Use Your Sales Kickoff to Increase Talent Retention & Revenue Growth
If you’re aiming to boost seller capabilities through an enablement initiative, ensure your efforts and resources drive the front-line impacts you need. Consider a strategic sales initiative that not only uplifts employee skill sets but also their engagement, or commitment to solving customer problems and getting results. A Gallup study recently cited in this Wall Street Journal article showed replacing an employee can cost twice as much as the annual salary. Costs that could be avoided with effective engagement programs.
Leaders who focus on improving both employee capabilities and engagement, through their initiatives, drive significant increases to employee retention and company growth. For many organizations, the sales kickoff is spent motivating the sales team. It can also be an effective tool to build employee engagement by tying sales activities to positive and valuable outcomes for the individual.
Invest in Your Talent so They Invest in Your Next Steps
Your sales team wants to know how you’re going to help them compete, next quarter or next year. How you choose to support your sales organization speaks volumes to your managers and salespeople. Your decision will likely have a big impact on employee retention, costs and bench strength. Your SKO may already be on your salespeople's mind ...
At every sales kickoff, there are likely some managers and salespeople who are considering jumping ship. They’re talented. They know they can find another job. So, they’re weighing whether they want to stay with your team or start with another company. Think through how you can use your sales kickoff to demonstrate the value of selling for your company. Consider your SKO Plan right now.
- How can you use the SKO to improve the retention of top performers?
- Are SKO presentations and programs launched geared towards demonstrating value for reps and managers? Will they understand what’s in it for them?
The WSJ article also cites data from a Bersin by Deloitte study that found, “Companies that invested more than their competitors in employee learning and development generated three times higher profit growth over several years.” Wall Street Journal: Reskill the Workforce To Drive Future Growth and Purpose
Now is your opportunity to invest in making your talent a competitive advantage. While you can’t control what other organizations are doing, you do have the power to show your talent you’re invested in their success. As a sales leader, the SKO is your opportunity to articulate what’s expected of your salespeople next year (with regards to company goals and initiatives) and how you plan to help your team succeed. Leverage that moment in time to articulate your commitment to helping your salespeople compete and improve, and in return gain their commitment and engagement moving forward.
The WSJ article went on to share, “When the employees recognized leadership commitment to helping them learn the skills for changing job requirements, they became engaged in the transformation rather than fearing it.” Wall Street Journal: Reskill the Workforce To Drive Future Growth and Purpose
Now, you have a strategic decision to make on which way you're going to enable your teams this year. That decision could boost seller engagement or potentially give your top performers reason to jump ship. At a minimum, you could roll out yet another one-off training, provide e-learning courses, implement an off-the-shelf methodology. However, showing your investment to your talent’s success and driving their commitment will take more than a set of spreadsheets, presentations and a simple day of training.
Roll out new content/methodologies/behaviors in a way that will help your sales reps and managers improve front-line execution for the long-term and see the value of working for you. True, it’s easier said than done. A sales transformation that improves seller skill sets and engagement can’t and shouldn’t happen overnight or over a single SKO event. It’s a process. One that requires sales leaders to think through and operationalize an approach that encompases the before, during and after steps of truly equipping salespeople with what’s needed to exceed quotas. However, the outcomes can be truly life changing for both companies and individual sellers.
Commit to Improving Seller Capabilities and Engagement
Sales leaders who have an optimized sales engine in place understand that you need the right building blocks that support behavior change and nurture successful adoption. They also understand that as a sales leader, developing and rolling out a sales initiative that transforms their sales organization takes consistent commitment from leadership. Think through how you can plan for the long term, while staying focused on short-term needs. Remember, waiting to make your plan will limit your options. If you want to launch a strategic initiative at your SKO next year, consider the actions you can take now, while you focus on next quarter's number.
Once you decide to invest in a broader, strategic sales initiative, own it. Remember, leadership commitment, good or bad, flows down the chain of command. Your commitment to the initiative and your actions in support of it will speak volumes to your salespeople, motivating them to engage with it or ignore it. While it takes a concerted effort and investment to launch a sales transformation initiative, the benefits to your employees and of economic value to your company outweigh the costs.
Prioritize your biggest opportunities to improve sales execution, then make it happen. Set yourself up for success by getting a head start. As you define what’s next for your sales team and what you may need to implement, consider how you can use your upcoming SKO to kickstart your transformation initiative. Use these SKO best practices and resources to avoid common mistakes and plan an event that propels your sales organization forward.