sales consulting


Companies spend approximately $3,000/rep on flights, hotels, food, conference rooms, speakers, materials, etc.  The purpose of Sales Kickoff is to get the year off to a fast start by educating and motivating the sales force.  We can argue if the expense is worth it ($54 Billion. source: U.S. Dept. of Bureau of Labor Statistics 18 million reps x $3k/rep) but why bother?  SKO is part of our collective sales culture. It is ritual sales leaders are unlikely to cancel.


The question is: “How to Get the Most out of Sales Kickoff?”


Our sales consultants attend our client’s SKO’s for we often facilitate a session or two.  Over the years, we have learned a few things about what makes for a successful event.  I thought I would share them with you for SKO season starts next week.


3 Ideas for the Presenters:


    1. Reps do not care about products.  They care about why people buy them. Reps want to know what problem a prospect is experiencing that the product can solve.  They care about who in the prospect environment is experiencing this problem and how to get in front of him.  Reps would like to know the decision criteria a prospect will use to evaluate possible solutions and what these possible solutions might be.
      • Take Away: Eliminate the product training.  Replace it with product-specific sales training.
    2. Reps do not want to be at SKO.  A week away from the family, sitting in a class room, with late nights swapping war stories with Joe from Kansas City is enough to demotivate anyone.   Try “Edutainment”.  Entertainment + Education = Edutainment.  If you are on the agenda for 1 hour, you should present for less than 15 minutes in total.  Rep exercises should consume the other 45 minutes.  Sales people learn by doing.  Keep them engaged.
      • Take Away: Eliminate PowerPoint.  Replace it with role plays, games, contests, group exercises, etc.
    3. Reps listen to other reps.  They do not listen to presenters who have never sold anything.  There are many presenters, internal and external, that can add lots of value.  However, they do not have any credibility with the audience so no one listens to them. Make sure all the presenters have “street cred”.
      • Take Away: Use a “train the trainer” approach.  Have the subject matter experts transfer their knowledge to the top reps and managers and have them give the presentations. Joe from Kansas City will be on the edge of his seat as Bob, rep #1 on the stack rank, is discussing how he closed the biggest deal of the year.


3 ideas for the Attendees:

  1. Learn more out of the class room than you do in the class room.  Product, Industry, Company, and Sales training can all be consumed online before and after the event.  The learning that can only be accomplished in person is the magical SKO content.  For example, eating breakfast with a rep that just joined the company from the top competitor.  Picking his brain on how the competition will attack an account is, as they say, “Priceless”.
    • Take Away: Build a list of people you want to meet.  Call them before the event and book an appointment.
  2. Study the agenda.  Show up with 5 key questions you want to get answered in each session.  It is impossible to retain all the information that will be shared.  Create a filter and screen all information for the 5 key nuggets that matter to you the most.  This will insure you get the most out of every session.
    • Take Away: Get the agenda, including the list of speakers for each session.  Email each presenter.  Tell him you are excited to hear them speak and would like to prepare.  Ask them for an advanced copy of the presentation.  Read it on the plane ride to the event.
  3. Exercise.  Adult learning experts will tell you those 45 minutes of an elevated heart rate each morning improves retention rates by as much as 50%.  Something about oxygen levels in the blood stream.  I have tried this and it really does work. If you don’t exercise, by day 3 sitting in a chair, you will wish you did.
    • Take Away: Get to the hotel gym by 5:00 A.M.  Around 6:00 A.M. the late night party people will be pouring in to sweat off the hang over, making the 4 treadmills in short supply.


If you want to implement some of the ideas above and need some help, reach out to one of our sales consultants below.  Fill out the form and one of them will get back to you:


Dan Perry

John Staples

Tony Albachiara

Ryan Tognazzini

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