Over the last three years the traditional sales kickoff meeting has drastically changed. No longer is the meeting a big boondoggle where you enjoy an uplifting speech from the CEO, old customer success stories, reviews of best practices, training on new products, and many libations. To read about how world class organizations deliver sales kickoff meetings, sign up for our making the number tour and receive sales kickoff best practices checklist.
Measuring the effectiveness of sales kickoff is challenging for most organizations. Typically use some loose attempts at ROIs that aren’t effective. The process is fundamentally flawed because it provides no ability to benchmark and measure performance. In fact, the proper process to execute and measure a sales kickoff meeting includes four phases.
4 Phases of Measuring the Performance of your Sales Kickoff
Phase 1 – Research
Research is the first step to proper measurement of the sales kickoff meeting. This first Phase includes two key activities:
- Customer Research: Before you begin to develop content for the sales kickoff it is critical to understand the customer. The best way to accomplish this is through customer interviews and customer surveys.
- Customer interviews – Conduct at least 5 win and 5 loss interviews. During the interviews ask the customer about the process they went through to come to their decision. Why did they choose to do nothing, go with the competition or select us? What was their opinion of us? It is important to ensure the content covered and the skills developed are in sync with buyer needs.
- Customer surveys – Develop and send your customers a survey that determines current customer satisfaction. Some organizations can use their net promoter survey if it is properly timed. This information will provide a baseline for customer satisfaction and requirements.
- Field Sales Research: It is critical to obtain the view of the sales team. To accomplish this best practice is to conduct interviews and surveys.
- Sales Representative Interviews – Perform sales representative interviews to uncover the challenges sales reps are experiencing today. What do they need to be more effective? What types of problems are they helping customers solve? What are they looking to achieve?
- Sales Representative Survey – After completing the Sales Rep interviews, identify the key areas for focus. Build a sales rep survey to gauge the current sales skill level and identify knowledge gaps. Never shoot from the hip and assume you know what the sales force needs.
Phase 2 – Benchmark
Developing baseline data is absolutely critical to successful measurement. It is imperative to know critical metrics including: average deal size, average sales cycle, win rates, qualified lead flow, content generated leads, etc. Most sales operations leaders find bringing in a benchmarking firm to help set the baseline and compare against peers to be highly valuable.
Phase 3 – Feedback
Feedback should be obtained from each entity that will be impacted by the sales kickoff.
- Organizational Feedback: Today we have technology like Chatter and Yammer that enables us to gather reactions with lightning speed. If you have recently watched a presidential debate you might have noticed all of the news agencies are tracking trends on Twitter during and after the debate. Encourage your Sales organization to send messages during the sales kickoff. Then, like news agencies, track the messages and identify what themes are trending. This will help you identify key themes and information that is resonating with the sales team.
- Customer Feedback: After completing your internal research go back and conduct 5 win and 5 loss interviews with customers. Determine if anything has changed. Are Sales reps matching buyer behavior? Are Sales reps improving the customer experience? Is doing business easier?
- Sales Representative Feedback: Survey the sales force to get their opinions of the sales kickoff. Did it meet all of their objectives? Do they feel they improved themselves in some capacity? Did the event motivate them?
Phase 4 – Evaluation
Evaluation should be both qualitative and quantitative to be effective.
- Field Sales Evaluation: To ensure proper adoption of content and sales skills, survey the sales force. Ascertain if knowledge gaps have been closed and skill sets improved. The best time to survey the field is one month after sales kickoff. If sales reps aren’t using the new content and skills after a month, they never will.
- Document Download Evaluation: In this day and age, it is a good bet your sales reps have a tablet (Kindle Fire, iPad, etc) or at a minimum a laptop. Therefore, make all of your sales kickoff materials and sales enablement content downloadable. This will not only save you money on paper but you can track which sales reps are downloading and tracking along with the content.
- Sales Data Evaluation: After one full sales campaign cycle conduct a complete sales analysis, recalculate your key metrics and put them against your benchmark date from phase 2. Ask yourself:
- Has the average deal size increased, decreased or remained constant?
- Have sales cycle length increased, decreased or remained constant?
- Has the win rate increased, decreased or remained the same?
- Have sales qualified leads increased, decreased or remained constant?
- Have content generated leads increased, decreased or remained constant?
- Has customer satisfaction increased, decreased or remained constant?
- Has rep usage of the sales kickoff materials increased, decreased or remained the same?
Call to action:
Don’t wait to begin the sales kickoff measurement process. Make sure your organization is set up to research, benchmark, obtain feedback and evaluate performance. Email me here if you want to talk through how to effectively measure your sales kickoff. I will bring my sales kickoff ROI calculator to make sure you get a head start and are successful.