It’s that time of year again, again.
If you’re planning a Virtual Sales Kick Off (Virtual SKO) for 2021, you’re likely scrambling to find new ways to get your team excited and motivated with a sales kick off event that can’t be held in person. Typically, sales kickoffs have been a much anticipated team-building and hype-creating event. But now that everything is virtual (thanks COVID pandemic), can you still capture the magic and create the energy of an in person event to get your 2021 selling off to a great start?
With the right planning, we think the answer is yes! Face to face meetings aren’t the end all be all.
A successful virtual sales kickoff relies on proper planning, and a dedication to thinking outside the box. Sales reps rely on the camaraderie generated at these events to fuel them throughout the fiscal year. While it’s true that there are certain set backs to going virtual, there are tons of cool upsides rooted in the functionality of tech that you can capitalize on to get the most out of your event. If you want to inspire your sales team to go above and beyond this upcoming year, set the example with a kickass kickoff that inspires new sales leaders.
Here are some ideas and things to keep in mind when you’re planning your next virtual sales kickoff:
Set up your goals before hand
Make sure you go into the planning process with a clear idea of what you want your virtual event to accomplish. Events geared towards building excitement will be much different than those geared towards hashing out responsibilities within teams.
Considering that people are more likely to get burned out (see ‘digital fatigue’) when they’re interacting over zoom versus in person, you need to make sure you’re being efficient with the time you have. Prioritize activities and content inclusion that’s going to achieve your most important goals.
Create some buzz a few weeks out
Building excitement before the event is one of the best ways to make sure people remain engaged and invested during the SKO itself. Think about ways you can generate anticipation among participants in the weeks leading up to the event.
A few ideas we’ve seen customers use to generate excitement:
- Send a lanyard customized for your event
- Use exciting messaging to promote keynote speakers and guest speakers on social media
- Offer a choice of t-shirt or hat using Swag.com’s giveaways feature
- Mail each attendee a pen and notebook customized for your SKO
Break up your event to avoid digital fatigue
All-day events are a little overwhelming when they’re conducted on Zoom, Skype or any other virtual hosting platform. You’ll start to lose people if you don’t add breaks for people to recuperate and step away from the computer for a bit!
Rather than cramming all of your event activities and goals into one or two days, think about spreading out the event over a period of time. By having events only take up a small portion of the day, you can avoid burning people out, and also respect that their at-home schedules might not be conducive to all-day events. Some other tips include:
- Include fitness or entertainment breaks in between talks and breakout sessions
- Don’t make post-event social involvement mandatory. Virtual happy hours are only fun when you want to be there!
- Alternate between types of events when possible. Three speakers in a row might not be as engaging as a speaker followed by a trivia contest and then more speakers!
Create a physical point of contact for the whole team
Great sales kickoff meetings function to rally the troops, and get teams motivated to work together towards knocking down the goals of the quarter. Team-building is an essential part of this even though it’s made all the more difficult by distance.
You can overcome that distance by giving your teams a physical touchpoint to connect them. A small item might not seem like it could make a big impact. But when everyone on the team is wearing the same branded hat, or t-shirt or hoodie or whatever else you want people to have, you can create a real moment of unity.
Remember to make space for your team to acknowledge the fact that these small gifts are uniting everyone. Take a moment to have everyone hold theirs up to the camera for a powerful affirmation of your team cohesion.
Use pre-made content to your advantage
Live streaming is a difficult activity to make interesting for hours and hours on end. Even great speakers sometimes struggle to be engaging over webcam. Use the medium to your advantage and don’t hesitate to replace more mundane presentations with content that can be way more exciting.
Small things like pre recording fun introductions for outside speakers or team members is an easy way to get started. You can eventually work your way up to doing the year in review as a fun video instead of a slidedeck, or having speakers record their speeches ahead of time so you can add more content into their video.
Even mining the internet for fun videos is a good way to break up the more intense and draining moments that come from too much time in front of a webcam! Making this content available on-demand will increase the odds that people engage with it.
Gamefy engagement to boost participation
If you want to increase engagement, reward participation and gain insights into how well your event worked, implement some strategies of gamification into your virtual sales kickoff. Gamification turns the activities of participation into quantifiable units that you can encourage people to do by offering incentives for them.
Giving people rewards for things like asking questions of speakers, participating in breakout sessions and more makes getting the most out of your virtual sales kickoff feel fun and easy. Most massive organizations running virtual sales kickoffs use some type of gamification to also track participant data on what worked, and what didn’t.
Celebrate team wins and outstanding performers
To get people excited about the future, you’ll have to celebrate the past. Taking some time to recognize individual and team performances from the last quarter will go a long way in getting everyone invested in making the podium next time around.
This can be as simple as a five minute presentation about what goals were met, or as elaborate as an hours-long virtual awards gala! The important thing is to make it clear that the company appreciates hard work and dedication.
Another easy way to boost excitement around top performers is to offer swag prizes to top sales-people from the previous quarter. Crushing quotas = brand new Airpods?
At the end of the day, virtual sales kickoffs are not that different from their in-person counterparts. The main goals are celebration, excitement and team-building— all things that can be achieved over a webcam with a little forethought and planning. These are just some of the things we think you should keep in mind when planning your next virtual SKO for your sales organization. We’ll leave it up to you to discover what works best for you!
What have you done to make virtual sales kickoff meetings successful? Reach out to email@example.com for a chance to be featured!