Every sales team had to innovate like crazy this year. It wasn’t easy, but teams all across the world dug deep, got creative, and came up with some amazing solutions to reach their sales goals. Now it’s time for everyone to get together, celebrate those successes, and talk about what’s next at the yearly sales kick off. The question is — with in-person events still on hold — How?
Let’s take a step back. What is a SKO (or sales kick off)? A sales kick off is a high energy, in-person event that brings together the whole sales team, all under one roof (maybe for the only time all year). There’s usually an overarching theme or mantra baked into the event, keynote speakers, awards, team building exercises, dining, drinks, and enough in-person networking so that everyone can hit the ground running the very next day.
This year, most sales kick off meetings will need to go virtual, and they’ll need to be just as effective, or more so, as in person events. It’s a tall order, but with the right planning, your virtual SKO can still inspire, connect, and motivate your team to reach another record breaking year!
Here’s 6 of our best virtual sales kick off ideas; all are tried and true, and based on our time creating and studying virtual events this past year.
Pick a SKO theme that makes sense for right now.
Your sales kick off theme is that one idea that makes all the other parts of the SKO make sense. It’s your northstar for right now, the rest of the fiscal year. In more normal times, themes like: Synergize! Or Ignite! Or Slam Dunk Everyday! — were the right way to go (we still actually like Slam Dunk Everyday). But the point is, this past year has not been normal, and while things are looking up, people will respond most to a virtual event with a real emotional punch. Something with some sincerity, but also some levity. Something that inspires them to connect with businesses and clients on a human level everyday. That could still be Slam Dunk Everyday! It’s all how you sell it.
Start marketing your SKO now!
Start marketing your virtual SKO well before the event day. Use this time as an opportunity to explore your theme and spark conversation with your coworkers. See what people respond to most on the Slack channel, on email, on social. Adjust your methods based on the feedback. Build awareness for the message that you are going to convey on event day so people are excited before they log into the meeting. Think about this step as laying the groundwork for not just a SKO, but your sales for the rest of the year. It’s also just a great way to keep up communication in the office, which is important now, more than ever.
Keep your SKO meeting short and to the point.
Your virtual SKO is important, and can have real impact on your team, but it’s still a big chunk of screen time, and Zoom fatigue is a real thing. To get ahead of this, give your sales kick-off agenda some strict time parameters before you get too far into the planning. Start with 15 minutes for each speaker, 5 minutes cameos, 10 minute breakouts, and maybe 30 minutes for a keynote address. To give you an idea of what’s possible, we solved an entire virtual space mystery in just 2hrs, and that included multiple scripted presentations, 3 – 10 minute break out sessions with Q&As, and even a quick stretch break halfway through! When in doubt, think short, focused, and two the point.
Think BIG for SKO speakers or cameos.
Everyone is on Zoom; CEO’s, athletes, artists, musicians, public figures, they are all just a click away. Chances are, if you reach out to a celebrity speaker with a theme that’s inspiring, and something that you are passionate about, they’ll be interested in speaking at your virtual SKO. Also, keep in mind that your virtual sales meeting will be creating amazing original content for your company. You’ll be able to use the virtual SKO recording for onboarding events and interagency workshops, and adding lasting value to your educational materials. You’ll also be showing future teams that you will do big, out of the box things, to help them succeed.
Pass the mic during your SKO!
Every salesperson has a story this year about how they overcame less than ideal circumstances to succeed. Encourage people to share these moments, possibly by pre-recording short, 3-5min cameo videos for the event. In addition to keeping the total time low, these kinds of face-to-face, low-key recordings, will help people feel more connected at your virtual event. Also, the real life experiences and thoughts recorded here will be vital sales resources for your team, especially this year. This is the stuff you can’t get from a sales book. You have to learn it in the field (or on the Zooms most recently). Most importantly, you’ll be elevating the voices of people on your team, and giving them the experience to lead in the future.
Get people moving, literally.
If you really want to get people amped up and thinking about sales in a new way, try incorporating some movement into your virtual event. Encourage people to take a walk break during the event. Incorporate a guided meditation with some light stretching. Maybe even bring some competition into the mix by organizing a virtual 5k run or bike ride. You can even create a podcast that people can listen to while at the park or on the beach. It’s all about putting people in a positive frame of mind to digest new information. The outdoors and exercise will do that every time!
When in doubt, focus on your team.
There’s a lot to get distracted by when planning a virtual SKO. You have tons of information to get to people and a short amount of time to do it. Also the format is new and unfamiliar. When in doubt, make each part about connecting with your team, and helping them get where they need to go. If you focus on that, your sales team will be more than ready for another record breaking year!
If you’re looking to give your sales team a great experience, the Expo Pass Virtual Experience may be the solution for you. We make all kinds of events, all kinds of easy, including your next SKO.