Motivation isn’t just for January:

Evolving the annual SKO

The annual sales kick-off is a well-established tradition, and typically a milestone event in any corporate calendar. And for good reason: it’s an effective way to energise, inform, and motivate your people about your organisation’s strategy and direction, and align teams to make them more productive for the 12 months ahead.

It’s also the perfect forum for your people to reconnect with your leadership team and to celebrate their 2022 accomplishments, setting you on the right path for another year of success.

However, when you consider the financial investment you make in your SKO, especially in the current economic climate, what value are you getting from it and how do you extend the shelf-life of that value?

A different landscape

As we face an evolving business world where many organisations have adopted a different approach to the workplace, their operations, and their people – and adjusted how they go to market – many sales leaders are coming to the same conclusion: focusing only on the annual two-day SKO blowout no longer makes commercial sense.

Neither does it demonstrate the empathy and understanding that is needed from business leaders right now. In every area of our lives – personal and professional – we are only too aware of the challenges that lie ahead. Ongoing motivation and positive reinforcement of collective goals throughout the year has never been more important.

Why the traditional SKO needs a reboot

SKOs usually involve a packed schedule of seminars, business and strategy updates, and industry speakers, as well as entertainment and parties. Depending on the company size and industry, they can become extravagant. It’s understandable that sales teams often speak highly of these events, but this rarely equates to the impact that leadership is looking to achieve.

This is usually due to an over-emphasis on entertainment, top-down messaging from management without enough two-way communication or interactive elements, and a lack of focus on tangible training in new skills. What’s missing most of all, though, is the positive reinforcement of key learnings and motivation throughout the year.

Improving the ROI of your SKO

Invest in your team: Kick off a training course at your SKO to improve the skills your reps need to be successful in the coming year. Your team sees their markets rapidly changing in front of their eyes, and they are craving the right skills to stay fresh and relevant in a quickly evolving landscape.

Reinforce your messages: If you are rolling out new initiatives at the SKO, plan how you will reinforce those each month so that the learnings and knowledge are not lost. Underpin new skills with coaching or training during the year to help them apply them in real life. If you are rolling out new product training at your SKO, plan how the product team will be delivering regular updates to the salesforce.

Make your official interactions more regular: Consider reinforcing the content that was delivered at the SKO with more targeted quarterly events. This allows you to stay better connected to the team and respond more quickly to changes happening in your market.

Your SKO will always be a popular flagship event for your organisation and it’s right that your salesforce looks forward to it as a launch to the new financial year and a means to connect and share experiences.

But there are ways to make it work harder and deliver more positive outcomes. For more tips on how to shake up your 2023 SKO, improve your ROI and increase its impact throughout the year, download our eight-point guide here.

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