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3 Things your SKO (sales kick-off) needs

Updated: Mar 14

It's beginning to look a lot like… sales kick-off season?


We are quickly approaching the holiday season (no shame here, I've already started decorating), so 2021 will be gone in the blink of an eye. From a planning standpoint, most of us are well into thinking about next year - where we will play, how we will win. An important part of that is getting your team on board with your plan so you can all work together to achieve it.


Many of our clients have annual kick-off meetings for their sales teams (SKOs) or their overall team. This is a great practice, as long as it's used effectively. If it's just a going-through-the-motions-feel-good exercise, do yourself a favor and save the T&E (or screentime).


If you want a great kick-off meeting, here are three things that it needs to do:


Inform: Your sales people should not be expected to be experts in your organizational strategy. That's your job. Whether your strategy has changed or not (that's a topic for another day), this is a great time to point your sales team in the right direction. Where should they be focused this year? Are there new or changing markets they should pursue? Have we added new products or services? Do we have different compelling examples of customer value?


Inspire: These meetings can be incredibly motivating, or a major drag (there isn't a lot of in-between). If your team isn't walking out jazzed to tackle the year ahead, you've missed the mark. Think about how you can not only get them on board with your plans (compliance), but excited to put in the effort to make it happen (commitment). Consider things like pulling them into an exciting vision for the future, or reminding them of why you're selling what you're selling, how it provides value to your customers through video or in-person testimonials. This is definitely where you want to get creative. If creativity isn't your strong suit, pull in someone else!



Instruct: Give your team the skills they need to do their jobs. Even (and often especially) experienced teams need regular development, but in particular when their jobs, the market, their buyers, or their expectations are shifting (hint, this basically applies to everyone right now). What skills are most important for your team this year? Where could their performance use a boost? How have their buyers been changing, and therefore they need to adapt?


If you're planning your meeting, bounce it against this mini-stress-test. Will yours accomplish all three?


Of course, this is just my opinion. What's yours? Tell me about the best or worst meetings like this you've experienced. What made them good or bad?


Want to bounce your plan off someone for some perspective? We are always ready to lend an ear and give some free advice. Need more help? We've got you there, too. Give us a shout.

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