The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

Sales Kickoffs: A Discussion

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Sales kickoffs can take many different forms -- the good, the bad, and the game changers. The Force Management team has helped countless sales leaders execute meaningful Sales Kickoffs that launch organizational change and impactful results. What separates the best from the rest? What are the steps leaders can take to make their SKOs a game changer? Facilitators Brian Walsh and Antonella O'Day share what they've seen work best and key mistakes to avoid.

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I'm a big believer that, if you'regoing to take the time to do this, bring your managers in early or keepthem late, whichever one makes sense and get him engaged in becoming betterposition. Coaches, because that's their job, you're listening to the audible, ready,podcast, the show that helps you and your teams sell more faster willfeature sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a salesengine that helps. You feel repeatable revenue growth presented by the team,an force management, a leader in Bob Sales, effective this let's get started hello, I'm Ratel Claville! Thank youfor joining us. For this conversation on sales, kick offs the good, the badand the and the game. Changers I'm joined by two of our seasoned salesleaders, Brian Wash at anteney hello to you, both hello, Rachel, a right. Icame up with that name. I myself. It sounds pretty dramatic. No pressure,though, for this conversation, but both Brian and Antonella, have beenthrough their fair share of sales kickoff as raps leaders and now helpingour own clients, execute transformative sales initiatives as part of sales kickops, and I know you both have have seen it all, and so today we're going totalk about how you can set your own Skao up for success. So, let's juststart with a broad question: I'd like to get both of your perspectives onwhat do you think the best sales kick offs? Do Antonowa start with you. Thatis a good broad question. So I'm going to give you two things specificallythat I think the best ones do. The first one is, I think it takes. Myexperience has been that it takes the sales team took place they weren'tprior to that meeting. So when you think about a sales, kick golf, itreally has to be all about the team and of the bring value to them when youthink about the man days lost, taking them out of the field to execute theSko, it's significant and it's not giving the sales team something thatmakes up for that time, lass and then some that's a huge miss. The secondthing that I think are my experience has been as a relates to the best saleskick off. Is it should inspire the team? Let me tell you what I mean by that,because my experience has been that inspirationcomes from a few different places: Number One rewarding success andaccomplishments of the sales team, sharing stories of success shared bycustomers and, finally, what is success going to look like going forward? Solet me break those down a little bit, so there's nothing more valuable thanrecognizing your people. They work hard and recognizing them in front of thewhole team really builds appreciation for leadership and it builds loyaltyand that's really priceless. Then there's this whole concept of sharingstories or, as we call them proof points of customer success, they're sovaluable and incorporating them. Whether you bring a customer in to do alive discussion or if you do customer video clips, it just reinforces in thesales teams minds why their company like why are they delivering value tothe market, place that to mention they walk away with these great stories toadd to their arsenal tools and then, finally, how is success going to be thefine going forward? Companies are evolving so fast and you know in ourworld what is the up coming you're going to look like what can the salesteam do to contribute communicating that is really key so that the wholeteam is a line going forward. Yeah really good points, Brian I'd love tohear your thoughts as well, so I'm just going to dove tail on to things. I waswriting an ante speaking, and these are things that I learned along the way andthey attached to the first two bullets, the first around recognition andrewarding people. I had a boss that used to say we're going to recognizeand reward people who actually deserve it, and he used to tell the story abouthow you know you go to a kick off or presence by meeting and people startgetting recognized, and you can see...

