With your sales teams and employees geographically spread, chances are your next sales kick-off will be held online. Great decision! Virtual events hold many advantages over in-person events. Not the least, savings on budget and time and the possibility to record and repurpose your sessions. So, without further ado, here are 9 important steps to consider when running a virtual sales kickoff.
- Define the purpose
- Choose the theme
- Choose the right platform
- Plan the agenda strategically
- Bring the energy
- Prepare your materials
- Promote the event
- Encourage engagement
- follow up after the event
What is a virtual sales kickoff?
A virtual sales kick-off or virtual SKO is an online video-based event that brings together the sales team of a company to discuss the sales strategy, goals, and tactics for the upcoming period. With the rise of remote work, virtual sales kick-offs have become an increasingly popular, cost-effective way for companies to engage with their remotely located sales teams and keep them motivated.
Kaltura’s been organizing their SKOs virtually on their proprietary Kaltura Events platform for the past several years. The following 9 best practices are based on our own experiences and the knowledge of our very own in-house virtual event experts.
1. Define the Purpose of your virtual SKO
The first step in putting together a successful virtual sales kickoff is to clearly define its objective. What is the event trying to achieve? What skills do you want to develop in your participants? Is it about outlining sales goals, introducing new products, or providing training and support? Whatever the purpose may be, it’s essential to communicate it clearly to your sales team and ensure that everyone understands the objectives of the event.
2. Choose a fitting sales kickoff theme
Choose a theme that aligns with the core messaging of your company and the biggest challenges ahead. At Kaltura, we chose the Tom Cruise blockbuster movie Top Gun as the theme for our 2023 virtual sales kick-off. Top Gun for us represents the combination of individual excellence, the power of the squadron, and the hyper-focus on reaching a specific target.
Next, communicate your kickoff theme with a powerful tagline that speaks to the overall goal of your event. Then design the element around your theme, making sure the thumbnails and banners align in terms of color and design. Go for fun and festive! Ensuring all details are in sync not only help attendees buy into the energetic vibe but communicate attention to detail and the master plan.
3. Choose the right platform
Choosing the right platform for your virtual sales kick-off is crucial for its success. The platform should be easy to access, user-friendly, and have features such as screen sharing and live chat to facilitate interaction between learners. The ideal platform might also include the ability to send notifications throughout the event, conduct polls to measure satisfaction and progress, and collect advanced analytics.
With the highly versatile Kaltura Events platform, event organizers can create hybrid and virtual event experiences at scale with specialized management tools and preset templates. After each session, team members who were unable to attend have access to the VOD recording and engage with other evergreen content on the site.
4. Plan your virtual SKO agenda strategically
Define your target audience and tailor the agenda and content of the event to meet attendees’ specific needs and interests. This should include a mix of keynote presentations, videos, break-out sessions, and interactive activities. With virtual sales kick-offs, it’s important to keep the agenda engaging because it can be challenging to keep participants focused. Be sure to allow for breaks in the middle so folks can stretch their legs, use the restroom, or grab a coffee.
5. Bring the energy
Audience members cannot be passive observers in an endless string of lectures. It is important to add small but meaningful elements to spice things up. To bring energy to the live room and get participants hyped before each session, we had our design team create enthusiastic slides with music to introduce our speakers. To break up each keynote section, we created a series of customer success interviews that allowed our strategic customers to outline their pain points and why they chose us. We then interspersed ‘pro tips’ collage videos of our colleagues highlighting best practices and effective tactics. And what sales kick-off would be complete without an awards gala to spotlight success? The perfect SKO agenda contains dynamic, rich content and speakers and leaves room for community and camaraderie.
6. Prepare your materials
Make sure you have all the materials you need to deliver a successful virtual SKO, including presentations, handouts, and any other resources that will be useful for participants. Ensure all materials are easy to access and use. Make sure to use high-quality visuals, clear font styles, and concise, straightforward language.
Within our event site, we created an SKO Mission Prep page, allowing attendees to access a myriad of learning materials before attending the main event. This included VOD videos, articles, and video quizzes that helped participants gain the most value from the SKO. We also had a leaderboard that allowed colleagues to collect points and compete based on their level of participation.
7. Promote the event
Clear and concise communication of the event objectives, schedule, and expectations must be sent out well in advance. Be sure to create a buzz with digital communication to excite your sales organization. Does your platform allow you to create a dedicated event page? Ours did. It allows participants to browse the event schedule and agenda and enables you to communicate event updates quickly.
8. Encourage engagement
With so many companies hosting virtual events and webinars, many attendees are burned out or bored. Therefore, encouraging engagement is key to making the virtual sales kick-off a success. 49% of marketers say that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to a successful event.
You can do this by incorporating interactive activities, such as Q&A sessions, polls, and group discussions into the agenda. You should also encourage attendees to ask questions, provide feedback, and share their ideas and experiences in smaller, more intimate breakout room sessions.
9. Follow up after the event
The virtual sales kick-off doesn’t end when the event is over. It’s important to follow up with attendees to get their feedback and assess the success of the event. What worked well? What could have been done better? You can do this by sending out a survey or hosting a post-event call. Use the feedback from attendees and the results of your evaluation to make changes and improve future virtual sales kick-offs.
It’s also vital to send a summary of the event’s key takeaways to the sales team and prepare them for what is to come. Emails are fine, but they don’t make a statement or catch the eye as videos do. To connect with colleagues after the session, we sent out Kaltura video email messages to better grab attention even in the busiest of inboxes.
A virtual sales kickoff is a cost-effective way to empower and motivate your attendees. With careful planning and execution, you can create an engaging, productive, and effective virtual workshop that will help build the skills of your participants and drive your organization forward.