SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform

Culture First At Sales Kick Off Events

  • by Elay Cohen
  • December 13, 2014

Culture First At Sales Kick Off Events

It’s the season of sales kick off (SKO) event planning.  While sales teams focus on closing out the year strong, marketing, sales productivity and sales operation leaders are busy planning their year’s SKO events. Agendas are being pulled together. Decks are coming to life. Case studies are being written. Product managers are getting ready to share the latest on their products. Dinner menus are being planned. Bands are being hired. And the list goes on and on.  You know the drill…..

Here is some advice to help you turn your SKO into a high impact, culture building, and revenue generating event:

Be real about what SKO Is and what SKO is not

SKO is about alignment, motivation, and culture. It’s less about sales training and more about culture building.

Your SKO event is a great platform to align your sales teams with your top priorities and strategies for the year. It’s a great way to get your sales teams aligned with your go to market. It’s a great way to introduce and launch new products.  Your SKO event is a motivational event. Celebrate successes. Celebrate wins. Motivate your sales teams to think bigger. Make this the biggest year of their careers.

Make networking and sharing best practices also a big part of SKO. Your bringing your reps together from around the world, make sure you leave time for reps to meet each other and network. The best things you can do is get your reps on stage telling their stories. I promise you everyone will be attentive and taking notes when their peers are sharing how they won their deals.

Engage Your Sales Teams

Don’t create a death by powerpoint SKO experience. Shift the energy of your event from keynotes to breakouts creating a flow where your reps are consuming content and also engaging with each other. Engage your sales teams before, during, and after your event.  Here are some examples:

1. Why not have your reps record their elevator pitches as prework and then use a peer scored leaderboard in a competitive, gamified way to celebrate successes and winning pitches?

2. Create storytelling competitive contests in your event where your reps tell a customer story and compete for a coveted best “storyteller” award.

3. Use mobile to push out questions and interact with your sales teams during your keynotes.

4. Create a team based deal/account simulation and have your reps create winning presentations for a real-life case study.

5. Once your sales teams depart home, convert your SKO highlights into mobile-enabled consumable videos and content.

Have a post SKO plan and monthly operational cadence

After investing so much money to bring your sales teams together, it’s a shame to not have a reinforcement strategy. Use your SKO event to introduce concepts and use weekly sales team meetings to reinforce. Take your big themes and priority topics and create a year calendar. Plan out your annual educational program starting with the themes the are created for your SKO event. Build out a monthly operational cadence mapping revenue and product competence themes to a sequenced calendar. For example, make January prospecting month. Make February executive relationship building month. Think about the most important thing you want your sales teams to do focus on and do every month and brand it.

Have a great SKO and reach out to the team at SalesHood if you’re interested in brainstorming ways to scale how you make your SKO even more engaging.

About the Author
Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.

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