The year is winding down, and setting sights on the new year is upon us. You know the drill—resolutions for a healthier, more productive life. Personal goals to get fit, take a bucket-list trip, or worry less. Whatever it is, 2023 is finally the year we keep up with our resolutions beyond February, right?
While most of us focus on our personal lives as we ring in the new year, it’s also a time for us to set professional goals. And for us sales folks, the timing is perfect as we look ahead to our annual sales kickoffs (SKO).
The past few years have likely looked a bit different for your annual SKO, with less focus on a flashy location and massive gathering. Are you ready to get back to it? Set this year's SKO up right, so your reps can take the market by storm!
As with any SKO, attention, and engagement is critical for success. Here’s what you need to know to make your 2023 sales kickoff —and your 2023 sales—a success:
1. Keep Your Sessions Short
Attention spans are short. So follow suit and keep your sessions short. An agenda filled with back-to-back 45-minute sessions is deadly—and your reps won't retain the information from those lengthy sessions. Mix things up—consider breakout sessions that facilitate discussion and participation, Q&As with sales leaders, some team-building activities, and a few much-needed breaks throughout the day.
2. Mix It Up
Avoid death by PowerPoint. Look for interactive, multimedia ways to engage and inspire your audience. Think video, audio, guest speakers, and graphics that engage the senses.
3. Aim for Interaction with Your Team
The longer your event, the more you must try to involve your participants. Ask questions and field the answers you get live. Play games with your team to build connection. Encourage participation with polls, gamify, ask questions and insert trivia. And if you have virtual attendees, leverage the chat and polls feature. Engage with your audience, soliciting and publishing feedback, suggestions, tips, and comments as your sessions progress.
4. Include Happy Customers
Nothing like a happy and enthused customer to seal the belief in your product or service. Sales kickoff is your chance to share wins and key successes from the past year. One effective way to do this is to invite a satisfied customer to join your meeting. Treat it like a sit-down interview. Have one of your sales leaders ask the customer to:
- Describe their experience with your brand.
- Explain why they chose you.
- Elaborate on how you compare with your competitors.
- Outline the best practices that your sales team used (or didn’t use) to win their account.
5. Add Buyer Conversations to Your SKO
Your salespeople are in the business of starting and continuing conversations with buyers. Every opportunity that ends with a contract starts with a conversation. Use your sales kickoff to teach your sellers how to begin and have these conversations. Remember that the tools and techniques that worked in the past may not work as well today. Customers expect sellers to help them in their decision-making—with a real focus on their specific business pains that need to be solved. Introduce your sellers to tools that enable meaningful engagement with buyers. More on that below...
6. Get Face Time with Tech Leaders
Your 2023 sales kickoff is the perfect time to introduce your team to new technology. One of the biggest we predict for 2023 and beyond? Sales or revenue enablement technology.
If you are looking to implement a sales enablement platform in 2023, for example, invite a subject matter expert from a top vendor to your meeting. Give your team a chance to get face-to-face with someone who can answer their questions about the benefits of a digital sales tool. It will help get buy-in, and field questions and concerns straight from the source.
7. Don't Tell. Show.
While we're on the topic of sales enablement technology, the best way to help your sales team see what it is, how it works, and how it helps them compel conversations with content, is to invite a vendor to conduct a live demo during one of your sessions. Make it interactive. Give your team opportunities during and after the demo to ask questions and request that the presenter demonstrates any functionality vital to your team’s success.
8. Check Your Tech
The only thing worse than a sales kickoff program that never ends is one that never starts. Live events present a host of opportunities for things to go wrong. To avoid any disasters on your day, check and double-check your tech. Make sure your audio files, videos, cameras, computer hardware, presentations, desktop sharing, software demos, Internet connection, and other technology will work as you intend on the big day.
9. Record Your Sales Kickoff to Use Year-Long
One big advantage of hosting a sales kickoff is recording the entire event. This gives you hours of material you can repurpose into bite-size training and educational modules throughout the coming year. Parse long presentations, Q&A sessions, and product demos into smaller modules— then upload these to your sales enablement platform to speed up onboarding, reinforce training, and boost win rates.
Don't Forget to Add Sales Enablement to Your 2023 SKO Agenda!
Hosting a successful sales kickoff is all about engagement. You must deliver a program that engages your audience, and inspires them to engage with your buyers. So, keep your sessions short, mix up your media, encourage interaction, invite vendors and customers to your event, and aim for a day that increases the quality of your sellers' conversations with prospects.
By the way, Modus is the sales enablement platform hundreds of sales and marketing professionals use worldwide to engage with buyers. You can even use it as a platform to drive your 2023 sales kickoff.