SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform

What Will Your SKO Vibe Be?

  • by Elay Cohen
  • January 19, 2015

It’s the beginning of the year. You’re getting ready for a Sales Kick Off (SKO) event. Agendas are being pulled together. Decks are coming to life. Case studies are being written. Product managers are getting ready to launch new products. Marketers are rolling out new pitches. Dinner menus are being planned. Bands are being hired. And the list goes on and on.

Take a moment and ask yourself:

What vibe do you want to create?

How do you want your sellers thinking and feeling?

How are you going to motivate your sellers to think bigger?

I know this. Vibe motivates actions. After attending many Oracle SKOs and running over twenty-five SKO events at Salesforce, I can humbly say I’ve seen the light when it comes to how vibe can deliver results. A good SKO vibe is one that inspires creativity, projects confidence and celebrates success. Think fun. Every story and activity should be action-oriented and tied back to revenue. If you can capture this energy in your event vibe, revenue will follow.

Know What SKO Is and What It’s Not

SKO is about rep confidence, 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 top priorities, product announcements and go to market strategies. It’s a motivational event. Celebrate wins. Motivate your sales teams to think bigger. Make 2015 the biggest year of their careers.

You can’t do this with a parade of executives reading Power Point slides that are poorly written and rich with statistics that have no relevance to how a seller is going to kill their number.

Engage Sales Teams

Shift the energy of your event from keynotes to breakouts creating a flow where your reps are engaging with content and also engaging with fellow peers. Here are some proven ideas for workshops that sellers appreciate and score very high:

Engagement Idea #1: Have your reps record their elevator pitches as pre-work. Have reps watch and score pitches before the event. Make a recorded elevator pitch the cost of entry to your SKO. Use a peer scored leader board to crowdsource top pitches. Celebrate the best pitches by showing the top ones at SKO.

Engagement Idea #2: Create storytelling competitive contests in your event where sellers tell a customer story in a speed dating format and compete for a coveted best “storyteller” award.

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

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

Engagement Idea #5: Once your sales teams depart home, convert your SKO highlights into mobile-enabled consumable videos and content. Use your event to introduce concepts and use weekly sales team meetings to reinforce.

Your Sales Kick Off Event Check List

(You can apply this checklist to small or large events.)

  1. Always have high-energy music playing during breaks.
  2. If 30 minutes have gone by and you haven’t heard a deal win or customer story, grab the mic and share one.
  3. Have a fun team event.
  4. Make networking a priority and purposeful.
  5. Leave room for breaks.
  6. Use round-tables so sellers can face each other and have real conversations.
  7. Have healthy snacks.
  8. Have a post SKO plan and monthly operational cadence.
  9. Have fun.
  10. Don’t try and jam too much into the agenda.

You don’t need to spend millions to have a great SKO event. Some music, less slides and more engagement will make any experience a memorable one for your teams. Have a great event and an amazing 2015.

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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