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How to Maximize ROI on Your Annual SKO

Your Annual SKO is an opportunity to educate, entertain, and empower a sales force to have a banner year. It’s also an investment. Like any good investment, you want to ensure the highest return possible. 

Pulling the entire sales force out of selling mode for any period of time is a large investment. So let’s make it count! In this article we are going to skip over venue, catering, and decoration choices. Not that these aspects aren’t important, but there are plenty of great resources to help plan those details. To maximize ROI for your SKO we will focus on:

Setting Kickoff Goals:

Send your reps a questionnaire well before the event. You want to find out what your people are really struggling with. What do they feel is holding them back? What do they need to feel fully supported. Notice all the feelings? That’s the intention. You want your reps to open up and provide candid answers to these questions. If you don’t have a culture that supports open and candid feedback, then you may need to make this completely anonymous. Don’t forget to ask them what they believe they can accomplish in the coming year (we want numbers here).

Send the entire leadership team a questionnaire as well. Here you want to ask them what they believe their teams can accomplish in the coming year. What do they think their teams need in order to crush their goals?

The magic is in the answers:

  • You will discover the delta between how leadership feels and how the team is feeling about the same topics.
  • You will learn how to best empower the team. 
  • You will have a valuable resource to create content with

A disconnecting goal will do very little for the company. Do the legwork to make sure your goals are set with a clearly defined path of how to get there, and a plan to overcome any roadblocks along the way.

Content Delivery

The content of your SKO is critical to achieving your goals set in the planning process. The data you gather from your questionnaire will serve as a roadmap for the entire SKO. Take these steps following the questionnaire:

  1. Take your questionnaire results and compile the responses into a 1 page summary.
  2. Share this summary with every single person involved in the planning process as well as the entire leadership team. 
  3. Provide the summary to all outside vendors. Speakers, performers, everyone!
  4. Speakers should create keynotes and sessions inspired by the questionnaire results. You can even have a live band briefly mention your SKO goals in between sets. If you can pull if off, make sure the catering crew knows what your team is looking to accomplish! Everyone!

Let’s talk about belief. You can have a solid game plan but if the reps don’t believe you, it won’t matter. This happens when the entire organization is on the same page with where they are headed and how to get there. There is a clear connection between belief and performance. Keep your reps engaged and inspired by speaking DIRECTLY to them. Hire effective speakers who can truly connect with reps.

…..About that speaker

Hire compelling speakers who can: 

  • Hold the attention of an entire room of Type A’s 
  • Connect their content/story to your specific goals
  • Inspire reps to change their perspective and create new best practices

You want a rep who:

  • Insists on fully understanding the audience and their specific challenges along with the leadership team.
  • Understands specifically how success is defined in your organization
  • Proactively suggests a followup plan to maximize the impact ( more on this later)

Let’s talk about how much of the audience takes action the numbers below are compiled from the result of over 100 talks to almost 20,000 reps:

  • 9-12% of the audience will take some sort of action or change behavior immediately or soon after the talk. 
  • 5-25% will take no action at all

What about the other 63-86% of the audience? Which side will they end up on? THIS is the golden opportunity to truly maximize your ROI.

Have a Follow Up Plan:

*Warning* this is where most companies miss out on massive ROI. 

Image by ar130405 from Pixabay

Your follow-up plan is the key to capitalizing on the momentum generated from the SKO and really inspiring your reps to take actionable steps in achieving their goals.

Do this to put your ROI into overdrive:

  • Compile all the actionable things being taught, the vision being communicated, and the game plan that’s laid out during the SKO.
  • Break it up into bite-sized pieces. 
  • Create a content schedule. Think about when it would be most helpful to receive each message. 
  • Create CTA’s for each piece of content. Focus on “quick and painless”. This can be a simple button of acknowledgment, a short quiz, survey, or a request to reply to an email. As long as it’s trackable, it’s good.
  • Encourage sharing and discussion by making it easy for the team to interact with each other about this content.
  • Create an acknowledgment plan. Your goal here is to let the team know “Leadership values this content and is watching to learn who else on the team does”. Do this by celebrating the reps to do interact vs shaming the ones who don’t. 
  • Turn it all into a drip campaign and hit GO!

This can range from a really simple messaging strategy all the way to collaborating with your marketing team to design marketing initiatives for sales enablement. Whatever you do, do SOMETHING.

Maximizing ROI for your SKO: Let’s Review!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
  1. Survey your reps and leadership team to discover their needs and to define your SKO goals.
  2. Summarize your questionnaire results into a one page summary and share this with every person involved with planning and executing the SKO.
  3. Design and deliver content that educates sales teams and inspires them to believe in the vision of your company. 
  4. Develop an actionable follow up plan post SKO. Collaborate with marketing for sales enablement initiatives following your SKO. 

If you’re planning your company’s Annual Sales Kickoff, make the investment worth it. Utilize these key factors during the planning process, and following the SKO. From my own experience, these practices are guaranteed to maximize ROI while creating an event your company won’t forget. 

If you need help finding incredible speakers for your SKO, I’m happy to help with your search, If I’m not the right fit, I’m sure someone in my network is! 

Do you need an experienced, passionate speaker for your Annual SKO?
Connect with me!

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John Guydon