Back to Basics: Benefits of a Sales Kickoff

Thinking about hosting a sales kickoff meeting but not sure whether your company needs one? Already host an annual SKO, but tired of paying to fly everyone in for the event? Feel like your sales kickoff agenda needs updating – and as though you, too, could use a refresher on how best to pull off a successful SKO?

Good news: this is precisely what we will discuss in this post. A sales kickoff is a critical event that sets the tone for the year, aligns your team, ensures everyone is working toward the same company goals, and more, but do you know the sales kickoff benefits?

Accordingly, let’s go back to basics and discuss why this event is essential, the perks of an SKO, how to plan a sales kickoff that works, and how to include everyone that matters without breaking the bank. Grab your cup of coffee, a notebook, and a thinking cap. It’s time to get started!

 

Sales Kickoff 101: What is It?

Let’s begin with the sales kickoff basics. The sales kickoff meeting is an annual event to align the entire sales team with company goals, strategies, and products and services. Attendees usually include the entire sales team - leadership, managers, and sales reps - and teams that support sales, such as marketing and product. Typical components of a sales kickoff include:

  • Sharing wins from the previous year
  • Learning lessons and applying them to the current year
  • Motivating teams with incentives and success stories
  • Outlining strategies and systems
  • Introducing new products and services
  • Introducing any new technologies you’re onboarding

This entire crash course in everything sales-related is a great way to align everyone in sales and bring energy to your efforts. 

 

5 Key Benefits of a Sales Kickoff Meeting

Because it brings the entire team together to take stock of wins, losses, goals, and strategies, the benefits of a sales kickoff can’t be understated. Here are some of the most important.

1. Bring Focus to the Year
The beginning of the fiscal year is when most companies implement new go-to-market approaches. This may include marketing and sales campaigns, products and services, or incentive strategies. An SKO aims to introduce and institutionalize these new ways of working.

2. Build Relationships and Trust
When planning your sales kickoff meeting agenda, chances are good you want to dig deep into the marketing campaigns, the sales strategy, and the products and services. But you can’t focus solely on the go-to-market plan. Another of the most important benefits of a sales kickoff is building trust and camaraderie among your employees, from top brass to the newest hire. Therefore, make sure your sales kickoff is also an opportunity to:

  • Share views from different regions, business units, and seniority levels
  • Collaborate
  • Network

3. Harness Emotion
While we all want to believe we make decisions based on pure logic, this is rarely the case. Psychologists estimate that as many as 80 percent of our decisions are driven by emotion rather than reason. Those who ignore this fundamental truth do so at their peril. Risking their employees’ happiness as well as their customers’ trust and loyalty.

Consider inviting customers to your sales kickoff to discuss their buying journey. What led them to select your product or service? What were their obstacles? Who influenced the buying decision, and why? Getting inside your customers’ heads can help your sales team position your products and services. It can also ensure your marketing department understands your buyer personas and promotes the right value propositions and targeting messaging to the right audience.

4. Generate Energy
Giving your sales team the information, tools, and incentives they need to succeed builds energy. If you want better sellers, you need people who believe in your products, want to bring those products to the world, and know they will be rewarded for their efforts. Ensure your sales kickoff agenda includes product demonstrations, CRM and other technology training, and an overview of an incentive plan.

5. Align Goals for the Year
Goal alignment is a critical aspect of the sales kickoff meeting. Your sales kickoff is an opportunity to outline exactly what you expect from the year and how each individual contributes.

How to Plan a Sales Kickoff the Right Way

Now you know the why … but what about the how? Here’s the basic rundown on sales kickoff meeting planning. Make sure to give yourself a few months to plan to maximize success at your kickoff.

Step 1: Prioritize
When planning your sales kickoff, throwing everything onto the agenda is tempting, but the truth is you don’t have time. Therefore, speak with decision-makers at your company ahead of time. Decide which are the most important topics to cover at your kickoff. These usually include the targets your company needs to hit, the systems you need to use, the markets you hope to expand, etc.

Step 2: Create a Balanced Agenda
Avoid talking at your sales team. Leave plenty of time for relationship-building and fun. A balanced agenda will include the following:

  • Informational sessions to introduce new products, services, sales approaches, and systems
  • Collaborative workshops or breakout sessions 
  • Entertainment and networking events
  • Showcase events where you can recognize star sellers or other notable figures

Step 3: Involve your Team in the Planning
This isn’t a case of “If you want something done, you have to do it yourself.” It’s essential to involve your entire sales team in the planning and take their opinions into account from the beginning. They will have an insight you don’t have, so make sure to solicit their opinions upfront.

Step 4: Leverage Technology
If you want to save money, consider building a remote virtual office using a virtual event platform for your sales kickoff meeting. This allows you to bring everyone together in one place, in an organized and user-friendly way, without the expense of flights or hotels. It’s one of the best ways to create more sustainable events and is easier and less expensive.

Step 5: Plan Follow-Up Meetings
Go-to-market plans often change mid-year as market dynamics shift, products innovate, and new personnel are hired. To keep your sales team informed and motivated throughout the year, plan smaller-scale, follow-up meetings - perhaps once a quarter. Use this time to provide updates, brainstorm, answer questions, and realign as necessary.

 

Plan Your Virtual Sales Kickoff Today

When you account for the many benefits of a sales kickoff meeting and the relative ease with which you can plan a global event, there’s really no reason not to hold a sales kickoff, even if you’ve never done so before. Happily, you have endless options for planning virtual sales kickoff events. From using a virtual venue to augment in-person events to holding all-virtual and hybrid events, many event tech integrations are available to optimize the event experience. 

Here at 6Connex, our goal is to help you reimagine your physical office, transforming disparate locations worldwide into a single, seamless virtual environment. With our state-of-the-art technology at your fingertips, you can increase productivity and easily bring a global workforce together while decreasing expenses. 

Want to learn more about the possibilities for your next sales kickoffs? Request a virtual event platform demo to learn more about the many virtual event products and virtual event solutions from 6Connex.

Watch our on-demand webinar and join our brilliant speakers: Ruben Castano, 6Connex CEO, and Luiz Martins, 6Connex CMO, who will share best practices for organizing successful SKOs that keep teams engaged throughout the year.

 


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