One Trick to Double the Value of Sales Kickoff

Sales Kickoff remains one of the best ways to energize the team, check in on performance and progress, and introduce the new strategies on hand for the year. This is when products and messages for most companies meet the road and start to reach your prospects. Adding a simple element to the formula – pre-work – can completely change the impact Kickoff has on your team and goals.

At CommercialTribe, we just underwent our own Sales Kickoff, a three-day, in-office event designed to bring the team together and introduce new messages and behaviors. But this year, we did not rely on Kickoff alone to spearhead an entire year of selling.

This year, we invested in a new strategy for Kickoff – pre-work – a simple and affordable way to create deep change throughout the remainder of the year.

We’ve covered the idea of pre-work before, as part of the concept of “Certify to Fly,” but making change can be even more simple than executing a full Kickoff methodology.

Pre-work for Kickoff means anything that reps do before the event to gain exposure to the new content. In some cases, this can take the form of a formal certification on the materials, while in others, it can be a guide or video to watch.

The benefits of pre-work come before and after the event. Before, reps are able to see and review the newest messages or skills, increasing familiarity and helping ensure that valuable in-person time at the event is used wisely.

After, you will find that reps better master the materials, shortening time to productivity for new products and messages and increasing the length of the selling season. Your mileage varies depending on your unique timing and selling season, but with more chances to master content and coordinate messages before taking them into the market, reps will reach productivity faster, sell more, and go the distance toward reaching this year’s higher goals.

Pre-work is easy to execute, yet can be a complex, impactful part of your Sales Kickoff. Three frames that pre-work can take are:

  1. Watch – one-way tasks where reps read or watch content, absorbing the material and gaining familiarity with the topics.
  2. Watch and Respond – the same as “watch” activities, but with a strong emphasis on practice. Reps not only review the material, but provide a response based on a prompt or practice the scenario until they get it right.
  3. Formal Certification – a full certification course designed to not only ensure familiarity, but to actually steer reps through learning and applying the new material. This is the “heaviest” activity, requiring more time before the event to execute.

No matter the approach, pre-work will provide benefits. Reps become more comfortable with complex new materials, time to absorb and practice is doubled at the very least, and the normal delay in reaching full productivity collapses. In the meantime, the effort needed to roll out pre-work before Sales Kickoff is minimal – repurposing materials a few weeks in advance of the event is enough.

How do you use pre-work in your Sales Kickoff? Do you apply it to other events throughout the selling year?

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