Three Counterintuitive Ideas for 2017 Sales Kickoff Meetings

By Eric Nitschke, Director of Product Marketing and Sales Enablement

November 7, 2016

2016-sko-blog-eric

Want to wow your sales team for kickoff? Try some new approaches that could help reps have value conversations customers want to have.

It’s sales kickoff planning season in sales and marketing organizations around the world. You definitely have to set the dates, confirm the budget, find the location, and get executive buy-in. But when it comes to the content for the sales kickoff meeting, don’t settle for a new version of the same checklist you may be using.

Here are three counterintuitive ideas to help your salespeople really remember and use your content from your 2017 sales kickoff.

1. Model conversations vs. new sales pitches
Sales kickoffs are usually full of new products and updated features. And that’s okay. But instead of hours of feature-dense presentations that focus all on you, what if you modeled great customer conversations?

76% of buyers will buy from a company that illustrates a buying vision—rather than another entry in a long list of commodity suppliers. Show your sales reps how to lead to your offerings by creating the urgency for customers to make a change in the way they’re solving for future challenges. Then you can position your offerings in a unique and impactful way. (Also read It Takes More Than a Technology Stack to Drive Demand)

 2. Enable conversation competencies vs. sales processes
Many companies are making great inroads in new training methodologies and technologies, but how much time will you dedicate to training skills and processes that mostly feature how your salespeople should manage a sale cycle, when most people agree the customer has the most power?

71% of sales managers agree the ability to “articulate value” is the biggest difference between high and low sales performers. So what if you enabled your team’s competencies to progress opportunities based on having conversations that customers truly find valuable? What if they could create pipeline based on establishing differentiation, write proposals that pass executive muster, and close opportunities profitably without losing value throughout the sale cycle? That would make for a big kickoff! (Also read Are Your Reps a Selling “Triple Threat?” on corporatevisions.com.)

3. Advise brain science vs. new theories
Hey, I love a good book, too. And sometimes CEOs fall in love with a new business book that offers to introduce best practices into your sales training. But often companies just imitate the processes of other companies with mixed successes. The challenge is that “best practices” are other people’s successes, which means it’s old news, and your competitors read the same books. So at best you’re frustrating your team and at worst your enabling mediocrity.

But what if you didn’t follow the crowd to this year’s book club favorite theory, and instead introduced skills that leverage how the human brain perceives value, and how buyers make decisions based on how it perceives value? Understanding how customers buy, vs. how OTHER salespeople sell, would make a much greater impact at a sales kickoff! (Also read Best Practices Aren’t Always the Best Methods on ATD.com)

You only get a few days with your whole sales team in one place. Try one of these counterintuitive ideas! And I’d be interested in your plans for your 2017 kickoff meetings!

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