Virtual Sales Kick Off (SKO) season is about to begin and, if you’re like many powerful sales organizations, you’re looking for big results post-session. In the past, your on-site events were filled with energy and sessions that motivated the team. Here are some ideas to consider that we have found will add some flavor to meat and potato virtual, SKO breakout sessions.
(Insert) “Company Name’s Got Talent”
This is a fun and energizing bracketed contest that illuminates your best pre-sales and sales presenters. We have found that a large, cash purse to the top two presenters provides extra spice to your talent and helps ensure that everyone spends time preparing for their demo or presentation. Below are some additional guidelines that you’ll find useful:
Before Kick Off:
- Establish and publish demo/presentation parameters (length, product, etc.) contest rules and prizes
- Create specific criteria for judging
- Schedule small groups to compete
- Work through brackets until you have top 2-4 demos/presentations
- Assemble and meet with final judging panel to validate decision criteria and scoring method.
During Kick Off:
- Have judging panel off camera during each presentation then, on-camera during comment portion of judging.
- Encourage panel to have fun with the comments! It’s okay if someone wants to play the mean “Simon” while the other judges remain positive! It will draw some laughter!
- Use a private breakout room for the judges to discuss and reach their final decisions.
- Have a video or presentation planned during the judging breakout.
- Announce the winners!
At 2Win!, we have facilitated and even judged these events and this segment of a virtual SKO is always the highest rated. Give it a try!
Training with “Masterclass Coaching”
Prior to 2020, many companies carved out a portion of their SKO for soft-skills training. At 2Win!, we would often bring in a cadre of training facilitators to provide instruction and coaching in multiple breakout rooms. This was a highly cost-effective approach to soft-skills training since travel was already covered and schedules were already reserved. Virtual SKO’s improve upon the cost-side of the equation since travel is no longer a consideration. The challenge is that most soft-skills training firms are scrambling to re-engineer for virtual soft-skills training. Since 2008, we’ve been refining our virtual approach and one of our most successful approaches is to offer virtual, self-paced lessons with live coaching. One twist is that for a large group (like an SKO), we provide coaching borrowed from the entertainment industry. It’s called “Masterclass Coaching”. For your SKO, everyone receives the self-paced training and must prepare for a presentation. However, only a handful of professionals are selected to perform live to the larger group. Each of these demos or presentations is coached by a skilled professional and the entire group learns from the coach's recommendations.
For your SKO, consider putting people into large groups based upon role, product line or market served. Have a master coach for each group and randomly select three or four presenters to be coached. This method preserves time, maximizes coaching exposure and illuminates best-practices.
Many of our clients believed that all of their SKO sessions required a live broadcast. However, when you have a large audience or sessions where the production will be complex a live stream is more advantageous. There are tools for live streams where you pre-record the session then, stream the session while monitoring it for questions and comments. Live streaming will also help with the inevitable scheduling challenges. All too often, live broadcasts go long impeding on follow on sessions. This problem becomes amplified when you are trying to orchestrate a matrix of sessions in a fixed schedule. Live streaming prevents this problem because you know the exact length of the stream and can precisely cease the question and answer portion of the session at the prescribed time.
Driving Session Engagement
Many companies find it challenging to keep participants engaged throughout a virtual SKO. The best way to assure consistent and widespread participation is through facilitator-driven engagement. Here’s some quick hacks on driving engagement:
- Session polling – Plan to have polls at strategic points during each presentation. We like a tool called Poll Everywhere because of their rich templates and creative approaches to polling. We advocate a quick poll at the beginning of each session to ensure that participants know that they are expected to engage during the session. Results of the polls can be show real-time or, at the conclusion of the poll. You can also use the results of a poll to ask second-level questions! For example, the facilitator could execute a poll then say “For everyone that chose option 1, chat why you chose that option”. Next, the presenter invites one of those individuals into the conversation to further discuss their perspective on the topic. This allows the presenter to lead the conversation in the direction they want it to go...simultaneously increasing engagement while reducing the risk of calling on someone that is ill-prepared or has a perspective that you don’t want to perpetuate. You can further enhance your conversations by having your moderator chat with conversational-candidates during your presentation thus assuring you select the best individuals.
- Knowledge checks – Each facilitator can perform knowledge checks during, and at the end of each session. We like to “gamify” these knowledge checks and a product called “Kahoot” is a perfect tool to make a contest out of knowledge checks. It works like a gameshow and the faster participants get the correct answers, the more points they accumulate towards the ending award or prize!
- #Hashtags – If you have common themes or messages you want driven into and through the sales team during your SKO, consider hashtagging them and encourage social posting throughout the session. The hashtags are searchable and repeat which helps with the retention of those key messages.
"2Win has been a key part of our professional skilling efforts the last several years, and their sessions are consistently our highest rated. This year they didn't miss a beat with their virtual delivery – valuable, engaging and recommended.”
Ray Schloss, Worldwide Technical Sales Director
Microsoft Business Applications
Variety is the spice of life for an SKO. Spice up yours with some of these tips to keep your team engaged, train them on new skills and drive post-event revenue through successful breakout sessions. At 2Win, we are always there to help so drop us a note if you want our help making your SKO a 2020 success!