may mean getting busy with SKO planning earlier or later than you’re used to.
The budget saved from travel and entertainment expenses gives leaders and executives the opportunity to invest in their salespeople. With a virtual SKO, company executives and sales leaders have the chance to invest in sales initiatives and training aimed at improving their salespeoples' ability to hit their numbers next year. It gives these leaders an actionable way to support their mangers and reps, who have worked harder than ever to build pipeline and bring in revenue during these challenging times.
Here are three ways you can use your next sales kickoff event to invest in your salespeople (and your organization's) success.
1. Launch & train on new buyer-focused messaging
Use your SKO to train your sales teams on new buyer-focused positioning so they can improve pipeline, effectively move deals forward and negotiate for a premium, instead of a discount.
Buyers are dealing with situations they haven’t dealt with before. As a sales leader, how you help your sales teams address these constantly shifting needs right now will be crucial to their ability to execute effectively. If numbers continue to falter, it’s likely that your sales teams aren’t effectively articulating the value of your solution to solving the buyer’s problem. A sales messaging initiative may be your best option to enable your sales teams to uncover the buyer's biggest challenges right now and align the value of your solutions to them.
Start by assessing how this economic environment is impacting your buying community and adjusting your sales positioning accordingly. How are your SDRs opening up the conversation? How are your direct reps aligning their demos to customer needs? Make sure you’ve reframed your buyer message for what’s happening now. Once you’ve aligned on the value and differentiation of your solution, you can use your SKO as a launching point to begin training your full sales team on how to have buyer-focused conversations.
2. Launch & train on a new, customized sales qualification process
Use your SKO to implement a new, customized sales qualification process that enables your reps to qualify opportunities faster, improve forecast accuracy and increase win rates.
If you have a qualification problem in your organization, you don’t have time to wait. Every deal in your pipeline is at risk when you have sellers who can’t qualify correctly and managers who can’t hold them accountable. Aligning your sales kickoff with a new qualification process could give your sales organization the motivation it needs to effectively move deals through the pipeline.
A well-defined and custom sales qualification process is often the missing link for salespeople who spend their time on too many deals that don’t happen. Do these challenges seem familiar, or has the pandemic amplified these issues within your sales organization?
- Reps stuck in deals that are taking too long
- Low forecast accuracy and inability to accurately predict revenue
- Increases in losses to competition, no decision and “do nothing, with reps unsure why
- Low win rates and margins because of too much discounting
- Not enough time spent on uncovering new opportunities and building pipeline
If the issues above are causing your organization to lose high-value opportunities continuously, then improving your qualification process is an opportunity you have to invest in your salespeople's success.
3. Launch & train on a new value-based negotiation process
Use your SKO to operationalize a value-based negotiation process that enables your sales teams to close every opportunity at a high value, repeatedly.
When sales teams are able to instill value in their opportunities early and often, they can preserve margins — even during a pandemic. This fact is why we refer to the sales negotiation process as an organizational competency, not a skill. Can you say for certain that your sales organization has this competency?
Here’s one way you can tell: when your sales reps close deals at a high margin, do they know how to repeat their performance and achieve the same results in their other opportunities?
Many organizations have aligned their virtual SKO with rolling out a custom, value-based negotiation process. The process starts with building a repeatable value-negotiation framework that creates consistency around your sales organization’s negotiation process.
Leading up to a launch at your virtual SKO, sales leaders should focus on building this framework in a way that helps reps and managers define what a great deal looks like for their company and align internal resources around that agreed-upon definition.
Once you’ve established the framework, it will be crucial to operationalize it in a way that enforces continuous adoption and reinforcement of the principles. This starts with your SKO, but also takes commitment from your front-line managers and sales teams long after the week-long event ends.
Invest in success for your next SKO event (& the quarters that follow it)
Moving forward with a virtual sales kickoff or any virtual sales initiative gets your organization moving in the right direction. It also gets your teams aligned around the areas where you can recover revenue and make the greatest impact this year.
As you begin to build the blueprint for your virtual SKO, you might enjoy this conversation on how to drive results from virtual sales initiatives. We sat down with Force Management's Chief Operating Officer Dave Davies and Brian Walsh, Managing Director of Facilitation and Delivery, to discuss how sales organizations can achieve the results they're looking for, virtually.