Better SKOs Start Here

Tips for creating impactful sales kickoffs

Keep the Kickoff Going

“The sales kickoff shouldn’t just be a light switch,” said Caitlin Begg of Authentic Social. “Some companies turn it on, have the conversations and turn it off.” The kickoff creates a mindset that is sustained throughout the year. “You do some things that are more collaborative and cross- functional. When you get back to the everyday, you figure out how to create ways to make sure that everything you went over goes on every day without interrupting people’s flow and work.”

Resist the Temptation to Go Virtual

Scott Fristachi, a sales leader for Extu who works from his Long Island home office, is indicative of today’s remote work force. “I miss the buzz of a ‘bullpen.’ I miss the camaraderie and the people next to you high-fiving and hearing about what they’re accomplishing.

“If a company has the budget to hold an SKO in person, 100 out of 100 times they should do it in person. There are just things you can do in person that you can’t do virtually.”

Prework Aligns and Engages DocuSign Teams

To drive both active learning and active partici- pation at kickoff, teams at DocuSign were asked to answer two questions with a recorded video story in their SalesHood platform. Their teams re- sponded by recording hundreds of motivational stories. Engagement was high with thousands of views and peer reviews. Goals for the year were set publicly. The virtual high-fiving of learning and sharing goals was a great way to get their teams aligned and doing the best work possible.

Source: SalesHood Guide to the Ultimate Sales Kickoff

Checking Your SKO List Twice

Brightspot, a Texas-based events and incentive company, uses a checklist to help its clients cover all the bases when planning a sales kickoff. It includes the expected, such as size of budget, overall goals, audience demographics and meeting space needs. It also has some planning points that are not as obvious:

Theme – It’s not just for prom dances. Themes can be mental hooks that tie together strategies and actionable goals. A theme can help you incorporate humor and actually increase retention of information.

Event App – In conjunction with SKO prework and strong pre-event communication, an event app can increase engagement and build anticipation.

Keynote speaker – Yes, company leaders should address the team. But a carefully selected keynote speaker can bring the right combination of motivation, inspiration and provocation.

Location, location, location – Going offsite emphasizes the importance of the meeting. Space needs and budget will drive a lot of the decision on location. It shouldn’t be as posh as a President’s Club incentive travel destination. Avoiding a site that has a lot of outside entertainment options can help minimize attendee distractions.

Take the SKO on the Road

If your company’s budget doesn’t allow for bringing a national sales team together in one location, take your SKO on the road, advises SalesHood CEO Elay Cohen. It’s a lot more affordable to bring eight to 10 key players to regional offices for a couple days and you can still achieve many of the same goals.


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