The typical in-person Sales Kickoff (SKO) looked very different this year – and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sales managers have come to realize that the re-envisioned virtual SKO has advantages, especially when it comes to measuring outcomes and reinforcing the themes they want to carry forward throughout the year. Yes, traditional SKOs were great for team building and networking opportunities. Companies spent millions getting sales reps together, and wining and dining them to conduct annual trainings. Then they sent their reps back to work. But how did we know if any of it made a difference? Did we change behaviors?
COVID-19 has accelerated the move from traditional classroom-based sales training to virtual training. Participants' experience with virtual has been mixed. The unfortunate and inconvenient truth is that virtual sales training has struggled for years to produce the desired outcomes and return on investment that many programs promise. Challenges include lack of participant engagement, poor retention of concepts, and failure to create lasting behavior change in the real world.
For decades, the annual Sales Kickoff (SKO) has served as the premier event for companies to bring their sales teams together to align around annual priorities and bond as a team. SKO agendas typically include the following elements:
In the span of a few weeks, the work world has shifted en masse from regular offices to working at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For sales organizations, this means moving everything to virtual, including training.
Many of our clients are concerned about how the evolving COVID-19 outbreak and related travel bans will impact their business, sales, and training initiatives. In the video below we address best practices in virtual and on-demand training.
One of the most important differentiators for any sales professional is how they sell. Given the importance of selling skills, it is natural to want to include sales training at an SKO. The challenge many companies face is that the agendas for SKOs are increasingly tight given the number of competing priorities. As a starting point, it is important to realize that an annual SKO serves multiple purposes including: