“Today’s sales teams have transformed more in the past 3 years than in the past 3 decades. So why would you run a sales kickoff like you’ve always done?”Shayne Jackson, Gartner
If you had a sales kickoff (SKO) in December or January, it may be the last thing on your mind as you plan for Q2. But now is the perfect time to think about maximizing the ROI of the event – after it’s all wrapped up.
As VP of Sales, how do you know whether your SKO hit the mark? What metrics are you tracking? And how do you ensure next year's event is a spectacular success?
Organizing an annual sales kickoff is an intensive undertaking. You’ve poured energy and money into these events. You arranged guest speakers, designed training materials, coordinated logistics, and more.
But despite these efforts, sales reps often leave SKOs feeling uninspired and confused. Even when the event succeeds in motivating and energizing a sales team, it doesn’t always translate into changed behavior or improved performance.
B2B sales reps forget 70% of their training within a week, and 87% will forget what they learned within 30 days.
The last few years have been tough for sellers. It’s more important than ever to ensure your sales teams feel appreciated and supported. But a big-ticket annual SKO should accomplish more than that – it should make a meaningful difference in sales reps’ efforts, aligned with company goals.
So how do you know if your SKO was a success? The answer lies in impact measurement.
Why you should measure the success of your sales kickoff
Too often, sales leaders put SKOs in a vacuum. They view the start as the point attendees enter the building and see the finish as the moment the last speaker turns off their mic.
SKOs start the new sales year – a time to set intentions, roll out new initiatives and equip sales reps with the skills they need to achieve sales excellence.
Your SKO is the starting point, but the real work begins once the event is over.
You want your event to have a lasting impact and stay in the minds of team members throughout the year. Yet, just 13% of sales training is retained after 30 days. To drive long-term behavioral change, you need to provide ongoing reinforcement and education to your sales reps for your SKO.
You'll want to track key metrics to ensure that your team members follow through with the plans.
Post-sales kickoff: The metrics that matter
To set your sales team up for success throughout the year, you need to understand how they perform in real-time. By gaining insights into what's working and what’s not, you can offer tailored support.
This individualized approach is more effective while also making your team members feel more motivated and appreciated.
You should first gain clarity on your expectations. Break down your post-SKO measurement strategy into monthly or quarterly milestones:
- What do you want sellers to achieve in the months after the SKO?
- What behaviors are you looking for?
- What offers or products are your key sales focus?
From there, you can put your metrics in place, focusing on the following:
Leading indicators are forward-looking. They help predict future performance and keep you on track toward strategic objectives. Leading indicators you may want to measure include:
- Pipeline volumes
- Number of new deals per sales representative
- Each team member's closing ratio
By keeping an eye on these, you'll build a more robust picture of your sales pipeline and can tailor the support you give sales reps.
Lagging indicators provide concrete insights into sales team performance. Of course, you'll want to measure overall results like:
- Deal velocity
But you should also focus on more granular metrics that reflect your SKO. Depending on your objectives, this could include factors like:
- Tool usage
- Process adherence
- Market penetration
Your SKO is a chance to reinvigorate your sales reps, but the focus on motivation and inspiration should continue all year. To retain top talent and drive growth, measure employee morale. Regularly checking in with your team members about their emotional well-being is a good starting point.
Consider ways you can help your team manage stress levels. For example, sales enablement apps like Pitcher reduce the burden of repetitive tasks, so your team can achieve more while gaining back valuable time.
Use of ongoing training resources
Analyzing training resource usage helps you understand whether your sales force takes on board the key messaging from your SKO.
Deploy a training solution your sellers will actually use to keep engagement high throughout the year. Pitcher coaching, for example, provides ongoing, personalized coaching, training, and reinforcement to sales reps. It can help your team members meet their targets while keeping them aligned with your company's strategy.
By collating these data points, you'll understand how impactful your SKO was. You can then use these insights to fortify your strategy, providing sales reps with the just-in-time training and tools they need for year-round success.
How to level up your next sales kickoff
Your SKO should be an exercise in continuous improvement. The metrics you gather throughout the year are not only helpful for maintaining momentum. They can be used to enhance next year's kickoff too.
We all know just how quickly the months can fly by. With that in mind, here are some foundations to make next year's SKO your best.
Invest in tools that empower your people
The majority of sales organizations considered “high performing” rate themselves as effective users of data analytics. Sales enablement tools like Pitcher empower your sales reps with digital sales aids, and automated, personalized content, so they can work faster, smarter, and, ultimately, generate more sales.
Investing in an intelligent solution now sets the stage for your next SKO to shout about it, thanks to boosted sales performance and higher levels of customer engagement.
Harness insights for inspiration
When you choose an app like Pitcher, you gain access to granular performance, analytics, and reporting capabilities. This enables you to assess team performance and buyer engagement effortlessly.
You can use this data to plan a highly contextual and relevant SKO that inspires and motivates employees. For example, you could use performance insights as the basis for an awards initiative that recognizes top sellers, or help team members overcome common selling obstacles through a bespoke training session.
Embrace intelligent coaching and training
Sales reps often comment that they feel blindsided when they walk into an SKO. They don't know what to expect, feel underprepared, and experience information overload. This makes it harder to realize the full value of learning and development sessions.
Combat this issue by preparing, coaching, and training your sales force prior to your sales kickoff. Consider updating your training content in the weeks before the event, so your sales team can familiarize themselves with new techniques and messaging.
Ideally, you'll use a platform that enables training anywhere, anytime, so your people can learn at a pace that suits them.
There's no time like the present
A great SKO strategy can pay dividends throughout the year. By taking a big-picture approach to kickoff planning and execution and harnessing the power of a sales enablement tool, you'll empower your sales team to achieve more and spur revenue growth.
Ready to make the most out of your SKO? Learn more about how Pitcher can help your sales team thrive all year round.
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