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The Ultimate Guide To a Successful Sales Kickoff In 2023

Posted in:  Sales and Marketing Management, Sales Training, Coaching, and Onboarding

From global pandemics to economic crises, no business is a stranger to the tough climate of today’s corporate world. 

Prepping your teams for unexpected change and equipping them with the tools they need to overcome obstacles, accomplish their goals and be smarter, stronger and faster than the competition has never been more important.

So, how can sales leaders ignite the passion that their salespeople had when they first started? The answer is a sales kickoff (SKO). 

A sales kickoff is an opportunity to get your entire sales team together to celebrate the previous year’s success and learn new strategies to start the year off right. It’s the difference between having a sales team that’s fired up, productive, and hitting their quota, over one that lacks motivation, clear visibility into the company strategy and minimal hunger to deliver on their goals.

If you’re planning an SKO for 2023 we’ve compiled the key ingredients, tips and best practices you need to ensure success.

Create a winning SKO agenda

The fear of pulling the entire sales team out of the field for hours of training may feel like a risky move to most sales leaders. After all, that’s valuable time that could be spent on working deals. However, the advantages and value of having your salespeople working toward the same objectives as soon as the year kicks off can be far more valuable than leaving them in the field and skipping training. An SKO is more than just a sales training event. It’s the one time a year when sales leaders can equip their entire team with the vision and guidance they’ll need to succeed.

Having a solid agenda ensures time is maximised and gains buy-in. When you have a focused agenda that’s aligned with the company’s goals and strategy, it helps wider team members to understand the value of being off the field and generates excitement for what’s in store.

Looking for inspiration on what to include? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • A year in review: Kick off the event on a high with a review of last year’s numbers, the highlights, major company milestones, and product developments.

  • Salespeople want to learn what the top people at the company did so they can achieve the same success. These stories are both inspiring and insightful. Hosting one or two panels with your highest-performing sellers to discuss their biggest deals and touching on specifics such as how they started the sales conversation, how the process went, which obstacles they encountered, and how they got past them is a great way to share best practices.

  • Successful salespeople never stop learning, so give them plenty of insights and new techniques to try in the new year. If you’ve prepared specific sales plays for the changing market conditions in your industry or upcoming product feature releases. An SKO is a great opportunity to walk teams through what to say, show and do.

Another key part to maximising SKO time is by making sure that all the essential information and details ranging from what to expect, to FAQs, to what actions participants need are all communicated in advance.

When you take the time to craft a solid agenda and provide your attendees with everything they need in advance, not only will you fire teams up, you’ll also ensure that your attendees are prepared to get the most out of the event.

Maximise the power of the record button

SKOs can contain a lot of information to digest in one go and 80% of information is forgotten within 3 months of learning it. (Sales benchmark Index). Equipping sellers with post-event replays to ensure the learnings don’t live and die within the walls of the event is an essential ingredient for success.

Providing sellers with access to role-specific, searchable resources from the event drives reinforcement and engagement.

A simple way to do this is to chop up clips of your SKO into shorter videos and build them into a powerful training workflow. Providing your sellers with access to these micro-session recordings will ensure that your teams fully absorb the key information provided and that the learnings live on post the event.

How to measure success

When it comes to measuring the impact of an SKO, there is no one silver bullet, so it is important to view measurement through a number of lenses to continually optimise your approach for future events.

Here are some key metrics to keep track of:

GTM confidence metrics

Create an annual sales confidence survey to get a holistic view of skills gaps and identify where you need to invest in further learning or resources to drive confidence and help teams level up.

Event play scorecard

Measure the usage of resources given before, during, and after an event to see who’s utilising them, and how. Keeping track of what courses your sellers have taken helps you to continue to execute and apply the key learnings from the event.

Certification and badging

Rewarding your sellers with certificates and badges provides a measurable impact of accountability and a visual for the learnings of all teams, helping to drive engagement, enthusiasm and a sense of achievement.

Leading indicators

Assess the behaviours that indicate if the content has been effective such as messaging adoption, tool usage, and pipeline growth. This helps you to articulate the value of the SKO and understand how your events drive new and different conversations with customers.

An SKO to remember

There’s no denying it. SKOs help to boost morale, build team trust and ensure that your entire organisation understands the priorities and roadmap for the year ahead. Each sales team is unique; however, if you follow these guidelines, your salespeople won’t just absorb a lot of value from your sales kickoff — they’ll enjoy it, too.

Access the On-Demand Webinar

Discover how you can drive maximum engagement for your go-to-market teams with a modern SKO. Watch this on-demand webinar with Highspot experts Annie Lizenbergs, Sr. Director of Enablement (L&D), and Jessica Boyd, Sr. Manager, Revenue Enablement (Programmes).