2022 sales kickoff is going to be different…again.
If you’re like other sales kickoff planners in marketing, sales enablement, or sales operations, you may have been dreading this. But it’s time to plan out your company’s 2022 kickoff.
Past kickoff conversations focused on event space, food, entertainment, travel, and hotel arrangements. In 2021, your planning probably took a left turn and focused more on event hosting and video conferencing platforms to connect your remote teams.
But with the world coming back together, you have an opportunity to plan an impactful, memorable, and interactive kickoff event—dare we say it?—in person.
Your company may have specific policies about getting teams together, and regional differences regarding vaccinations, mask policies, and group sizes further complicate your planning efforts.
But regardless of the physical or virtual setting for your 2022 sales kickoff, this is your chance to make a huge impact on how your commercial teams market, sell, and engage with your customers in 2022 and beyond.
Improve your commercial conversations in 2022.
- Move Beyond the One-and-Done Kickoff
- Consider All Your Customer-Facing Teams
- Meet Your Buyer Where They Are
move beyond the one-and-done sales kickoff
Sales kickoffs, whether live or virtual, suffer from the same challenge every year.
They’re typically a snapshot of what’s important to the company during that quarter. Product launches, industry initiatives, and updated sales processes get launched. Then you move on, fly back home, and your sales reps may or may not remember anything they learned during the event.
It’s time to make your 2022 sales kickoff what it was always meant to be—the ideal venue to spark lasting business transformation.
Your 2022 sales kickoff gives you a unique opportunity to move beyond the one-and-done kickoff and move toward a more situational model for sales enablement. Getting beyond one-and-done enablement means you can address your company’s most urgent and strategic needs as they arise.
For example, you might align your organization around specific messages and skills at your kickoff event and then spend the following days or weeks reinforcing those concepts and skills with online learning modules and fluency coaching.
If you think in terms of sales enablement campaigns (not calendars), you can develop a faster, more flexible approach to training and enablement—one that doesn’t depend on saving all your good stuff for a single event.
consider all your customer-facing teams
While success metrics like new logo acquisition, pipeline growth, profit margins, and customer churn are readily available and measurable, tracking the cause of a downward spiral is not always as easy.
No matter how much you invest in people, solutions, and strategies, it will all be for nothing without customers. That means your commercial conversations with prospects and customers are the critical components of growth and profitability.
By building a kickoff agenda around the messages, skills, and content, backed by Decision Science and rigorously vetted with academic research, you can bring together the right story and the right skills to have conversations that win across your sales, marketing, and customer success organizations.
- Sales teams need to master the skills necessary to answer the critical questions buyers are asking in key moments in their decision-making process.
- Marketers need to develop consistent and compelling marketing messages and assets that activate buyers’ memories and influence their decisions.
- And customer success teams need to reinforce your value early and often, actively defending and protecting the relationship against your competition.
meet your buyer where they are
Most annual kickoff events conveniently ignore one glaring fact: There is no one-size-fits-all message, approach, or selling situation.
Your buyers are asking different questions at different times as they determine whether or not they will buy from you. And our sales research shows that using the same approach for every conversation will hurt your chances of winning the deal.
So, instead of cramming your kickoff with hours of feature-dense presentations that focus all on your solution, what if you helped them have more effective conversations with prospects and customers?
Your reps won’t win over your prospects and customers for your business using the same messages, techniques, and selling skills for every interaction. Instead, you need to enable your team to stay situationally fluent and tailor their approach for each conversation in the Customer Deciding Journey.
Train your commercial teams on the Customer Deciding Journey—a series of critical questions your buyers ask as they decide to buy from you and stay with you after they become a customer. Enable them to address those questions and progress opportunities by focusing on what buyers truly find valuable.
a final caution on hybrid events
When it comes to picking your 2022 kickoff format—virtual vs. in-person vs. a hybrid mix—we recommend tailoring the experience for the attendee. That means not just turning on the cameras and expecting everyone to get the same value.
It’s certainly okay to webcast large all-hands meetings and one-to-many keynote addresses where there’s limited interaction.
But for product launch content, sales training, or other instances where you expect participation, our experience during the pandemic was that hybrid classrooms and workshops reduce the impact on everyone—both in the room and on camera.
We found the most effective approach to be:
- For onsite teams, dedicate a facilitator so you can work in small groups right in the room.
- For virtual teams, look at virtual classrooms or asynchronous training and coaching so you can certify each team member’s fluency with your skills and messages. In fact, virtual training can actually be better than classroom training.
Looking for more tips for building a successful sales kickoff? Check out our e-book, Why Your Sales Kickoff Needs a Shake-Up.