By: Ray Makela on February 5th, 2021
You Had a Great Sales Kickoff Meeting – What Now?
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?
This year we can better address those questions through follow-up trainings and accountability plans in the weeks and months ahead by following a successful virtual sales kickoff.
Going Beyond the SKO
The amount of information packed into SKOs has always been daunting. No matter how relevant and useful the presentations are, there is inevitably too much to retain and internalize. In particular, new offerings need to be reinforced with ongoing learning opportunities. Looking ahead to the near future, continued check-ins and training around virtual selling techniques will be paramount.
To keep SKOs alive, sales managers’ first step is to put a plan in place to revisit all of the topics they want to address. What happens in 30, 60, or 90 days? Will check-ins be monthly or quarterly? How large will the cohorts be? How will the classes get together?
We suggest starting with a common goal and set of objectives for each virtual learning cohort. Take the material that would have been condensed into two days at an in-person SKO and unpack it. Design an activity they have to complete together. Require everyone to go out and apply what they have learned on the job, then provide opportunities for them to report back on their experiences.
We’ve said this before, but we can’t emphasize it enough: The more participants are able to consume content at their own pace, collaborate with their peers in meaningful ways, and then apply the skills to real-life situations, the more likely you are to create lasting behavior change.
An Impactful Sales Training Platform
All of the steps laid out above require a training platform that’s engaging, scalable, and customizable. When we launched SRG’s Collaborative Learning Experience (CLX), we kept in mind that no two sales organizations have the same needs, so our platform combines eLearning, virtual instructor-led training, and learner collaboration, allowing you to create a highly effective exerience for your teams.
Adult learning theory posits that we learn by doing and by reflecting on what we’ve done. The more we collaborate and learn from each other, the better. With a collaborative online platform, it’s possible to create a satisfying program that aligns with participants’ learning styles. Our CLX includes six different training methods:
- Micro video lessons
- Real-world applications
- Live online sessions
- Spaced learning
Let’s look at a common scenario and how it might be handled: A sales rep runs into price objections. Along with delivering information about the various forms of price objection and how to respond them, the training can provide examples and foster discussion. The situation can be gamified, providing the sales rep with a healthy sense of competition while earning points and badges – and ongoing reinforcement of the principles they’ve learned.
Collaborative learning platforms lend themselves to keeping participants engaged after the session and keeping the SKO process alive. You might even be surprised to find that by motivating, educating, and connecting with your sales reps, virtual SKOs support the team building and networking that are such a vital and fun part of in-person SKOs.
About Ray Makela
Ray Makela is CEO and Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He oversees all client engagements as well as serves as a senior facilitator on sales management, coaching, negotiation and sales training workshops. Ray has over 20 years of management, consulting, and sales experience and writes frequently on best practices for coaching and developing sales teams.