Sales Kickoff, and any sales training event, has a purpose: train and enable reps to hit the number. While it may be useful to bring everyone together, reps often fail to see the benefit of taking a week away from their pipeline. By building the right excitement, engagement, and commitment, reps are more likely to get something out of their time away.
- Create buzz leading up to the event. Barack Obama wouldn’t show up on election day having done nothing and expect to win. There was a lot of work that went into setting up for success on that all-important day. Create a drip marketing campaign leading up to the kickoff that releases a little more information each week. Get senior leaders involved with different communications to create variety and enthusiasm. Get reps talking.
- Assign bite-size pre-work. Creating a shared experience before everyone shows up at the sales kickoff will set a far different tone. Create a small assignment that’s every reps ticket into the event. Use the first few minutes of the sales kickoff to talk about the results and give reps a way to get involved early. This sets a very different tone for the event itself and offers a compelling reason to pay attention.
- Make peer participation core. Few reps want to learn solely from those who aren’t in the field – it simply feels like work! The Sales Leadership Council notes a 2% increase in sales training stickiness when peers do the teaching. “Social proof” is at play here, with reps observing how their fellow sellers succeed, practicing, and adapting these behaviors. All managers need to do at kickoff is direct and organize – let teams do the work themselves.
Peer-based training produces a 2% increase in trainining stickiness (via SEC)
- Make it actionable. What do reps want out of sales kickoff? A clear road to success.
To get them engaged, create working session focused on how to engineer to the number. Every rep should leave the event with a clear vision of what they need to do to be successful.
- Location, location, location. The tried and true practice is to hold kickoff in a resort or off-site, creating an atmosphere of exclusivity and retreat. And it works. However, even more important in this formula is separating work and kickoff. Make the event live outside of normal work functions, so that the focus and energy is exclusively on training. Without normal job distractions and with a clear sense of purpose and achievement, reps will be more engaged and energized. The goal is to have reps go back to the office cheering for the new year, not drained from pulling double duty.