For many companies, the sales kickoff meeting is the one time each year where organization and sales leaders, sales teams, and stakeholders gather to share in the company’s recent successes. They also hear the current goals of the company, and spark interest in the upcoming year’s vision and ultimate outcomes.
Some teams may be back in the office, but it’s more likely that many are fully remote and taking a digital approach to the workplace. Either way, due to travel restrictions, safety, and just team members’ general comfort level of being around large groups of people, organizations who plan to host a live event in a room of any significant size and provide for individuals in virtual locations, will likely need to explore the digital concept and how to make the two work together. It is now the future of events. It is important to understand & accept that the pandemic brought on a lot of “new norms” and digital events are here to stay.You may wonder if your team can do this. Digital fatigue is real so do they need another digital meeting? How do you even bring people together in person, provide equal content to those who are remote, and bring them all along on the journey so they are all actively engaged? If the past two years have shown us anything, it’s that you can have a compelling and impactful digital event and now re-introducing the in-person aspect opens up so many possibilities. Designing an agenda so its optimized for both types of attendees' experience and outcomes you want to drive are key.
Focus on Main Elements for a Successful SKO.
So, what is needed for a successful hybrid digital SKO meeting in 2022? There are still those key elements that need to prepare your sales teams to drive sales and have the tools they’ll require to achieve their goals and it doesn’t matter if they are sitting in a chair right in front of your stage or joining via a digital platform to receive what they need to be successful.
Impact: A sales kick-off event is a great way to motivate your team. There is a range of ways to do this to make an impact with attendees whether they’re in the room or online. Facilitated sessions unite your people around a shared goal, while engaging them in fun hands-on activities is one way.
Inspiration: Inspirational elements keep your team aligned with upcoming business goals. Most companies use SKOs to introduce new technology, new strategies, or major organizational changes. Typically, this is done via a keynote presentation from company leaders. There are some creative companies that add on games or other interactive sessions to inspire their teams and get buy-in. Others bring in professional speakers to share their stories and rally the team to hear a different perspective.
Education: Educational sessions are paramount to any SKO however it’s important that you make the most of this time by focusing sessions on the most important things reps need to succeed right now. This ensures that the material you do teach reps is consumable, relevant, and engaging.
Celebration: A successful SKO must include a healthy dose of celebration and motivation for your sales teams.
What are Benefits to Digital SKOs?
By hosting digital events you can cut costs and invest more heavily in the things that really need a personal touch.
Cost-effectiveness: Allowing attendees to participate from wherever they sit in the world – online - offers everyone flexibility and convenience and allows you to expand your impact regardless of geography. A digital event means there’s no need to fly your whole staff into a central location. This saves your company an immense amount of money on hotel and transportation fees.
Sustainability: Digital events often result in a smaller carbon footprint, which shows your employees and customers that you prioritize sustainability and the environmental impacts of your events.
Flexibility: When you host a digital you can record high-quality video to reference later, especially when evaluating your sales for the year. The SKO becomes more accessible to people across time zones and job titles.
What are the Benefits of Hybrid Events?
The primary goal of a hybrid SKO is to provide a consistent attendee experience no matter how sales people choose to participate. By streaming live in-person events to remote attendees, they can have the opportunity to participate as well.
Enhances Your Marketing Strategy Even if most people attend in-person, streaming your events ensures all content is recorded for later use. That means in-person attendees can rewatch presentations and view other content long after the event is over.
Increases Reach and Attendance The most common misconception around hybrid events is that audiences must either take part virtually or in person, but not both. In reality, the hybrid approach allows more accessibility for those who many not be able to attend due to travel restrictions and/or personal reasons.
Larger Audience Engagement Thanks to technology, virtual attendees can engage with presenters and other attendees in as much the same way as they could in person. Virtual attendees can engage over the Internet by sharing and commenting on content, submitting live questions to presenters, and participating in video conferences.
A Range of SKO Options
Attendees gather in local groups. For sales teams that are organized by geography and can be combined with the “presenters live and together” strategy. Organizing local teams makes it easier to prioritize regional or local sales planning, and allows for smaller groups, which may provide more comfort for team members to gather together.
A hybrid roundtable group discussion can be a meaningful highlight of your SKO. Attendees have the chance to participate in the conversation. Ensure that the roundtable discussion is engaging and know exactly what you want attendees to gain and the best way to achieve your goals. Establishing those topics pre-event for attendees to sign up for allows them to embrace each interaction and conversation based on the topics they choose to attend and care about.
Host a morning coffee, meet & greet or pre-event connection. These can be an invitation only or for anyone at the SKO. You can provide a virtual session and in person. The idea of waking up on a conference day and meeting new people either in person or virtually can be the best part.
Ultimately, the key to a successful SKO is engagement and designing an event experience. You’re here to share the vision and strategy. You’ll offer training, and at the end of the day, you want your team to have a memorable experience that motivates them to sell successfully.