Once a year, sales support organizations around the world gear up for the beloved Sales Kickoff. This is the magic conference that reflects on past accomplishments, sets expectations for the upcoming year and usually injects the sales force with new knowledge intended to turn them into ninja sellers. Sales Kickoffs are held in exotic places meant to make the sales force feel loved and appreciated -- like Vegas!
Having been a member of a world-class sales organization, I've not only attended many of these kickoffs, but I've even been a team member in charge of organizing the content for the event. I love them!! They bring renewed energy, a sense of camaraderie, and when the sellers are going home, their heads are full of new ideas and strategies that will surely land them on the top of the company's leader board.
But, the question is -- will they really implement what they learned? Or, when faced with challenging selling situations, will they fall back into their old habits? And, the more important question is HOW WILL YOU KNOW??! Millions of dollars are invested in these events every year with only subjective feedback being the barometer of success.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind as you noodle on how you will be answering to your executive sponsors this year:
- Align your training with what's on your scorecard - one of the biggest challenges is determining what new ideas, approaches and skills to bring to your sales force. Often, out of desperation, the training deployed is the "hot" commodity in the market. The training that has the loudest buzz; the biggest promise to skyrocket your sales. STOP! Don't fall into that trap. Start by thinking carefully about your current sales scorecard. Where are a majority of your sellers falling short? Which sales performance indicators need the biggest boost - and which training focuses on the behaviors/skills that can impact those indicators. Moving your decision making in this direction will help you land on the right training to introduce to your sellers.
- Have a solid support strategy in place - eliminate the reputation for providing a "training du jour" at your annual kickoffs. What you want is to change the DNA of your sellers and the only way to cultivate that type of transformation is to have a strong support strategy that will steadily reinforce your new skills and behavior shifts. Measurements that we have conducted have shown a 10-20% lift in skill adoption when strongly supported by managers who coach.
- Measuring behavior change isn't really that hard - It starts with knowing what the learning objectives are, understanding how they play out in the rhythm of sales execution and finally, figuring out how that impacts the sales performance indicators you've identified. Great sites like Kirkpatrick Partners or ROI Institute will teach you the methodology behind this concept. If you want an independent, third-party lens on this measurement, Beyond ROI has been conducting measurement studies for over 10 years and would love to help you actually execute on this process.
Take a look at this success story and think about presenting these type of insights to your executive sponsors this year! It's easier than you might think, and more necessary than you can realize.