Secrets to a Kickass Sales Kickoff Meeting – Part 1

businessman kicking a football

Sales KickoffIf you have not started planning your annual Sales Kickoff Meeting you are probably a little late. The good news is that you definitely are not the only one behind the eight ball.  Because people often wait until the last minute to plan their Sales Kickoff Meeting they typically end up with a 2 day schedule that looks something like this:

  • Introduction
  • CEO: Rah-rah speech
  • VP of sales: Rah-rah speech about the next two days
  • 201X Year In Review
  • Marketing: New programs, drip campaigns, open rates, click throughs, etc.
  • Product marketing: New product release and demonstration (not training)
  • Sales teams: Share best deal closing stories
  • Evening activity & awards ceremony

Notice anything missing? How about something that the inside sales team or the field sales team can use beyond company-related information — sales training they can use to win more business? Whether you have Lead Generation, SDR Team, Inside Sales or Field Sales teams, real training is the most important part of any sales kickoff meeting.

Talk about wasting a golden opportunity! Here you have your Lead Generation Sales Team, Mid-Market Sales Team, and Enterprise Sales Team all in one place and you do nothing to improve their qualifying skills or closing ratios. Please do not misunderstand; everything previously mentioned is vital however it is a SALES KICKOFF MEETING– not a marketing kickoff, not a product kickoff, and most certainly not a sales process kickoff.

What I have often found is that people rush to this format because they cannot get out of their own way to structure a more meaningful SKO. Specifically they have great sales training ideas they would love to incorporate but due to time or actual lack of experience planning sales kickoff meetings it never materializes.

Below I outline the single most important part of producing a kickass sales kickoff meeting:

Secret 1 – Define the Behaviors You Want to Change

Possibly the single biggest mistake I see over and over again in mediocre SKOs is that sales leaders do not set up sales training to address the behaviors you want your sales team to change, improve or make happen.

Before you plan a single agenda item, you need to set the strategic vision and desired outcomes you expect from the sales team in the coming months/ quarters. We call this the 60,000′ View. Once this is determined, share this with the other content providers from marketing, engineering, sales ops, and other supporters. This will be the guiding statement to which all information will be created, flow, and shown to the sales team.

Unsure how to figure this out? Fill in the following statement:

After the kickoff the sales team should be able to ________, ______, and ____ better.

Of all the SKO’s I have planned, the best ones focused on the sales team being able to do the following:

  1. Increase quality volume into the funnel (aka – prospecting)
  2. Increase velocity through the funnel (aka – qualifying & closing)

It sounds simple but look at these two items compared to the original agenda, they don’t match up. Now remember this is the 60,000 foot view. Let’s get a little closer to the ground.

At the 30,000′ View you should take your first two goals and break them down into something more substantive and focus on specific skills and behaviors you want to change post-SKO, for example:

  1. Increase quality volume into the funnel
    1. Improving BANT prospecting skills
    2. Improving LISTENING skills
  2. Increase velocity through the funnel
    1. Improving PRESENTATION skills
    2. Improving NEGOTIATING skills
    3. Improving CLOSING skills

At the 10,000′ View, these modules typically become the training sessions. Please, please, please do not make this just a lecture format. Make sure you have engaging sessions led by a good facilitator.

  1. Increase quality volume into the funnel
  2. Improving BANT prospecting skills
    1. Training Module 1
    2. Training Module 2
  3. Improving LISTENING skills
    1. Training Module 1
    2. Training Module 2…and so on…

Interestingly, this is where some people stop. But I actually take it down to the 500 foot view

  1. Increase quality volume into the funnel
  2. Improving BANT prospecting skills
    1. Training Module 1
      1. Exercise
      2. Role Play
    2. Training Module 2
      1. Exercise
      2. Role Play  … and so on

A great by-product of the above outline is that once other content providers see the context of what they should be presenting, it makes them develop a stronger understanding of what the sales reps need, want, and use. As communications between the departments increase you can feel the sales DNA of the company grow stronger across the organization.

In many cases the content providers end up coming to the sessions other than the ones they built because it will be their best way to hear real-world stories that are happening in the marketplace outside your organization. This is something they always seem to ask for but never seem happy with what they get.

Remember that putting all of this in black and white will make the difference between a “good” sales kickoff meeting and a kickass one.

Need help with your sales kickoff meeting? Want to brainstorm a little?

Contact us.

You can read Secrest To A Kickass Sales Kickoff – Part 2 



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