Blink your eyes, take a breath, and in a moment it will be time for your Q1 Sales Kick Off. Some of you already have a team in place working hard on your event. Good. For the rest of you, we are going to cover in the next 5 minutes some FAQs about how to make sure that your Sales Kick Off produces results without wasting time and resources.
Why do you hold a Sales Kick Off?
The purpose of a Sales Kick off is to unify your entire revenue team around success in the upcoming year. This may by focusing on new messaging, product roadmap, specific skills, or encouraging internal networking between globally dispersed teams. Your teams should walk out of Sales Kick off feeling energized and confident about the direction of the company this year, knowing what is new this year, and able to use new skills to close business.
When should we hold Sales Kick Off?
Your Sales Kick off should be as close to the beginning of your fiscal year as possible. If your fiscal year begins in January, that means your Sales Kick Off should be as early in January as possible.
How many days should we have Sales Kick Off
There has been a trend towards longer Sales Kick Offs as of late, which I think is a mistake. Remember that every day that you have your reps in a conference room, they are not closing business. An ideal Sales Kick Off has managers attending a Manager Kick Off one day in advance of Sales Kick Off, followed by two to three days of sales kick off. Ideally Sales Kick Off should end on a Friday, since people will largely be too tired to work the day after Sales Kick Off.
When should we start planning Sales Kick Off?
One of the big mistakes I see is not giving enough time to plan a good sales kick off. If you have a simple kick off with under 50 people attending, give yourself around a month to plan. If you have closer to 100 people attending, give your team closer to two. If you have more than 100 people attending, give your team closer to three months to pull this event together.
Who is in charge of Sales Kick Off?
While many people will be involved in Sales Kick Off, it’s essential that there is a single person who is ultimately responsible for the success of the event, and that person is most likely not you. Ideally, Sales Enablement should own Sales Kick Off, with Sales Ops, Product Marketing, or an Event Manager being other options.
What is your role, as an executive?
Just because you will have someone owning Sales Kick Off doesn’t mean that you get to kick back and relax until the day of the event. Your role is to develop the vision for the event. Don’t hold a Sales Kick Off just because everyone else is doing it. You should have a specific objective that you are trying to drive with this event, whether it’s something broad like unifying sales and marketing around the buyer journey, or something specific having your team walk out of Sales Kick Off prepared to use a new sales process. Once you give your project lead the vision and the objective, much of their job will be around stripping out anything that does not drive that vision forward.
How much budget should be set aside?
When you are planning your Sales Kick Off, the first thing you should plan is the budget. Before objective, before agenda, before theme, there has to be an agreed understanding on the estimated budget for the event as well as the firm budget per person. Why per person? Because people get added to this event last minute, due to hires or an executive decision, and your project lead will need to show that the budget per person was held to.
There is no budget that is right or wrong. I’ve worked within budgets that are huge, and budgets that are tiny. You can get to your results either way. The important thing is knowing what the budget is, and sticking to it…. Which means that if you get an awesome idea to add something expensive a week before sales kick off, just know that you are giving your project lead heart palpitations :)
Who should come?
This is a big decision to make, as it impacts budget, the agenda, and the theme. If you only have quota carrying sales attend, the overall budget can be smaller, the theme is easier to figure out, and you can have a single track agenda. If you have multiple groups attend, from pre to post sales, it’s important to have an inclusive agenda and tracks that are a good use of time for everyone who is attending.
My personal preference is to have everyone who touches the customer attend, in addition to the recruiters for those orgs.
How often should we have Sales Kick Off
There is another trend to do semi-annual and quarterly Sales Kick Offs, which concerns me. Done well, Sales Kick Off is expensive in terms of both cost and resources. My strong suggestion is to do one annual sales kick off, and then do other, smaller, leaner, team focused events throughout the year.
Coming up next: Stop Kidnapping your Sales Reps, or the Dos and Don’ts of Sales Kick Offs.