The start of a new year provides an ideal opportunity to reset, reflect, and focus on what goals and strategies you want to achieve over the next 12 months. However, for many businesses, individual employee career growth and development remains undervalued. Only 26% of employees have said their organisation has challenged them to learn a new skill, and a further 15% have said their organisation has encouraged them to move to a new role.
With figures as low as these, annual events such as sales kick-offs, often launched at the beginning of the year and offered to the entire sales team, are a fantastic opportunity to develop individual capabilities, as well as outline goals for the year ahead. These should be considered a time to thank employees, celebrate success, reinforce good habits, and develop and retain your teams. Laying the foundations for the year’s success helps employees to feel like they’re on the right track individually and as a team.
To execute a successful sales kick-off, sales leaders should tailor materials so they are relevant, consumable, and engaging to each event.
Below are 3 ways sales leaders can make the most of the sales kick-off.
- Focus on Team Connection
The first element to consider is focusing on team connections. For all sales kick-offs, it is important to remember that this is one of the only times of the year that your teams will come together.
With remote and hybrid working becoming a popular addition to the workplace since the pandemic, this could be the first time or, for many, one of the few times when the team gets together face to face. Therefore, it is crucial for sales leaders to encourage meeting, connecting, and collaborating across teams, allowing employees to learn more about each other’s learning styles.
This could also be achieved by focusing on exercises and team building activities to drive good behaviours. In MEDDIC organisations, sharing win stories focusing on identified pain and metrics, brainstorming account planning for strategic accounts, or discussing Champion planning ideas are all valuable networking opportunities that will invest in individual and team development.
- Set Realistic Learning Objectives
When planning a sales kick-off event, it is important to set realistic learning objectives. These events often last two to three days but will go by quickly, so goals need to be achievable.
After celebrations have occurred and new solutions have been launched, there can typically be a smaller window to upskill the teams with sales enablement. Therefore, it is significant for the leader to be bold but realistic with the team’s learning goals.
Using frameworks like MEDDIC or MEDDPICC within a sales kick-off can aid pipeline creation and conversion from the very beginning of the financial year. However, to be realistic with goals, leaders can focus on just two letters of MEDDIC.
Teaching in small groups, as a new concept or as a refresh can ensure much greater learning retention, allowing for theory questions, discussions, and exercises to take place.
- Be in the Boat
While Sales Kick-offs are typically designed for individual contributors, encouraging the entire leadership to get involved in the training is significant. This is because it is an opportunity to coach, be a present leader and allows sales leaders to assess competencies live.
For the leadership team, kick-offs are an opportunity for every leader to coach their team. Just like in one to ones or customer meetings, new or old team members may have learning gaps, so this is the chance to add value first hand.
Regardless of how big the team is, being a present leader is a brilliant way to demonstrate you are part of the group. By spending time with your employees’ personal and organisational goals can be aligned, relationships can be strengthened and loyalty can be restored. Which can all contribute to business growth for the year ahead.
Whilst coaching the team and being a present leader, an opportunity to assess your team competencies will arise. Seeing the team learn and interact with different exercises is a window for the sales leader to spot areas that need developing, which will help your team succeed for the year ahead.
This will ensure you are not only developing the team’s sales potential, but also investing in their individual skill sets, which directly helps to improve retention.
About Emma Maslen
Emma Maslen is the Founder and CEO of sales consultancy inspir’em and author of The Personal Board of You Inc. At the age of 20, Emma found a passion for sales and customer success and has since amassed 20+ years in the technology sector, working for household names such as Sun Microsystems, BMC Software, SAP Concur & Ping Identity. In 2019, she founded Inspir’em, a sales consultancy, training, and coaching business, helping sales teams and leaders unlock their full potential. Since 2018, Emma has also been a keen angel investor for female-founded businesses through Angel Academe.