Sales Kick Off
I’ve sat on this post for the better part of 5 weeks because, friends, it has been busy! Between QBRs and EOQ, hiring, training, building new programs and everything else under the enablement sun, we find ourselves in the season of SKO planning.
My draft for this post read as such:
- Start planning now
So I reiterate. If you have been waiting for a sign to start planning SKO, take it from me, START PLANNING NOW. January-February are basically tomorrow.
I’m co-writing this post with my friend, Handshake’s Sales Enablement Manager, Mark Riley. It’s loosely adapted from our last conversation. Mark and I became friends over the pandemic and when I first started chatting with him about my SKO plans, he brought up a solid point. A philosophical point, I might add. “The question for every enablement person” he said, “is - is SKO the forum for training?”
Let’s set the scene.
We’ve just barely survived a global pandemic.
Most of us in this field have continued to hire and onboard folks remotely over the course of the last 18-19 months, without ever spending any time with them in person.
Borders are barely open so anything in-person continues to be perceived as risky.
People’s hunger to meet their teams is at an all time high - especially when said people are extraverted sales folks.
People’s bars for being delighted and inspired is quite low - remember, a lot of us have had little to no social interaction - FOR 2 WHOLE YEARS!
I don’t want to write a definitive guide to SKO planning because every organization is different but here are definitely some of my considerations:
Have you surveyed your team to see whether or not they’d like to gather in person?
How are you considering people who will not be in-person attendees? What does virtual parity look like for you? You will inevitably need a virtual option - whether it’s a simple Zoom or a fancier platform like Hopin, Filo.io, Pluto that create virtual breakout rooms - you want to hedge against some folks not being able to make it out to your in-person events.
Based on the cyclicality of your sales cycle, are you looking to celebrate 2021 or look forward to and prepare for 2022? Ideally, you’d consider a balance of both but I’d encourage you to ask the question of your leadership team to get a better gauge on content.
How are you planning to inspire and delight your team? You want to create opportunities for folks to be inspired and delighted and you also want to create opportunities for connection.
How can you make sure people leave SKO feeling like they are part of one global team? Thinking through events and workshops that combine cross-functional groups of people can lead to astounding levels of camaraderie that will last far into the year.
What balance of social and learning does your organization want to strike? While there is a forum for learning, SKO is at its core, especially in our mid-post pandemic era, a social event. However, you’re dealing with paradoxes: people are not used to drinking, not used to being around each other and in some cases, could get overwhelmed by everything going on.
Simultaneously, SKO is very much a party - so expecting productivity after night one is an ask. How are you thinking of reiterating the content + deliverables post SKO?
After reflecting on these questions, hopefully, you can gather the answer to the question we posed at the start. After everything that we have been through these past 18 months, SKO might be better served as an avenue for connection than training.
I’d love to hear if this resonated or if you’re considering doing something completely different. SKO is such a cultural thing for every organization, so it’s always fun to learn how teams are approaching it.