Sales Kick-Off (SKO) going virtual? Some tips for creating an engaging experience

Sales Kick-Off 2021 will soon be upon us, and this time , as we're all working from home

Sales Kick-Off (SKO) going virtual? Some tips for creating an engaging experience


Virtual SKO

Sales Kick-Off 2021 will soon be upon us, and this time , as we’re all working from home more, it’s highly likely to go virtual.

That’s why it’s imperative for you to know what engages and motivates people from a distance. How can you shift your salespeople’s mindset to align them with the strategy, objectives, process, content, and tools they need to succeed in 2021?

You can find out more about taking the lead in the aftermath of Covid-19 by watching our webinar.

Unique challenges

The annual SKO is your starting point for aligning your entire sales organization around your company mission, vision, strategy, and objectives. Just like previous years, your sales team will be wondering how they fit into your plans, and what you as sales leader are doing to support their effort and ensure they succeed. But things are different this year, because of restrictions on people meeting in person, in groups… at home, in the office, or anywhere you might normally go for a team event.  

Regular team-bonding activities and sessions are out of the question, because you’re not allowed to meet in larger groups. So what other activities can you arrange to build team spirit, and encourage and enthuse your sales reps?

5 steps to virtual SKO success

Step 1: Set clear objectives for your virtual SKO.

  • What’s the number one issue impacting sales efficiency that you need to address for the coming year?
  • What’s the main change or transformation you can implement to drive your sales organization forward?

Try to see the bigger picture when answering these questions. Working out how issues relates to your sales process will help you determine if need better planning, other talent…

Step 2: Define your program content.

Once you’ve set your objectives, you can use careful planning to make the most of your time and create content that aligns with your goals.

  • Ask yourself what questions your team are likely to have, and prepare your answers;
  • Can you arrange any hand-on exercises or breakout sessions?
  • How can you make these activities work in practice?

It’s worth running through your ideas in advance to iron out any issues that might arise and structure the SKO properly. Don’t forget: you also need to give your salespeople time to network or simply recharge sometimes.

Discuss all these questions and issues with your team, so they can help you find answers and make any necessary arrangements. Once you’ve formulated your SKO, you can reverse engineer the meeting.

Step 3: Find out what you can in advance.

  • Invite your salespeople to share customer success stories;
  • Record their best elevator pitches;
  • Provide team updates;
  • Etc.

Step 4: Encourage participants to get involved

  • Stimulate chat before, during, and after your keynote to gather questions and concerns from the floor;
  • Break out into virtual sessions so that people can discuss plans together.

Step 5: Outline what happens after the SKO

  • Work out the best way to ensure your plans for result-driven adoption and reinforcement are put into practice;
  • Think about execution and set up virtual sales initiatives to pave the way to success;
  • To improve your commercial performance by prioritizing your activities, read our checklist.

In summary

When asking yourself how a virtual SKO can drive results, it’s important to consider the following:

  • A virtual SKO is still a live event, so you still need to engage all attendees and make sure they get involved;  
  • The medium used to deliver the messages doesn’t change the outcomes – and the outcomes depend on shifting the mindset, explaining each salesperson’s the contribution, and following up implementation;  
  • The plan for what happens after the SKO is just as important as the event itself.  

Going virtual

To help you shift your usual SKO into a virtual one, you can consider shifting your SKO budgets for travel, accommodation, and networking into post-event sales effectiveness programs.

  • Investing in learning and coaching;
  • Develop the new insights required to carry out the new plan;
  • Focus on the skills that need to be reinforced;
  • Work out how to measure success.

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Eliseo Manfron

About Eliseo Manfron

Eliseo runs both in-person and distance workshops and coaching sessions for B2B sales and marketing teams to collaborate better and increase efficiency. Increased collaboration and situational programs make participants walk away with newly learned skills and the confidence to actually apply them in day-to-day situations. Get in touch with Eliseo for advice on how to enable the extended commercial team doing the right thing at the right time with the right people: eliseo.manfron@perpetos.com.