Before, During, After: Ideas for Planning Your Sales Kickoff Meeting with Sales Enablement Technology

Before, During, After: Ideas for Planning Your Sales Kickoff Meeting with Sales Enablement Technology
November 1, 2016
Brainshark's 2016 sales kickoff meeting was at Fenway Park.

Annual sales meetings, commonly referred to as “sales kickoff,” are more than your average meeting.

Last year, Brainshark was in the midst of a giant rebrand, and we knew we wanted to make a big splash with our national sales meeting. Enter: Boston's legendary Fenway Park. Brainshark's 2016 sales kickoff meeting was at Fenway Park.

Your annual meeting sets the tone for the upcoming year, ensures your sales organization gets off on the right foot, and is often the platform to launch new products or announce big company news. It’s a chance for your national reps and managers to get together in one place for several days and collaborate with other departments. It’s also a huge opportunity to get your reps to learn about new products, initiatives and strategies that will help your company achieve the business goals you’ve set for the upcoming year.

But without careful planning and tools to help maximize the time spent onsite, the meeting could be a waste of time and resources for everyone.

That’s where sales enablement technology comes into play, taking your meeting from an average, ‘been there done that’ event to one that people will be talking about for months to come.

Not sure how sales enablement technology could fit into your sales kickoff? Here are some ideas to use before, during and after kickoff:  

Before Sales Kickoff

Before sales kickoff, one of the first things sales enablement and/or marketing should do is to talk to people across the company to understand what they’d like to see covered at the meeting. You can do this informally, but it’s more scalable if done through a poll or questionnaire that can be sent out and tracked through a sales enablement platform or CRM. It’s important for attendees to feel included in the planning process so they know their interests were considered. Use the data you collect to craft an agenda that will resonate with all attendees.

Related Whitepaper: The New Marketing ROI: Content Analytics Meets Sales Enablement

Next, develop relevant pre-work or training for reps to complete before sales kickoff. Pre-work often includes new products or features or new messaging that reps need to become familiar with. It’s likely you’ll have sales reps and employees coming in from all locations, and sending out pre-work in an online or automated fashion with a sales enablement tool tends to work best. It’ll maximize time at the meeting and reduce the cost of hosting employees onsite for an extended period of time. Plus, using technology will allow you to track how many people completed the assessments.

Real Life Example: GE Digital used Brainshark to roll out video-based content as pre-work for reps prior to the company’s 2016 sales kickoff. When the meeting began, 85% of reps had viewed the pre-work and executives were able to see which reps interacted with the training and which didn’t.

Learn more about GE Digital’s story here.

While training content you create regularly might be straightforward, pre-work for the sales kickoff meeting is a chance to get creative. Maybe add a fun, memorable video that people will remember, or gamify the pre-work by offering prizes at the meeting.

During Sales Kickoff

During the meeting, build off pre-work and thread the main themes into the agenda in a way that feels cohesive.

Sales enablement technologies with content creation capabilities can be used to create visually engaging presentations that break away from boring PowerPoints. For example, address the pre-work results and use those as segues into sales coaching challenges. Even though you’ll have all your reps onsite, you can use video coaching capabilities to get reps out of their seats to complete a coaching challenge, such as reciting a pitch via a mobile phone or webcam. Then, gather the results and play the best ones for the group.

Related Whitepaper: The B2B Sales Coaching Challenge: How Technology Can Help

After Sales Kickoff

If you’ve recorded or captured important sessions – either with a note taker or video – now is the time to use it. Send out recaps that reinforce what was covered at the meeting – so people don’t forget everything they learned after they leave.

Deliver a follow up communication via your sales enablement platform that includes a survey and any content you’ve created or captured from the sessions. From there, gather the survey results and view and analyze the data. You’ll be able to get a sense of whether the agenda resonated with reps and sales managers and what you can do better the next time around.

Plus, you can post content from the meeting in the CRM or sales enablement platform so reps can continue to access it in the future.

For more on the latest trends with sales enablement technologies, check out CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study.