One of the keys to a successful sales kickoff is to execute it in a way that aligns with your organization's overall business strategy. From there, your SKO agenda should be prioritized by the objectives and the outcomes you want the event to drive as it relates to that strategy.
Everything that is presented should align to the goals of the event. This isn’t the time for every leader to have their 30-minutes of fame with the sales team. This is the time for the appropriate leaders to present in a way that aligns with the event’s objectives. If you want to plan an SKO that aligns with your company business strategy, consider putting the following focus areas at the forefront of your agenda.
What's the Why?
Make sure you are including the why in the agenda. What is the purpose of the event and how is related to the overall company strategy? The connection should be clear to everyone in the room. Once they understand the why, they'll be more likely to participate in the aligned activities.
What are the Objectives?
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. Make sure your objectives are clear and your agenda is aligned appropriately to the organizational strategy.
What's the Relevancy?
It may be obvious to you how the overall company strategy is relevant to the sales team, but you need to make sure you are making it clear to the salespeople what it means for them. How will it change what they do every day?
The challenge with an SKO is that you likely have a wide-range of roles represented in the room. The key to keeping focus on the event's purpose is to ensure that relevancy is part of the presentation. Perhaps you're launching a new product or a new sales process. Think about how you're going to present that information in a way that has relevancy and consumability for those in the room.
How does this concept relate to your SDRs/BDRs? How does it relate to account teams? Your field reps? Then, ensure there is relevancy to the roles presented during each section of the training.
The sales reps want to know if they can be successful in the next year at your company. They’ll get the most value out of tasks and tactics that will help them sell more, faster. There’s not a salesperson out there that doesn’t want to increase his/her commissions. The most valuable part of an SKO is when there is clear and consumable content that a salesperson can use immediately creating and capturing value for his/her clients. That relevancy is even more powerful when it's aligned to the company strategy.
If your company will have more than the sales team present (and a lot do), consider if it's even worth it to have cross-functional teams in the room. If not, save the money. If it is, make sure the presentation accounts for the different functions. You may want to consider a "role breakout" session that ensures relevancy to the position. Remember, if what you're presenting is not relevant to what each audience member does every day, they will tune out. Your event may still be compelling, but without the desired outcomes, especially as it relates to your company's strategy.
Do not underestimate the importance of planning for post-event reinforcement. 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, which needs to be aligned with the company strategy. It's difficult to achieve the purpose if you don't have a follow-on plan.
Remember, you don’t want to stuff ten days worth of content into two and your agenda should reflect that. Finally, be sure you’re leaving enough time for the “what’s next” at the end. You want everyone to be clear on what’s changing and what’s different moving forward. And of course, a few events at night to help foster camaraderie and help break up the PowerPoints are always nice.