By Christie Nelson
If you are a Sales Enablement Practitioner one of your responsibilities might be to run your sales team’s kick-off and quarterly business review sessions. These sessions are the vehicle to execute aspects of your sales enablement strategy. Proper planning, organization and follow through will get you the results you are looking for: Improved sales execution!
Here are a few tips you can use to prepare, execute and reinforce learnings from your kick-off.
The following tasks and activities will help you to prepare for your kick-off event.
Review survey results from previous kick-off and QBR sessions.
Giving a survey to the participants is a must, and if you are like me, you anxiously await the results. After the event you analyze the results and follow up with any important requests, but after that likely you don’t review again. In preparation for this year’s kick-off, dust off the results from the previous one, often there will be some good suggestions/feedback that you can incorporate. It will demonstrate to your participants that you listen and that their feedback is valuable.
Create and align on meeting objectives and expected outcomes.
Based on what you know about the performance of the sales team, the company’s goals and objectives for this year, create clear and measurable meeting objectives and outcomes. Vet these with the sales leadership team to gain alignment. This not only helps set the stage for your presenters, but it gives your sales participants clear instructions for what they need to get out of kick-off.
Prepare your presenters.
As a Sales Enablement Practitioner, you serve as the voice of sales when collaborating with other business units like Marketing. To help guide them provide a framework or suggested topics. You know sales needs to execute successfully in the field. Schedule a dry run session so that you can preview the content and provide feedback ahead of time and determine if sales could benefit from pre-work.
Craft an agile agenda.
Don’t we wish things could all go as planned? Have any of you experienced executives or presenters going over time, leaving you scrambling with the rest of the agenda? As you put the agenda together, pad your timing between sessions to account for the inevitable. Prepare some games or exercises to perform knowledge checks that you can quickly plug into the schedule, so when the timing isn’t working perfectly, you have back-up.
In Session Execution
Even when you prepare, and plan for each minute, things can take a turn. Use these tips during the meeting to get maximum return on your investment.
Monitor participants engagement
At this point, you have put a ton of work preparing for this kick-off. During the sessions, be sure to monitor the engagement of your sales participants. Are they on their computers/Ipads? Are they asking questions? During or after your presenter’s sessions, engage the audience on their feedback, or ask a question to gauge retention of the topic being presented. Use this opportunity to call on sales participants to site examples from the field. Call on the strengths of your top performers to share their perspective. These tactics will help to create an engaging environment and keep sales attention.
Adapt to the natural flow of the meeting.
Balance the need to get through the topics on your agenda, with what organically occurs in the meeting. There will be times where a topic needs more time and attention than was planned. Here is where those games or exercises you prepared for will come in handy. Plug those in to fill any gaps or pivots you had to take with the agenda.
Share content in the moment.
One way to get the sales participants to start using the new content is to share it with them during the kick-off. Leverage your SE platform to bundle and share content live while in the session. You can measure engagement right in the moment. Analyze who is using it and who may be checked out.
Post Kick-Off Activities
So that your learnings are put into practice, create a reinforcement strategy and gain alignment with sales leadership to help pull it through in the field.
Review your current processes.
Did anything you taught at kick-off change any current processes? Were there any recommendations to alter your CRM to accommodate new learnings? Have you made all the content available to the participants? Look to see how you can incorporate any of the content or topics into the sales team’s daily routine to help guide them situationally.
Solicit feedback from participants.
The quickest way to get feedback about the kick-off and all the topics is a survey. If you make it anonymous your participants may be more honest in their answers. This is going to give you a good idea of what topics you may need to reinforce more than others. Ultimately you are striving to have a big impact and promote change so listening to how the participants received the information will give you the insight you need to build on this over the course of the year.
Gain alignment with sales leadership.
We all know the stats on how much sales retains from a kick-off, it’s not good. Review the objectives and expectations with the sales managers and develop a plan to incorporate the learnings into their cadence of coaching. The plan should be something that the sales managers can easily execute. Sales enablement can and should assist in the reinforcement efforts. Some ideas that the sales managers and sales enablement can partner together on are:
- Develop a Certification program to measure competencies.
- Create assessments to test knowledge.
- Incorporate enablement in sales team meetings. Work with your sales manager on a framework and timeline for topics.
Measure your agreed upon expectations.
Work with sales ops to investigate options in measuring your kick-off objectives and expectations. Take initiative to report out on those efforts to sales leadership.
Given the time of year you may be in any one of these phases of kick-off. It’s not too late to incorporate any one of these tips to maximize the investment in enabling your sales team. Thorough research, preparation and attention to detail makes for a smooth-running session, while a reinforcement strategy ensures your objectives and expectations stick. Use this 6 step checklist to help jumpstart your sales kick-off!
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