SKO Sales Kickoff Ideas

Sales Kickoff IdeasIt is the time of year sales teams are huddling to plan for next year and depending on who is doing the planning, results will or will not be what is critical for your team’s success.

The sales kickoff event is not the time to simply focus on your products and services.

The sales kickoff is not the time to have senior executives go on and on about the vision of the future.

It is the time to have a very concise, organized plan on how to educate your sales team, inform them, and energize them for the coming year. It is a time for them to renew the “why” of why it is they work for you. It needs to be part of a continuous learning model since as adults we learn in bite-sized chunks with repetition and reinforcement.

And some leaders think it is just about explaining new products and services. This is SO wrong.

Just as the sales team focuses on buyers, the Sales Kickoff event needs to focus on the “wins” for the sellers being a part of your team, and how leadership is making improvements and strategic efforts for the company to be better – be a leader – or how you’ll stand above your industry counterparts better.

It’s a performance, not a boring meeting.

Yes, a performance. People remember stories, action, and movement.

That is WAY better than John from Product Management or Mary from Production speaking for a solid hour each (along with their 44 PowerPoint slides) discussing things that leadership believes matters. 

John could speak from a customer's point of view, and Mary could share how various customers "won" by working with your company as opposed to the competition. 

No one – especially today’s sellers – want boring talk after talk from this executive and then that executive. All. Day. Long. 

How Do You Make Your SKO More of a Performance?
Hire an Expert to Help.


Invite someone with improv training to be involved to lead the team in some great exercises throughout the event, or to be a keynote, or both – depending on your situation. Some of my favorite improv experts who do GREAT work with sales teams are:

Julie Hansen

Mike Ganino

Galen Emanuele

Any of them will help make your Sales Kickoff awesome and INTERACTIVE. By working with pros, no one will be just sitting and listening 

How can YOU do it? Here are a few ideas from our clients’ SKOs past and present:

Start with a Warm Up
-Do a “warm-up” activity (some people call them “ice-breakers”) where people learn about others in the company differently – by the travel they’ve done, or size of their family, or what they know outside of your business. 

Create small teams within the SKO
-to take on scenarios everyone might run into and give them a few hours during the event to work together to formally present a role play (performance) on one better way to engage buyers. I have worked with some great sales teams as a facilitator on this exercise – it is amazing and stays with everyone. Sometimes the small groups stay in touch after the event, which is fantastic for building cross-functional teams or knowledge sharing between offices. Ping me for more details on how we do this.

Hire an “in the trenches” sales speaker as your keynote
– someone who has been where your sellers are and who can offer fresh perspectives on how to grow sales – not just be inspirational. I don’t know about you, but when I was a seller I wanted to leave my Sales Kickoff  with a bigger vision AND new ideas in prospecting and reaching buyers.

Don’t Neglect the Skill Building
– even without a keynote from the outside you can craft some skill development that attendees will not forget for a long time. Get your top rep or sales leader to share 3 new ideas for everyone to take away – to grow top of funnel activity.

More great ideas are here from Mindtickle 14 Best Practices to Make Your Sales Kickoff a Success.

Whatever you plan, please make it fresh and relevant. Don’t do the same old things because if you do, you are showing your sales team that you don’t believe sales is changing in an ongoing way.

Need more ideas? Contact me to talk about ways to make your SKO the best one yet. 

NEED SOME HELP? Talk with Lori

Lori Richardson  helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals. Develop Sales Leaders

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