...other people in the audience. Grumblingbecause they're saying things themselves like. Why did that personjust get recognized? They couldn't find the front door of their account. Youknow, and this Guy Bryant's point not me different Brian was you have torecognize those who actually have earned it? I think that's reallyimportant that the how you do some of this kind of stuff can create it, along tale, emotional connection for people which could be the reallypositive or really negative. So I think you really need to think through andthat's just one example of what emotional legacy are we about toleave when we do this thing in s Ko whether it's rereward and recognition,whether it's some sort of out type speak or whatever it might be. Sothat's that's one had to Antone's point the other AD. I would make around theconcept of stories and proof points and racially you know how I feel about thatmagic word. How I think organizations have a tendency, both at Sko and another moment, to tellstories that are basically recognition. They're, like Hey Rachel, just got agreat win. Congratulations Rachel! That was great for you great for the companygreat for a customer and that's where they leave it and they'd never get toBill Taylor. One of the founders of Fast Company magazine had a line that Ilove when he said, or indeed doesn't just stand for research development. Itstands for rip off and duplicate, and this point was you know, at least in this moment. Itake that point to say when you tell me the story about the deal that RachelGod give me something that I can rip off and duplicate to create thatsuccess in my accounts get to the how I'm glad Rachel won, but I need thehowl that I can then go replicate. So those would just be the couple ofthings that I can at anteros points right well in to to your point, Brian.It's if you don't provide the how you have a seat of people in the audiencesaying. Well, I don't see myself being able to do that or that would I yeahthat's not ossibaw sort, which brings me into this next topic of reallymaking sure that the people in the room see the value in. What's about tohappen, I mean Antonella, you made the point when you take people away fromselling activities that can be costly, so you have to make sure you're gettingreturn on the investment and when we work with organizations around the Sko,it's because they're, typically launching or in the middle of some sortof change initiatives and the so becomes a tool to help manage thatchange, which makes it more than the events. So by let's start with you, howdo you ensure the people in the room or the people on the zoom? However, you'redoing it really see the value in stepping away from selling and doingwhatever we're going to do? Yeah and- and maybe this is a partly answer- theprevious question. Obviously, we all agree, you got to make it fun likethat's a given right. So let's just get that up. I just don't want anybody tohear this. You Go, they didn't say anything about making fun. You got tomake a fun. Of course you do, but specifically to this question I thinkthere's three big things. First, Simon cynic sat a bet and then his greattedtalk start with why well ahead of Idso as a part of getting to the Ska.You know, I think, before you ask anyone to pay a price of Aniston aroundpre work or anything, there's a Y conversation. Why are we about to havethis moment? What's the value? This was back to Ansell's point. What's thevalue of for you to come like? Why would we want to spend all this moneythat people are going to get value out of it? So that's first thing: WHAT'STHE WHY? The second is, I think you have to lay out for people right behindthe. Why? What are the objectives and what I mean by that is not just whatare we trying to achieve over the course of a couple of days we havetogether, but what are the objectives in terms of what you're going to dodifferently, walking out the door like? What is it that we tactically aregoing to go execute on right? And how...

...are we going to do that and then lastBen at least some expectations as a result of people buying into the lieand understanding the objectives? Some some expectations at two levels, at theleadership level, that leaders are actually going to change theiroperating rhythm to effect, the whatever that changes right, because ifyou say we're going to change and then leaders don't change our operatingwiththem, not the cages, because you've told people that they should changethings. But you haven't made it okay for them to do it, you're only makingit okay for them to do it if your leadership changes their operatingmodel and then now you've built the right to create accountability at theindividual contributor level. That says: Here's why here's? What we've put inplace to help you do that? Here's, how we're coaching and running the businessto effect that change. You now have a responsibility to be a part of thechange. That's my take yeah and Canella. I see you nodding feverously as BrianTuck. I love to hear your comments on that. No, I agree with all the thingsthat he said. I mean that there is really nothing that I can even add to.You know what he said there. I think you know the challenge sometimes withsome of these events is that very often we want to do so much during the actual WESCO thatwe sometimes water down or miss the message, because we aren't focused juston the value that we're delivering to the team, and so that kind of word ofcaution to anybody doing. These is keep the objectives of the front and centerlike what exactly are the outcomes are trying to get out of this and let thatbe the driving force. So you don't know rail on these events, question that weget a lot when we do so conversations or webinars about and not everybodyneeds stage time back to the goals and the objections of the event to yourplant, not yeah. It's you know. If the goal was to take the sales team unto aplace that haven't been before. If the goal is to deliver as much value as youcan, so they be being more efficient, effective. Whatever the outcomes arethat you're trying to get them to be. You have to be very thoughtful of whoyou put on stage right. If it's not going to directly impact the outcomesthat you're trying to achieve, then they shouldn't get stage time. That'snot to say that that person or that group shouldn't address the sales to. Ithink there are so many other ways they can deliver their message. It justshouldn't be part of the SKO and I've seen so many of them where you try tofit ten pounds of stuff- and you know the shortest amount of time and themessage gets lost. It gets watered down sales walks out and they're, like Oh,my God, where's the Bar, because that was just painful to sit through, and Iknow that not the outcomes of these organizations are trying to achieve,but they try to do so much and a very find out an amount of time. So theyfind a more ties like what's the right message, what's actually going to addvalue and anything else, but so a different time dat venue to addressthose issues. Yeah I got to jump in on this. I one of the greatest sales kickoff Iever went to was run by a guy and he was he was guy right. Everybodyreported him, so he wasn't somebody just running the kick off. He was thatguy and his point to everybody who is coming to kick to to present was yourpresentation will be delivered to me a week of had of time, and I will tellyou what you can and Panna present and I will tell you if or if you are notpresenting and I'm sorry you don't like that. But to an allis point. We've gotto keep on mission and you know surprise surprise. Anybody who had anhour was showing up with a deck with forty five five minute, and he said hesaid you can present the following: six slides, seven slits and it was clear topeople and it was the most one of the...

