How to Make Your SKO Collaborative and Social

By Elay Cohen
Download SKO guide
Download SKO guide

A Sales Kickoff (SKO) is a great opportunity to align and inspire an organization to crush their goals. Karen Harrison, who led several SKO activities and workshops at Titus, outlines the steps to take to ensure a collaborative and successful SKO.


  • Align with each function on message and outcomes – each presentation and activity should align to corporate goals
  • No death by Powerpoint! Try to make the work as collaborative and social as possible – especially when flying people in
  • Put your foundational learning in pre-work, and use the time together to practice, communicate and collaborate


  • Executive Video – CEO setting the tone and expectations
  • “Empowerment” video for theme – pitches – REPURPOSE CONTENT
  • New corporate messaging framework
  • Competitive intelligence documents
  • Discussion Huddle for attendees to ask questions

SKO Agenda

  • Setup:
    • Mix the tables up so that folks are with other employees they aren’t normally with. Provides great perspective.
    • Idea/discussion walls where attendees can write their thoughts, challenges and desires on the upcoming year and what they feel they need to achieve their goals throughout the day
  • Introduction:
    • Set the tone and value of the event
  • Workshops and activities weaving in the corporate messaging framework:
    • Customer Storytelling (tailored stories with buying personas)
      • Team works on assigned persona and business case to tailor corporate pitch that would resonate with client, tying in a customer story
    • Competitive Messaging Challenges
      • Whiteboard Challenge: CMO had a competition and we voted at each table, finished with a whiteboard-off with top performers
      • Best boot camp pitch – and the non-salespeople were engaged and kicked butt!
    • Competitive Intelligence
      • Role-play central! I dressed up as Laverne, a lover of our competitors, and attendees would watch a role-play interaction with a rep and the audience would provide objections
      • Ran a mock Jeopardy episode
    • Top sales leaders fireside chat – best practice sharing


  • Assigned Corporate pitch certification to all customer-facing staff (with winner at SKO boot camp as the golden example)
  • SKO surveys on content, delivery and competency

In Summary:

  • Align functions so that the event flows well into a cohesive story
  • Use foundational learning as pre-work to maximize collaboration and practice
  • Feedback – content, delivery and competency

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