The best practices for a virtual sales kickoff

The best practices for a virtual sales kickoff

COVID-19 may have turned the world upside down, but it hasn’t changed the need for companies to find and connect with customers. Sales teams need to continue chasing after opportunities and closing those deals. Business leaders need to find a way to support their sales team to ensure they succeed at their goals. 


For a number of organizations, a sales kickoff event (SKO) is one of the best ways to accomplish this and get the results you want. The event allows you to generate excitement for the upcoming year, nurture pride in your team for being a part of the company. It also gives sales representatives the chance to hone their skills and knowledge so they can continue being successful and meeting the company's goal expectations. 


Of course, it's not currently possible to do an in-person sales kickoff event due to COVID-19. Plus, with a number of your sales team working remotely, there is a good chance that they don’t live in the same city as you. Furthermore, travel restrictions are still set in place for some locations, so gathering them in a single site may not be possible.


Fortunately, technology has provided us with a solution that allows us to get around this pesky problem. Virtual sales kickoff events are entirely possible thanks to the current solution available on the market. These virtual sales kickoff events are capable of delivering the same value as an in-person SKO would if executed accurately. So the question is, how can you go about ensuring that everyone is focused on the event. How do you ensure that your sales team doesn’t become disinterested in the event?


For this post, we are going to provide you with the information you need to ensure your virtual sales kickoff is successful at keeping your sales team's attention. They will walk away from this event feeling great about what they learned and overall content with the experience. 


What is a virtual sales kickoff?

A Virtual sales kickoff is an annual event that allows sales teams the opportunity to celebrate success, motivate the sales team, and align on strategy. During the sales kickoff event, new strategies are presented, and teams participate in several team-building activities. These virtual sales kickoff events tend to be a combination of educational and fun. Sales kickoffs are usually conducted during the start of the fiscal year. However, if your organization managed to successfully make it through a stressful quarter, such as the last quarter of the fiscal year, you can hold one of these events. 


Conducting a successful virtual sales kickoff event is crucial since it leaves your sales team feeling inspired, encouraged, valued, and more prepared to search and engage leads and close deals. That’s why your virtual SKO must be educational, entertaining, and engaging. 



The Benefits of virtual SKO

The pandemic has made it nearly impossible for most people to host in-person events. But there are ways to get around this. Virtual sales kickoff can provide the same quality results as an in-person one. For some companies, this option may be even better than hosting an in-person one. 


First off, these virtual sales kickoff events tend to be more cost-effective than in-person events. You won’t need to pay for accommodations or travel costs for your whole sales team, which could be very expensive depending on where they live. You won’t need to sacrifice any time away from selling days to make up time for traveling back and forth from the event. That means your sales team will have more time on their hands to chase leads and close deals. 


Studies have revealed that more than 80% of the information sales reps are presented with during these sales kickoff events are eventually forgotten within weeks. However, with a virtual sales kickoff, presentation and speaking points can be recorded and accessed at any time after the event. This offers your sales team the chance to review the content, plus if any of the sales team couldn’t make it due to an emergency or illness, they can watch the recording of the event.


Another benefit for virtual SKO is that the content can be updated at any time throughout the year. The event can be included as part of your sales team training material and resources that are accessible to your sales team. The material can even be used to onboard new sales employees. 


During the event, you’ll be closely connected with your team, allowing you to gain feedback from them on specific aspects of the sales process. You can conduct tests, polls, and surveys that ensure they provide you with information that can help in improving the sales process. It also helps keep track of the success of these events and ensures that every sales team member understands the material they are presented with. You must remain connected with your sales team, especially a virtual one, and make them feel appreciated and motivated. 


How to host an SKO event?

Hosting a virtual sales kickoff event shares some similarities to hosting a virtual conference. It all begins with choosing the best hosting platform. You need to choose the right hosting platform based on the needs of your event. Here are some things you want to consider when choosing your platform of choice. 



One additional benefit of hosting a virtual sales kickoff event is that it usually requires fewer logistics compared to an in-person event. 


Set up your goals for the event

You need to head into the planning process with an idea of what you wish to accomplish with this virtual sales kickoff event. Virtual sales kickoff events that are geared towards causing excitement are far different compared to the ones that involve speaking about team responsibilities. 


Digital fatigue is something that many people experience when they remain on a virtual call for too long. You need to make sure that you plant out frequent breaks to prevent them from burning out throughout the event. The event should be fast-paced since remote workers are known for having even shorter attention spans. Prioritize activities and content inclusion that are going to achieve the most vital goals. 


