Every year, thousands of companies spend millions of dollars on sales kickoff (SKO) events. You are likely one of them. What is the best strategy for communication across the executive team so you can drive the most value out of the next Acceleration Summit? This is not a sales event. This is an organizational alignment event that requires every corporate facet to be aligned.
SBI’s recent survey of B2B sales leaders found that the average company spends $450,000 on this event — but adding the “soft” costs of 2.4 days of sales rep time increases the total to $2.2 million. See the most recent SBI Research Report, Sales Kickoff Is Dead to see how the top %16 of Market Leaders will reach their revenue goals in 2020.
Alignment starts with communication and an overall communication architecture to ensure the CEO and the entire Commercial Leadership Team (CRO, CMO, CCO, CPO, CHRO) have a consistent message.
Program Architecture and Framework
A good architecture starts at the top with an overall list of priorities from the Executive team that is consistently managed. It starts with 3-5 year programs and then to annual and quarterly initiatives and priorities. Every executive needs to know what their organization is doing to support this framework.
The Acceleration Summit is an essential touchpoint for everyone, and there needs to be consistency. Great companies have this communication architecture and a consistent communication cadence with the commercial organization.
Evolve Your Meeting from an Event to a Program
How does the commercial leader take this meeting a step further? First, run it as a program. The 6 components below should be part of the Acceleration Summit and be consistently revisited throughout the year. Secondly, the prep work should be required from everyone. The commercial organization needs to do their homework. Here are some fundamental core components:
- Win/Loss Reviews – Everyone should bring their best of wins and losses to the Summit, and they should be discussed as a team. This is a key learning opportunity that should also be ongoing throughout the year
- Deal Clinics – With the involvement of finance, marketing, sales, and product, there should be a panel deal clinic that shows the commercial team how to be great at getting deals done and positioning the solution.
- Customer Interactions – Great Acceleration Summits have customers and partners participating in the event. This should be interactive and include the sales executive that is responsible for being a part of the interaction.
- Solution Theatres – Is there a need to make sure that every solution is presented in detail? If so, run breakouts sessions, so there is time to present in front of smaller audiences. This is also something that can be initiated the week before the Summit via video conference and followed up that way as well.
- Leadership Session – Acceleration Summits are for the sales organization, but most of the time, the field sales management team is overlooked. It is critical to touch on key areas like the ones below and make sure there is a consistent message.
- Hiring Best Practices
- Compensation Plan Preview
- Coaching Techniques
- Sales Methodology
- Market Plans – Sales Executives should have their territories in advance of the Summit and should be responsible for building their FY20 strategy on how they will manage that market. That includes net new logo and existing account approaches, leveraging referrals, and key client relationships, as well as what their overall focus will be specific to their market. These plans should be written, and if possible, the Leadership team should do 10-15 minute reviews across the few days together.
Lastly, sustainability is where the Summit is turned into value. The key to driving long term goals over the year(s) is the follow-up. That means the Acceleration Summit turns into the QBR, the mid-year readout, and then again revised the following year.
SBI has attended hundreds of kickoffs and talked to thousands of field sales members, and they want more from this Summit. It is the Executive team’s responsibility to make that happen. Approach this year’s event with a new growth acceleration mentality. The goal of a live meeting is to activate your strategy. Market leaders activate their plan before, during, and after the Acceleration Summit.
Start planning like Market Leaders by implementing best practices described in SBI’s latest research.
You will find that by following the construct of market leaders, you will generate a measurable ROI. This ROI is not done by measuring the event — it is measured through the execution of your strategy, seen in quarterly and weekly actions carried out by your teams, and measured by a critical few KPIs.
Are you leading this for your company? Are you making sure you get the ROI? This is the most important interaction with your field team you will have in FY20. How prepared are they, and how ready is the executive team to deliver the right message?
If you want to leverage benchmark and best practice to plan your FY20 Acceleration Summit, have your executive team spend a day in the SBI Studio with our team of experts. The result will be a roadmap developed together with SBI that will be the blueprint for growth in FY20. Contact me to get started.
Additional resources tod look at before your FY20 Acceleration Summit:
- Q4 2019 SBI Research Report – Sales Kickoff is Dead
- Make Your Number in 2020: Kickoff the Year in Style
- Did Corporate Leave You Out to Dry Again?
- What Role Should the CEO Play at Sales Kickoff?
- 10 Questions for the CEO to Review at Sales Kickoff