...most effective picus I've ever been to,because when some one was up on stage, the message to Intel's point wasattached to the objective and the message was clear and it was conciseand it was consumable and the presenter wasn't under the pressure to racethrough their slight deck. So I think that's a really really critical point.You have to make it okay to say no to some things, and I think the otherthing you got to do is if you're going to have an objective, that's reallyfocused on getting people to do some things differently and whether it'slaunching a new set of products or that, whatever it might be, get people tofind ways in those moments for people to apply, don't just give them a bunchof INBA and hope that they're going to apply when they walk out the door havemoments like we do. When we do some of our things, you know to apply to a liveopportunity to apply to my territory to apply to a specific account those kindsof things yeah. I think you know, live opportunities and that breaks up youmentioned having fun, but it's also about breaking up the flow of content.We have this concept. We call death by power point and yeah really somethingyou want to avoid in situation. Yeah- and you know you mentioned managersearlier Brian, it's not just about who's on stage or or the screen. It'sabout who's in the room and when you're trying to drive out comes get momentum.Your managers are so critical about this and Brian. I know you're reallypassionate about companies and equipping the managers yeah. You know it's funny specifically tasks.You see a lot of organization, they bring their managers in for a day earlyand it's a party or it's just a or it's an initial I'dsay rehash, but nobody see yet it's the initial hash of what they're about tosee the next day. Instead of focusing these leaders on getting great atbecoming, you know your job as a manager is not to hityour goal. Your number that's you're, all to be gold. Don't get me wrongright. I want to be very clear. My ultimate goal is to hit the number, butmy number one job on a daytoday basis is to create eight, ten or twelve.Whatever number direct reports I have that are better because of theinteractions they have with me. So, if you're going to, if you're, reallygoing to do something like this well and you real and you believe in theconcept of start with how and then get braided coaching before you expectingfrom people well, that means you've got to get time in these moments to getyour managers grape at becoming great coaches. That's what they need, and nowyou can expect them to go out and do the role that there that you hired themto do right, which is to turn people into great skill position players. SoI'm a big believer that, if you're going to take the time to do this,bring your managers in early or keep them late, whichever one makes senseand get him engaged in becoming better position: coaches, because that's theirjob and Tinello. What have you seen work? Well when it comes to managers H,there's a not mere different things here that, I think really you could amanager can leverage to make get the most of his whole entire process, andsome of it really ties back to a lot of Brian, as already mentioned. So whenyou think about, I think, as a manager, you have to think about this in threedifferent stages. What do I do before the Sko? What's my role during the Skou?What's my role after the Skou right great, I think about the best managers.I've worked with when I think about how I handle some of these events when Iwas a manager. My first step was I communicated to the team prior to theSko like what are the key topics we're going to discuss what to expect youknow get their take on. I start to get them thinking about it before going tothe event, ask them to prepare questions. Ask them to come with. Youknow, ideas, and it would really give me, as a manager, some insight who'sdialed in who are my skeptics. Who are my cynic, who do potentially need tohave conversations with before during it after the event and who are going tobe leading my team going forward during...

