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SKO: Planning and Prep for Success

Posted in:  Sales and Marketing Management, Sales Enablement Strategy

Is there any more exciting time of year for sales enablement pros, marketers, and sellers than sales kickoff? Your company’s SKO is inevitably a powerful opportunity for you to make an impact — including gaining alignment around the buyer’s journey across sales and marketing. Your company and products have evolved, and this year’s SKO should reflect that so everyone can jumpstart the year.

2018 SKO should look different from the one you did last year. Why?

Two reasons:

Yes, your goal may be the same, but how can you address these shifts? By structuring your SKO event around these shifts, you will be able to reach the evolving needs of the sales team.

Dive Deep on the Journey

It’s essential to dig deep into understanding the unique journey your buyers take when they select a product in your category. The sales team needs to develop a rich understanding of what that looks like. Often they understand key pieces, so this is an opportunity to tell that story as a whole. Marketing, relatedly, can provide a big picture view of how they are supporting that journey through content, programs, events, and more.

Acknowledge the Reality of SKO

It’s no secret that 80% of information is forgotten within 3 months of learning it. (Sales Benchmark Index). The reality is, you are going to need to be ready to keep that information fresh for the coming months so that it really sinks deep into the minds of your sales reps. As you are developing your SKO content, identify opportunities to remind and refresh information. The most primitive of these could be email — and that’s absolutely better than nothing — but you might also look at the impact of tools that provide contextual training. Many Highspot customers achieve this by maintaining their training videos, decks, and other internal-facing materials right next to the buyer-facing materials the rep will be sending.

Help Reps Help Themselves

We all know plenty of sales reps who rely on each other for tips and best practices. And that’s a great thing! Don’t think of that as being in opposition to your SKO goals. In fact, it’s going to help you succeed. Companies are empowering sales reps more than ever before. 89% of high-performing sales professionals say that empowerment of sales has increased over the past five years — 2.1 times more so than under-performers, according to Salesforce Research.

Smart sales enablement professionals (including the sales team members and marketers who manage sales enablement) facilitate this knowledge-sharing in a sales-friendly way. This could be part of your SKO event — sales teams generally love the opportunity to interact as part of the event, and not just sit and listen to speakers on stage. Take it one step further after SKO and make this kind of knowledge-sharing part of your sales content management and sales enablement platform. Artificial intelligence ensures that the right content is recommended to the rep, so hard data is diving those decisions — not just anecdotes.

SKO is your best chance to energize your sales teams for the coming year. 2018 will likely be challenging, with continued evolution of the ways buyers interact with sales reps. However, with leadership and alignment of your sales, marketing and sales enablement teams, this year will also be the best one yet.