Sales Kick-offs (SKOs) continue to evolve to make the time a firm’s producers are together as valuable as possible. Leading firms are making the sessions more interactive. They are structuring these sessions more around a desired outcome, and the focus is the communication of information. This allows leadership to focus on defined takeaways. Leverage the practices we see leading firms execute ahead of your sessions and watch your 2020 results soar.

Are you about to hold your annual sales kick-off meeting (SKO)?  If you are, you are about to take your producing employees out of their day-to-day for over two days.  Are you doing everything you can to make sure the firm gets the most out of this large investment – both hard costs as well as opportunity costs of your sales reps not being focused on driving bookings and billings?


We have found leading firms execute several activities leading up to, during, and after the sales kick-off meetings.  Firms that execute these in the right timeframe get the most out of the investment.


SBI’s latest research shares how leading firms re-classify their Sales Kick-off into an Acceleration Summit. They transition to more action-oriented nomenclature focused around your goals, accelerating revenue by focusing on your bets, pre-work, and collaborative sessions sharing learnings.  We recently compiled a whitepaper on how to pivot an SKO to more of an Acceleration Summit (Sales Kickoff is Dead) that you can leverage in further enhancing your 2020 kick-off. The report shares how Market Leaders reach their revenue goals and avoid the 7 most common mistakes that companies make year after year.


Download the Executive Brief Here


7 Actions to Make the Most of Your SKO / Acceleration Summit


  1. Pre-Wire All Levels


Provide an early agenda and what you expect all participants should take from the meeting.  Be very clear where you want each role to focus on their time away from the office.  This should not just be focused on your sales reps, but also the supporting functions and roles attending.  At SBI, we have a “Be Great” value, “Striving for excellence in everything we do.  We define what great looks like then we do it”.  Specific to your SKO, we see leading firms define what this looks like well ahead of the SKO. This ensures everyone has the time leading up to, during, and after the SKO to execute on leadership’s direction.


  1. Assign Prep for the Meeting


Be very specific.  Gather information ahead of the SKO that you will use to help define the agenda and reference throughout.  Show that you are listening to the field and responding in a timely manner to their requests in support of each one being more successful in their various roles.


  1. Set the Tone


Set a tone of accountability and preparation.  Start sessions promptly when they are scheduled and allow conversations to flow while staying on schedule.  You set your agenda for a reason.  On the preparation front, act how you want each person to act in the field.  They are the extension of leadership and the firm that buyers see in their day-to-day life.  Act how you want each of them to act throughout their interactions.  During the sessions, limit multi-tasking and be present.  After, follow-up timely with actions and a recap.  This will demonstrate expectations leading up to a prospect meeting, during the meeting and after.


  1. Define What Great Looks like and Provide Clarity


Define upfront what reflecting on the event at the end should look like.  There will be a series of speakers throughout – define the 2-4 takeaways each person should pull from each session and the broader gathering.  If you cannot define takeaways, question whether they should be at the session and whether this is the best use of their time.  Use these target end outcomes as a framing for the speakers on how they approach and execute their sessions of the SKO.


  1. Share Best Practices


Allow time for those leading performers to share in how they operate.  It could be top-down macro items, but also more granular bottom-up looking at how they spend their time each day or in a given week.  Use specific examples of decisions they made and the results they provided.  Again, you have the face of the team together in a single room, use this time to define how you want them to represent the firm.


  1. Review Bets


Review your bets from this past year.  Where did leadership and supporting functions spend their time and firm dollars?  Be honest with the outcomes from those bets and the learnings.  Remember, sales reps are not as close to the day-to-day execution of initiatives to know what happened and their role in the successes or shortfalls.  Pivot to spending time where the firm is going this next year and well as long term.  For the next year, be very specific.  What exactly is leadership doing, and what is it that you look for each of them to do to make sure the firm gets the most out of each investment?  This will likely vary by role, spend your time on the target end results while breaking down to how each role can operate the next year to bets support a successful outcome.


  1. Recap the Time Together


Provide a timely, well thought out recap to the time together.  You can draft this ahead of time based on what you believe will happen to help make even more timely.  We have found it is important that this is provided within 24 hours of the end of the SKO to make the most impactful.


See how the top 16% of companies prepare for their Acceleration Summits by accessing our latest research.


Download the Executive Brief Here


Again, you are taking valuable time with your teams together in preparation for a successful year.  Make the most of this time together.  SBI provides an array of services.  Specific to kicking off a new year, we help firms organize their sessions together with their team to make the best use of the time. We can come to you or welcome hosting your leadership team at our Studio in Dallas. Contact us to schedule a working session to help plan out your 2020.


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Doug Bartels

Securing the business to scale and grow in the most effective manner

Serve as SBI’s head of finance to enable the partners to invest more time helping our clients make your number.  My role is to support the rapid growth of SBI to maintain the quality of delivery expected of our clients by maintaining healthy bottom line while supporting our continued growth.


In the past, Doug functioned as a management consultant in the financial services industry serving top tier wealth management, asset management and brokerage institutions in the areas of strategy development, project management, process improvement, systems integration and risk management.

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