With the new year rapidly approaching pretty much any organization with a sales force will be planning and preparing for the annual Sales Kickoff (SKO) gathering that in a lot of cases needs to be conducted remotely this time around.
A great SKO achieves so much in terms of cementing relationships, reinforcing culture, agreeing targets and generating excitement as the year begins.
It is an amazing opportunity to get your Sales team enthusiastic and set on the right course for success - but there are challenges even when it’s an in person meet, and some of them can be accentuated when delivered over the web…
This guide will help you create an amazing experience for your team, and keep you from falling into some of the traps that an online event could present.
Recognize and Celebrate SUCCESS!
While it’s great to reflect on Corporate or Team targets that have been reached, make the focus personal and emphasise the achievements of individuals, not only that they made the sales, but what that allowed them to do (Jenny bought her dream house, Bill got the Harley he’d been wanting for years, etc.).
Everyone loves a bit of recognition (and this is not necessarily the same thing as pushing them into the spotlight for a prolonged period of time). Just a simple name-check alongside a brief description of their accomplishments can be enough - it depends on the person, and it’s your job to know what makes them tick.
Awards are an excellent way of rewarding great achievements and giving people something to aspire to for next time.
Getting Thrilled Customers and/or Raving Fans from your User Group(s) involved to share their successes based on the difference your product and/or service has made for them can also serve as an excellent way to build energy and provide more great source material for both teams and individuals to improve their ‘Sales Story’.
Target MAXIMUM ENGAGEMENT
Engagement should always be front of mind when planning your SKO, but you will need to have an even sharper focus on it at your virtual event.
Remember that special equation: INVOLVEMENT = COMMITMENT
Your team will soon pick up subconsciously if you are trying to do things to them rather than doing things with them, so make sure everyone is truly involved in one way or another.
If your team is large, this might mean splitting into smaller groups for some high participation activities - these could be work related like brainstorming ideas for new markets or new strategies for existing markets, or it could be “just for fun” stuff like an online treasure hunt, or learning more about what team-members like doing in their spare time.
SignalWire Events not only supports multiple rooms and/or “breakout” rooms, but through a very clever and intuitive user interface allows you to see who is in each room and either join them, or invite them to your room!
Even for the main presentation(s) in your SKO, make sure they have participation woven into them. This can be done by outlining the aims and objectives of a presentation at the beginning and asking for the audience’s “buy-in”/approval (which you will pretty much always get) as well as giving time for questions, answers and comments, either during or after the delivery.
Walk in your participants’ shoes
It has been said that before you criticize someone you walk a mile in their shoes first - because then, when you do criticize them, you’ll be a mile away and have their shoes!
But walking in your participants’ shoes really is the key to giving them a great experience, and it starts with making sure that your online SKO is easy to ‘attend’ (e.g. you don’t people wasting time on installing apps, etc. in order to get into the event), easy to navigate in terms of finding their way to the right ‘rooms’ if there is more than one thing happening at the same time and easy to like in terms of the pace and relevance of material presented.
Big turn-offs can include difficulties in joining the SKO and especially the feeling that “this stuff is not aimed at me/not helpful for me/is wasting my time” so be absolutely sure to know the challenges your team(s) face - if you don’t already know this, ask them!!!! Or at least some of them.
It is also worth remembering that the easier you make your SKO to deliver, the easier it will be for those attending to receive both the information and the “vibe” you are trying to get across, so if you find yourself wrestling with the technology when you are doing the event management (setting up “room”, inviting participants, etc.) or practicing the delivery, it is probably a pointer that you need to find something better and more intuitive.
Bring your event to life with music, videos and gamification
Music can do so much as it appeals to the emotions.
You can really make your online SKO stand out by the strategic use of music and videos as part of the event.
This can range from the simple use of background music as a sound track to group activities and social time all the way through to powerful, awe inspiring music used to introduce people, presentations and achievements.
Don’t discount the use of Karaoke as a powerful team-building tool! The shared experience of making oneself a little vulnerable, seeing unexpected stand-out performances, learning more about team-members’ individual musical tastes and just having fun together can really make a difference, as well as providing source material for fond conversations in the months and years that lay ahead.
SignalWire Events contains amazing Karaoke room functionality that allows both the Singer and the music/words video to appear above the always appreciative audience and our behind the scenes technology solves the issue of potential differences in timing between the Singer (wherever they may be), the soundtrack and the listening audience.
There is also “Watch Party” functionality, so any given room can be configured to feature a central larger video feed, e.g. a movie, surrounded by audience members, who can both hear the movie and discuss it amongst themselves, if they want to.
Well placed memes, pictures and video clips can all add to the impact and feel of your online SKO, and of course videos are also great for training, discussion starters and getting people on the same page.
Even good old fashioned work process familiarization can be made more engaging by using short and punchy videos.
Gamify where you can. This is easiest to achieve with group exercises, themed activities and gathering feedback on your event.
It doesn’t finish at the end
Make sure everyone understands that although you have worked hard to ensure the energy, effectiveness and value of your SKO this year, the only way things will further improve is from them giving you their genuine views about the way things went.
Welcome feedback not only about the event itself but also about anything at all that Team-Members feel is worth passing on, and ensure that everyone understands that you are interested in dialog all year round, not just at the SKO.
Make channels overtly available for ideas for the next SKO, your daily work processes and anything else you think is relevant.
Pick the right platform
You need a platform that has the versatility to match the different moods and modes you wish to create.
While the right platform for your virtual SKO cannot (in and of itself) make your event, it can certainly break it - think poor or frustrating user experience, less than optimal video or audio quality, flawed security (zoom bombing, etc.), lack of multimedia capabilities, no social dimension, and the list goes on…
Here at SignalWire we are very confident that our video collaboration offering is absolutely the best tool you can have for your online SKO, your everyday virtual office and for any other online events you are planning.
SignalWire Events has been refined over many years and has been optimised to deliver all the things that matter for online gatherings, whether a big event like your SKO or your daily office experience.
Use the above tips and advice, and pick the right platform for your SKO and you are headed for success!
Read more about SignalWire Events, and arrange to take it for a test drive here: