Tis the season for sales kickoffs. Many companies still have physical sales kickoffs and a growing number have virtual sales kickoffs.
There is a lot of work that goes into the actual sales kickoff, but less goes into what happens after your sales reps return to their regular day to day jobs. One of the larger themes for sales kickoffs is often sales training. Studies have found that there can be a good ROI, at least immediately after the training. The key is how to leverage the learnings from the sales kickoff and keep it going through the year.
Here are 5 ways that you can take the sales kickoff forward with you.
1. Personalized The Next Steps
Not all reps learn the same way and not all reps need training on the same items. It is important for sales leaders and managers to work with the reps and create personalized coaching plans. Building upon and reinforcing the sales training at kickoff will help pay dividends through the year and keep your team sharp. Because remember: only 20% of your SKO content will sink into your sales team. The rest needs to be reinforced throughout the year.
2. Face Time With Reps
One of the main reasons that sales organizations do face-to-face kickoffs is so that the sales team gets to spend time together, especially if they’re distributed teams.
It helps build upon relationships and provides opportunities for informal conversations with your reps. After the kickoff, reps may go to their remote office or even a different floor in the head office, never to rekindle the camaraderie they found at the SKO.
And that’s a big problem.
In sales, face-to-face opportunities are a great way to learn and to teach, so it’s critical that that happens more than once a year. This might be a regular sales meetings, role-playing, or even managing by walking around. It might mean managers make a quarterly or monthly visit to a rep. These interactions can help with ongoing training and development.
3. Get Feedback on Your Sales Kickoff
A recurring challenge that enablers is that by the time their kickoff is done, they’re too burned out to follow through. Basically, they just ran a marathon, crossed the finish line, and now we’re saying “Oh and just one more thing…”
In reality, though, the marathon isn’t over until at least some feedback is captured. Find out what worked, what didn’t, what messages sunk in and which ones totally missed.
This gives sales enablers a good idea of where they need to build programs and gives sales leaders a good idea of where to focus their coaching.
4. Keep the Momentum Going
A sales kickoff is a great way to get your sales team pumped up and excited about the year ahead. And to get most of this momentum, it’s important to keep it going.
- Driving the learnings from the SKO forward with ongoing enablement programs.
- Create something the team can look forward to (e.g. a min-SKO, half-year update, or break it out by team, like “SKO Sales team West”)
- Carry the themes of the sales kickoff forward into the year.
5. Set Expectations
What do you actually want people to do after the sales kickoff? What numbers are you planning on getting them to hit, and what behaviours do you want your sales managers to do?
You need to be clear both within your enablement team and across your organization of what the behaviour expectations are after the sales kickoff. If you don’t know what you want them to do, then it’s unreasonable to expect them to intuit it.
Rather, set clear expectations of what they should do. It’s especially important for sales managers, who need to understand what the objective is for the quarter / year and the behaviours that you think are going to get them there.
Depending on your organization, setting expectations might be as simple as sending a quick email, or it might be more of a matter of monthly meetings with your sales managers to articulate expectations and check in on them over time.
Lastly, be clear about how the expectations help drive the numbers that sales managers are measured on. How are the behaviours you’re asking for going to turn into new business for them?
When you’re planning a sales kickoff, it’s tempting to assume the work ends when everyone flies home. In reality, though, the sales kickoff truly ends a few days / weeks later. Without proper follow-through, your SKO is liable to end up costing a lot without a lot to show for it.
Fortunately, following through the morning after doesn’t have to be difficult. Make sure your team understands their personalized next steps, there’s enough face time with reps, feedback is gathered, and expectations are set and you’ll find it’s smooth sailing for the rest of the year.
Image credit: SpaceX via Unsplash