By Jason Cunliffe
Vice President, Thought Leadership and Sales Enablement Practice
Sales kickoff meetings present a compelling opportunity to advance a sales enablement agenda. These meetings offer a level of face-to-face connection that is very difficult to achieve through other means given the diverse and dispersed nature of sales organizations. That’s why sales enablement professionals want to know how best they can use the sales kickoff meeting as a venue for training.
It’s important to keep in mind that training efforts should not dominate a sales kickoff meeting, nor should any training initiatives take a one-size fits all approach. Here are some tips to make the most out of training within the context of a sales kickoff meeting.
- Make sure that training is relevant for specific sales audiences. This can be effectively accomplished through role-based breakout sessions in which content is specifically tailored for different sales roles. Keep the higher-level strategy that’s relevant to everyone for the keynotes, and use the breakouts to deliver relevant and targeted information for specific sales roles.
- Focus on training content that is as interactive as possible. No one wants to sit through yet another PowerPoint presentation, especially when the goal is to engage, educate and motivate salespeople who operate in a dynamic sales environment. To provide actionable guidance that can used in the field – really the endgame as far as sales training is concerned – maximize the time spent on interactive exercises.
- Follow-up training events should reinforce the training presented at the sales kickoff meetings. Don’t assume that training presented once at the sales kickoff meeting will resonate with salespeople throughout the year. Reinforce training at the meeting with repetitive messaging and content readily available for all salespeople who want to review it at a later date. Micro-learning assets – buyer conversation guides, short video snippets and reference sheets – are particularly effective for reinforcing training presented at a sales kickoff meeting.
- Engage first-line sales managers with the task of carrying forward the key concepts and learnings that emerge from the sales kickoff. Sales managers can facilitate this by incorporating those key concepts and learnings into their coaching activities. Sales managers should also reinforce training content during the weekly meetings following a sales kickoff event. It is these meetings that provide sales managers with the best opportunity to ensure that the sales activities promoted at the sales kickoff meeting are happening on an ongoing basis.
- Leverage knowledge of the training’s impact. If there’s specific training that came out of the sales kickoff that produced a win, capture all relevant information and publicize it to the field via periodic updates. This serves to reinforce the training by articulating its value and relevance to the sales organization.