By Jason Cunliffe
Vice President, Thought Leadership and Sales Enablement Practice
For many organizations, the annual sales kickoff meeting is the one opportunity afforded to convene salespeople together face-to-face. Typically, the top salesperson plays host to this meeting, and often company executives are well represented. These meetings serve as an ideal forum to herald important messaging to the sales team – messaging that merits high levels of energy and engagement.
In these situations, turning to external speakers can spell the difference between an ordinary meeting and an extraordinary event. Such speakers can augment and enhance internal speakers, thereby providing additional context and overall coherence to the proceedings.
Bringing in external speakers to address a sales kickoff event can often be a budget-busting exercise. Yet the value of outside speakers — when those speakers are well-chosen and highly relevant — can be significant.
An effective outside speaker will amplify the messaging around a sales kickoff event. For one, an outside speaker provides salespeople with an additional perspective. While a speaker’s message should of course serve to complement what the sales team hears from company executives, an inherent value of outside speakers is that they are external to the organization. As such, these folks can provide insight to the salespeople that they just can’t get from organization executives. Ideally, this insight includes both the perspective of target customers as well as market context – a one-two punch that both educates and inspires.
While motivational speakers can be entertaining, sales kickoff events require speakers who have the dual capabilities to both motivate and educate. Salespeople are eager to learn, particularly about topics — such as potential buyers and relevant market scenarios — that will help them do their jobs better. After all, salespeople are in the business of selling — and outside speakers who provide the perspective, context and insight on ways that facilitate more selling — are incredibly valuable.
Today’s sales professionals work in challenging, highly dynamic environments. The competitive landscape seems to shift every year. An outside speaker who can help salespeople understand the shifting landscape will resonate with an audience, especially when that speaker imparts advice that is actionable and practical. Remember, salespeople who at a sales kickoff event are not spending time in the field — and many are likely taking time away from their families as well. Any outside speaker who provides that unique perspective on buyer tendencies and market dynamics will enhance the selling process – and thereby is well worth both salespeople’s time and the sales organization’s money.