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“I can’t believe it’s that time of the year again !”
Yes, 2020 was a year like none other. If you are like most companies, you are going to run your sales kickoff between Jan and Mar 2021, 70%  of B2B companies do so. But there is something different this year. The 2021 SKO is most likely virtual. Considering ~97% of companies conducted their SKO in person in previous years this is going to be a significant change for sales enablers and sales reps alike. Prepare now!
Let us take a quick look at things to avoid in the upcoming Virtual SKO
- Stacking it high: Win and loss reviews, Deal clinics, and training don’t have to be stacked-up on the same day as the SKO. With in-person SKOs, it made sense to have these sessions on the same day as people had already flown in for the event. With virtual SKOs this is not the case, conduct these sessions a week or two before the SKO.
- A Lack of Focus: What are the top 3 things you want sales reps to take away? Say it, repeat it, and repeat it again. 71% of sales reps noted Company vision, new information on products and services as the most learned in their SKO. Over 50% of respondents in the research of over 450 b2b sales reps said Prospecting and sales qualification is the most important among ales processes
- No Physical Activity: Add some physical activities in the mix, make it fun. (Tip: Ask your team to take a walk around the block and post pictures of their surroundings, Or get a Coffe from their favorite coffee shop)
- Mostly management talks: Sales folks want to hear from peers as much as they want to learn from management, Let them share their experiences, ideas, problems, and solutions.
- Long Sessions/ All Day Events: 36%  of meeting attendees are not paying attention after 45 Minutes. If keeping sales folks motivated in a swanky resort was hard imagine keeping them motivated in their home office with no happy hour to look forward to. (Tip: Consider the SKO week a few half-days spread over the week with clear objectives).
- Continuous Speaker Parade: Try to sandwich speaker sessions with moderated open mic sessions. (Tip: Break-rooms in tools like Zoom help break the larger group into smaller and more manageable teams in random order. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206476093-Enabling-breakout-rooms)
- Training on the Same Day: Training is critical, But the SKO is already heavy with information. Lead with a plan to train so the Sales team knows what to expect in the coming days.
- Isolated Event: The biggest mistake you could do is to treat the SKO as an isolated event. Rather use the SKO to set the stage for the year ahead and communicate things you will do.
- Sales Kickoff Research by VOR Research: https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/35287/file-13800348-pdf/docs/vorsight_research_paper_-_sales_kickoff_meetings.pdf
- Sales Benchmark Index: How market leaders use acceleration summits to make the 2020 number
- Relating Through Technology: Jeffery Hall