Sales Tips: What NOT to Do at Sales Kickoff

By Tony Albachiara, Sales Benchmark Index (SBI)

sales kickoffLess than 60 days remain in the year. Over these remaining weeks, conversations with SVP-Sales have focused on 3 areas:

1.What can I still do to Make the Number in 2016?
2.How should I be preparing to Make the Number in 2017?
3.Sales Kick-Off is right around the corner – what am I going to do?

Now, I’ll do my best to address #3. As this year winds down, a new year naturally ramps up. SKO is onsales kick-off the horizon. Most organizations want the arrangements completed by the holidays. My next two blogs will help you put on the best SKO. Engage your employees and experience a great ROI.

In many cases, SKO is the only time the whole organization is together. Recent research revealed that the average cost is approximately $3,000 per person. Depending on your size, you could easily spend 2 million dollars (or more). Just like any business decision, you need to generate a positive ROI.

Now, I’ll discuss the top 4 SKO money-wasting activities. Here are the things you want to avoid.

4 Things to Avoid at SKO This Year:

1) New Product Launch – In my experience this is a huge waste of time. With such a large group and such little time, you’re very limited. You’re unable to get tactically involved. Any time [wasted] spent discussing the product will have to be redone after SKO. SKO is not the way to do it. Instead, spend that time engaging reps with something that will pay dividends next year.

The only time a product launch is acceptable is if it relates to big picture. For example:

1.Discussion of a new buyer persona
2.Addressing new buyer needs
3.Reassessing the buyer’s journey
Otherwise, forget about it.

2) Hiring The Wrong Guest Speaker – Choose your guest speakers wisely. Many organizations try and make a splash by hiring a big name. That’s great to create buzz. But at the end of the day, it ends up just being entertainment. There’s no real value provided to your team. They aren’t increasing sales skills, tactics, or strategy. Don’t waste a platform that could be very engaging and helpful for your team. Hire a speaker that can tie into the theme of SKO, and better your team.

If you want to spend money on entertainment, I’m all for it. But if you’re going to make it entertainment, make it entertainment. Invest in better meals or the welcome gift.

Or better yet, invest in your team. Secure a new sales tool, or a training session that will boost their productivity.

3) Letting the Execs Go Rogue with the Microphone – Not every executive has to speak at SKO. A “C” in front of their job title doesn’t entitle them to the microphone. The truth is, in most cases they’re speaking for their own benefit. SKO is about your organization as a whole. Your reps are going to be wondering all weekend, “What’s in this for me?” They want to get something out of these sessions. Let the execs talk that will interest and aid those attending. You don’t want to spend $3,000 for a rep to yawn through half of it. That’s $1,500 wasted (multiplied by the number of people attending). Line up the execs that will add value, and let the rest talk at the cocktail hour.

4) Death by PowerPoint– Sales guys are generally a specific breed. They don’t learn through concepts and theories. They’re at their best when interacting with people. They learn through interaction. They need to be doing something. As a result, PowerPoint is a tool that should be used sparingly. Make this known to all of this year’s speakers. A few alternatives to Death by PowerPoint are:

1.Role playing
4.Forced interaction
5.Peer to Peer learning exercises

These are the ways to truly engage your sales guys. They will learn much better through the hands-on interaction. They’ll enjoy themselves much more as well.

You don’t want your team leaving SKO annoyed or feeling like they wasted their time. That’s no good for morale going into the New Year. You want them to leave rejuvenated, ready to tackle a New Year.

Don’t get caught off guard by these too-often-seen SKO pitfalls. 

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