...the event itself? I know this is agreat opportunity to bring people together if time allowed, I would bringmy whole team together, even if it was over a cocktail at the end of the day.What are your takeaways? What are you going to apply? What deals do you thinkthis is going to be effective? What I wanted to give them a voice? I wantedto get get everybody's take on it. I wanted everybody to hear about it sothat they continue to think about it through the length the event, but, moreimportantly, once the event was done, yea and, and then after the event like.That's where I think leaders their work really comes in, youknow, there's a ton of time and effort spent on these SOS. I can't tell youhow many of them have attended and people just all this time, effort andinitiatives, a roll down and then okay go out it like. What are we trying toget out of this, and what are you going to put in place to reinforce theseinitiatives going forward? Are you going to put some gamification aroundit so that front and center- and you know, sales team is focused on it andyou have a strategy to keep yourself and your team accountable. You know toit going forward so that you would chief the outcomes the companies tryingto achieve yeah. You raise a lot of great points there Anson Al and I knowwe'll probably have some managers who watch this conversation that the Sko is it just something that yourinamoto is planning for you to come to. You can really use it as a manager toimprove outcomes on your on your own team. Yeah. Absolutely- and you know hehe's the state focused on all three of those time frames before during andafter and come up with a game plan ahead of time. There's really no reasonwhy you and your team, can't you know, achieve the outcomes that the companysetting for and an Olamon ioned t a the sentence cynic in the skeptic sprin. Iknow that's one of your favorite topics and there's a lot of people presidentat these sko and when they're presenting they know. They're dealingwith skepticism in a room for maybe sometimes for valid reasons right sotalk through your advice of dealing with that scepticism in the room. Okay,so three groups of people, early adopters sceptics and cynics, recognizeand reward your early adopters find ways appropriate way to recognize themfor their behavior, for what they're doing, because they already see thevalue et ce and that that in and of itself starts to send a message, butyour sceptics and cynics first and foremost are hard to buy for Cate because they walk a lotalike at first they're, both sitting there and they're asking themselves thesame question: Is this the same old movie all over again? I've seen thissome he's a on stage telling me to do something you're telling me we're goingto do something and nothing's going to change, and that's why they're sceptics, because they've seen the movie beforesomebody gets a bunch states. Does the presentation and then two weeks lateror three months later, nothing's changed or nothing has been actuallyenacted whatever. So the only way to deal with skeptics is through action.It's also the only way to bifurcate them from the cynics, because the wayyou buy for Katy validate, which is what, if someone's a sceptic or cynic,is you act? You don't just talk, because when you act, a cynic will beconverted to an adopter. I'm sorry, sceptic sceptics will be convertedthrough action. CYNIC will not now you've separated. The sceptics havebeen converted through your action, your cynics of not and you can makeyour own determination, but where I came from, we used to make cynicsavailable to industry at large, because, if you're truly trying to change it's okay, if you want to be a cynic,it just means you can't be here right I mean, and your sceptics, like I loveskeptics skeptics are good because they force us to be honest with theirselvesabout. Are we really going to do something different or we just talking and if we're justtalking we're wasting every body's time...

...and money? So skeptics are good,because skeptics will be converted when you actually act. That's it yeah. I Know Kay you got apre em you're, going to act right and converting. The sceptics goes to whatyou were saying. Ancinale you know before during and after what is in thevalue there for them yeah, I ll lead into what Brian was saying for me:skeptics are potentially your biggest proponents yea. They just needadditional data info and that's why I think it's so important to delivervalue early and often at these events, because they have so sat through thembefore they said, probably to many that were completely ineffective anddelivered no values so right off the bat like they're evaluating anddetermining is just going to be the same. You know the same movie, and so the earlier you deliver value andand delivering value, often throughout the entire Vit, and you can turn askeptic into an early adoptin. You know just a side topic there. Somebodydidn't assess a study a couple years ago. I can't remember it was, but itwas on the concept of building champions in your accounts, and it isinteresting the day that shows that the healthy skeptic is potentially your best champion,because when they come to the table inside of their organization championidea, people know that they've actually done the work. They're like aunt, anElla, never brings something forward. Unless he's done, the work she's ahealthy Scusi, so there's a nalis point is right on right on right. We've allbeen in those rooms where we say well, even this person's on board, so yeah.That is right right, and what thing I wanted to say was say to that. I knowthat we have said before is there's nothing wrong, especially if yourcompany is in a certain type of situation of calling skepticism out.You know. I know that we've done this before I know here is why this time isgoing to be different. Now they can not be words right. They've got to bebacked up with action, but there's nothing wrong with calling that out inthe room at a sales, kick O. I totally agree with you. Nothing to do agreeyeah, I think candor and you know admitting to pass the errors it justshows. You know your in tune with what actually is going on yeah right, and itmakes what else you say very authentic people, people believe that you're, notjust you, know giving it the once over and O. Let's goto you on this one. Where do you think sales leaders make their biggestmistakes? I feel, like we've talked a little bit about them, but I'd love tohear where you think they make the biggest mistakes. So a few things here.I mentioned this before like too much conversation talking at the group, Ithink the most effective or as chaos have a lot of interaction, a lot oflike breakout groups, a lot of conversation where the best ideas winamongst the sales team itself so create time to make sure that they have anopportunity to speak and share ideas, anything that shows lack of alignmentacross the organization. That's a big, miss and Brian brought up a great point,a bout that leader that you worked with that had that so everybody'spresentation ahead of time. I'VE SAT Tom. Some of this chaos where anotherdepartment comes up, delivers a presentation and it is not a line withthe overall company goals and that is a massive miss, not leveraging managersand top sales performers to talk and present. At these events, I thinkthat's a huge mistake. It's great to have leadership there. You want to hearfrom the top team and a lot of these events, but I think when people saylike what er I got the most out of very often they'll, say here and so and sotalk because they're the closest to the customer, that I want to know whatthey're doing to be successful, because that's going to impact me and what I doso really incorporating top sellers tap managers to really talk about the dayin the life and what they're doing to be successful. I think that's reallyhelpful and then being thoughful of who...

