Not all virtual experiences are created equal:

Delivering a superior hybrid SKO

In my last blog, I wrote about the traditional sales kick-off meeting no longer being fit for purpose in a modern organisation. With many companies adjusting their operations to a new, post-pandemic way of working, sales leaders acknowledge that the conventional two-day SKO blowout neither hits the mark nor makes commercial sense anymore in today’s economic climate.

One of the clear priorities for an evolved SKO is the inclusion of a virtual element that allows today’s dispersed teams to connect, share, and celebrate with their colleagues regardless of how they participate in the experience. There is no reason why a virtual audience should leave the annual SKO feeling any less informed, entertained, or motivated than those attending in person.

Some key factors to consider are:

  • Plan well.  Create a plan for how your speakers will engage with the audience digitally through polls, surveys, and breakout sessions. Engaging the group with healthy competition and live interactive visual polling will add a sense of fun and increase audience participation.
  • Choose a theme.  The hybrid element of the SKO experience is an opportunity to bring your theme to life with clever graphic design treatments, branded elements, and animation to create an immersive, engaging environment.
  • Keep their attention.  Digital content is getting shorter and shorter as our ability to concentrate has been reduced over time. For a hybrid event, keep the sessions smaller and shorter, with as much interactivity as possible. Complement large group sessions with small group meetings, taking advantage of the immediate access technology can provide.
  • Save costs.  For your hybrid SKO, bringing a speaker to a live audience “digitally” can work well – it’s a lot more cost-effective for a keynote speaker to join the event remotely so you can get more bang for your buck.
  • Let’s celebrate.  The awards element of your hybrid SKO means paying special attention to your two distinct audiences. Make sure your virtual delegates can join in the live celebrations by creating an “appointment to view” broadcast atmosphere, with a host, highlight stings, and interactive elements via a designated app, such as voting and networking opportunities throughout the show.

Most importantly, running your SKO in a hybrid format shouldn’t assume that virtual delegates are all participating in isolation from home. In fact, hybrid solutions work particularly well for sales teams that are organised by geography.

Meeting in smaller regional groups combined with a digital element can be very effective, especially when you consider that regional teams often struggle to carve out team planning time in the national or global SKO agenda. Organizing ‘viewing parties’ for local teams also makes it easier to prioritise regional or local sales planning.

The opportunity here is to create an experience that is equally positive and energising for all audiences so that your teams feel engaged, connected and motivated for the year ahead wherever they are.

To discover how to maximise the value of your SKO and increase its impact throughout the year, download our eight-step guide to running a modern SKO here.

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