Let everyone know weeks in advance

Generating excitement before the start of the event is one of the best ways to ensure everyone on your sales team stays engaged and interested during the SKO event. Come up with some ways you can increase anticipation among your sales team in the weeks leading up to the virtual sales kickoff event. 


  1. Post-eye-catching messages on social media to promote keynote speakers and guest speakers.
  2. Offer a free swag through a giveaway 
  3. Mail the attended notebooks and pens that are customized with your event.


Prevent digital fatigue

As we previously mentioned, people can become tired from spending too much time on a conference call. An all-day event such as a virtual sales kickoff event can be overwhelming when it's being done over a video conferencing platform. Your sales team will start to lose interest if you don’t ensure there are enough breaks for people to recuperate and step away from their monitors for a short while. 


Instead of shoving everyone of your event activities and goals in a span of one or two days, consider spreading the event out over a certain amount of time. By allowing these events to be broken down into smaller portions, you can prevent your sales team from becoming burnt out and respect their schedule. If anything, it would encourage more people to participate in the event if they are aware that it won’t impact their usual schedule. 



Allow for moments where everyone can get up and stretch. You should also break out entertainment between talks and breakout sessions. Don’t make the event something mandatory. These events should be allowed for anyone to join in if they want to, especially since virtual happy hours are only fun when people want to be there. Make sure to alternate between the type of events if possible. Three speakers in a row may be too much and not provide enough engagement for your sales team. Instead, try setting up trivia content after a speaker has finished their part of the event. 


Send an item that unites the team

Some of the best virtual sales kickoff events tend to function as a rallying call for teams and fills them with motivation to collaborate towards achieving the goals of the upcoming quarter. Team building is a necessary part of this since working from home tends to make this more challenging. It’s possible to overcome this distancing issue by providing your teams with a physical touchpoint that keeps them connected. A small token may not seem like something that could cause a massive impact. However, when everyone on the sales team is wearing a branded t-shirt or hoodie, or any other item you can think of, it manages to develop a moment of unity. 


You should also set aside some time where everyone on the sales team can acknowledge that they all received a small gift from the organization. Allow for a moment where everyone that received the items can hold them up to the camera to create an empowering affirmation of your sales team cohesion. 


Generate pre-made content

Live streaming events can be a challenging task to make interest for hours on end. Even some of the best speakers can have issues engaging with their audience over a web camera. As the host of this event, you need to take advantage of the power that is given to you by this medium and replace the more mundane parts of the presentation with content that will generate excitement among your audience. 


They don’t need to be too crazy. Something small such as a pre-recorded introduction for outside speakers or team members is an excellent way to stir up some excitement. Eventually, you could work your way up to doing the year in review as an exciting video instead of using a slideshow. You could even ask the speakers to record their speeches ahead of time so you can use it to combine it with some content for a video. Even searching the internet for some exciting videos is a great way to break up the monotony that tends to occur during these video conferencing events. The content should also be made available on-demand so people can remain engaged throughout the event. 


Gamefy engagement

If you want to ensure that everyone on the sales team is remaining engaged throughout the virtual sales kickoff event, you should consider implementing some strategies involving gamification. In doing so, you can reward your team members for participating and acquire insight into how well the event managed to work out. Gamification is capable of turning activities of participation into calculable units that you can encourage the participants to do by providing them incentives for doing so. 


Offering the chance for people to acquire rewards for doing things like asking questions to the speaker, participating during the breakout session, and so forth makes getting the most of your virtual sales kickoff event even more exciting and fun for everyone involved. Some organizations that run their own virtual sales kickoff event use some kind of gamification to keep track of participation data on what has worked and what didn’t. This data can be used to improve on future events. 


Celebrate wins

To ensure your sales team is excited about the coming future, you need to celebrate some of the achievements that have been made in the past months. Set aside some time to recognize the individual and team performances during the previous quarter will go a long way in getting your team invested in making the stage during the next round. 


It can be something like a five-minute presentation where you tell everyone which goals are achieved or as elaborate as an hour-long virtual award show. The idea here is to make it clear to everyone that the organization appreciates the hard work and dedication they have shown. Another excellent option to raise hype around the best performers is by offering them rewards for being the top sales performers during the previous quarters. 


Conclusion

Virtual sales kickoff events are an excellent way to ensure your sales team gets a dosage of motivation, education, and entertainment. It provides a way for everyone on the team to walk away with something that will ensure they go even further in the coming year. Make sure you also bring up the topic of tools to use while you're at it. Intro.so is one of the many tools you can introduce to your sales team to ensure they can close deals like nobody’s business. Try out our Zoom extension now and witness your sales team succeed at achieving their goals.