...you know you bring into train whetherit's a motivational speaker or an outside company, really making surethat everything ties together nicely and making sure you understand themessage of what they're delivering I've seen great motivation for an OLspeakers, and you know, train organizations, I've seen horrible onesand that can completely suck the air out of the room. So you want to makesure that you get those out and that it's very much aligned with your goalsand the culture of the company Yeah anteney mentioned you know having alower level person talk and it made me think of that point. Brian was bringingup earlier about providing the how they want to know they're the closes as acustomer. How it's getting done would that be not providing y? How be one ofthe biggest mistakes bring you think leaders make. What would you say yeahthe the the whole Skoi at this high level, this academic or theoretical, oryou know, go, do this kind of level, but they never get into the house. Howdo you effectively do it? You know I go back to some of the best moments I had in mysouth career was when the company would come forward and say: Hey here'sexactly how we did this deal in this healthcare organization or thismanufacturing organization, and you happen to have twenty Health CaranzaIon in your assignment. We want you to run the following play, not go, get a win. We want you to runthe following play: Here's how you run this play. You know this over multiplemonths or multiple weeks to create some sort of understands whether or notthere's a fit and then how to drive the deal forward like really specific. Howthat's why I'm in total acte with an Canella and then into small groupswhere we're really planning how we're going to execute those kinds of thingswhen we walk out of the room so that that's one thing I would just say to tokind of add on, and maybe you kind of hit it already, but I think there's twothings that that you got to think about. If you were the leader- and I I firstthink is- you cannot advocate your responsibility for the effectiveness of an Sko toother people, and I want to be clear, I'm not suggesting that the CRO needsto do everything, but I will tell you that the cro is the person that therest of the route or the psails, whatever your tiles, that's the person,the rest of the group is going to look at it. When is all sent done, and itwas this any good or not, and so whether you like it or not,every person who steps up on stage is a reflection of you. I'm sorry, you ain'tgetting up on stage if it's my organization, unless I've seen exactlywhat you're going to present and we have complete alignment, that's thefirst thing. The second thing is, then, the leader and Bill McDermott, who isat least at one point. He was the CEO sap he still might be, but bill cameout of zero and when bill was running one of the two divisions in NorthAmerica, I went to a kick off that he did and I was fascinated- and I stillremember this by his ability to not only kick off but then from speaker tospeaker. He would show up on stage after every speaker or every secondspeaker, and he has something like this in front of them and he had three orfour big things from the last person or the last two people and he was veryeffective at strain. The entire meeting together that was probably thirty yearsago and I was a brand new manager, and Istill remember that, like he was able to make it very consumable- and I think that's just a good exampleof of what your role is when you're, that person run in the Sko, so justmaybe something a little more tactical yeah and all of those things help withengagement and making people yeah. They focused in the room both of you havegiven such great insight today. Is it as it relates to sales kick offs? Ilove to just close with with some final...

...thoughts and bottom lines. Antonella.What do you have if I could just kind of summarize a lot of the thoughts thatwe discussed during today's session? I think the biggest takeaways I wouldwant somebody to think about going into their ski as half key members of thesales team involved in the process. Like don't plan this in Asilo make sureit's super relevant to them and get their input on it make sure that whatis included delivers tangible results of the team like this is all aboutoutcomes, and you know change going forward like make sure there is atrament of value, give the sales team time to share, think and apply likegive them the time during the session itself, to share a think, ing, applyand then less is more I'll be remitted. I don't think this recognizeextraordinary performance, often so awesome love that yeah buying everything plus one and havesome fun. While you do it, you know, but that's probably doesn't need to besaid, but I can't add a vansosh nailed it great well. Thank you so much forjoining me for this conversation, Antonella Brian. I appreciate itpleasure Makoki, yes, and thank you to all of you for listening to ourconversation on sales. Kick Offs, we've linked up a resource page in the shownotes, and you can always find them under resources at force management.Thanks for listening and force management. We're focused ontransforming sales organizations into elite teams are proven methodologies.Deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenuegrowth, give your teams the ability to execute the gross strategy at the pointof sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's getstarted visit us at force. Management Com. You've been listening to theaudible, ready podcast to not miss an episode subscribe to the show in yourfavorite podcast player until next time. I.

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