Secrets to a Kickass Sales Kickoff Meeting – Part 2

Sales kickoffIn the last blog post, I revealed the first secret to an awesome sales kickoff (SKO) — determining which behaviors you want to change, and then building the event based on those goals.

Here, I will discuss the last two tips to creating a SKO that will actually make a difference with your sales team training, rather than one that is merely an excuse to party.

Secret 2: Maintain Two-Way Communication
Ever had the cancerous sales rep who is just a dream crusher at your SKO? They love to complain but never love to contribute positively? They love to play the victim and blame everyone else. Sound familiar? Want to know something? Their attitude is as much your fault as it is theirs.

All relationships rely on two way communication. As human beings, we need to feel heard, be validated, and ultimately respected. For most they cherish respect more so than being liked, hence their cancerous attitude and tone of voice. They don’t care if you don’t like their attitude. It’s because they have not felt heard that they are acting this way. I will actually dig deeper on this thought in another blog post.

At typical SKOs, communication is one way: from CEO to sales reps, from VP of Sales to reps, from marketing to reps. Give your sales team some ownership to the SKO and everyone will benefit greatly. Ask for your sales teams’ feedback at the very beginning. Communicate with them through the creative process. In some cases you can even ask them to build content, lead a session or a group discussion.

It’s easy to involve your reps early, and by doing so, give them a sense of ownership of the event. Here are some tips:

a.) Get feedback from the sales team about what they want to learn, whether it’s more product knowledge, better tactics, better marketing tools, better sales skills. You can easily gather their input via a 10-question survey using online tools like SurveyMonkey. I’ve seen companies improve year after year with this strategy.

b.) Ask them this question: “If you could have 3 things that would help you do your job starting on January 1st, what would they be?” Get them to open up about what would help them succeed. Stress that no answer is too outrageous.

c.) Follow up with the reps to ask for greater details beyond the surface pain they are feeling. Why do they need these things? How will these things help them do their job better?

d.) As you build out the Sales Kick Off, continue getting feedback from the top sales reps by asking them if they think the structure and the sessions make sense. Ask a few junior reps as well — they will appreciate the opportunity to be involved.

Do not assume you know what the sales team needs. You probably only know about 40% of their needs — and only what they want you to know. They may have asked for things over and over again without getting any response, and thus stopped asking altogether. (Cue the cancerous rep).

So keep an open mind and really listen to what they say. And you’ll be amazed how the sales team reacts.

Secret 3: Stop teaching the sales’ cycle- teach the buyers’ cycle
Sadly, everyone calls it sales training. But it’s not actually sales training, it’s BUYER TRAINING.

You need to teach your sales team how people buy.

Everything that is ever bought or sold is done an emotional level. From the simplest Bic ballpoint pen to luxury items like Louis Vuitton bags. People buy what they like, not just from whom they like.

When you teach a team to sell, all you are often teaching them objection handling. Teaching your team the buyer’s journey will open their eyes and their prospects’ wallets in a meaningful win-win situation.

Often times this is where I have come in to provide support. We focus on teaching the buyers’ journey. Not just their process, but the specific triggers and emotional components that go into making a purchasing decision. Whether it is hardware, software or Saas the emotional triggers needed for buying are all the same. So make sure you include sessions that focus on your different buyer personas. Get your top sales reps to present deal-closing stories that underscore how each type of persona reacts. Invite guest speakers who can talk about psychology or persuasion or sociology.

As stated at the beginning of this two-part post, the SKO is your opportunity to gather your reps together and give them something they can actually use to close more sales.

If you want to create an awesome sales kickoff, then it needs to be more than just a rah-rah event full of bravado, glitter, and top-down communication. A truly successful sales kickoff entails actionable goals, sales rep participation and input, and of course, time enough to learn about your Buyers’ journey.

Need some ideas for your upcoming Sales Kickoff? Contact us


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