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Sales Kickoffs — Make SKO Successful [2022]

Great Sales Kickoff Themes can make your SKO legendaryGreat Sales Kickoff themes can leave your team energized and ready to deliver outstanding results.  And you want the team to deliver excellent results.

We’re now being confronted with concepts like Zoom fatigue. And facing challenges of staying connected in a way that still feels human and personable—even though it’s all happening through a screen from our homes.

Before we explore SKO themes, take a look at a recent conversation hosted by the Boston Chapter of SES on the topic of SKOs right now (October 2022).

Sales kickoff themes and their importance

Picking the right theme for your SKO can make or break the event’s success.

Four Main Types Of SKO Themes
  • Collaboration
  • Information
  • Celebration
  • Motivation

Now, if you know anything about SKOs, you may be thinking; “wait a minute, all four of those aspects are necessary.”

And you would be correct. As aspects or components, of an SKO you have to have all four. But as a central theme running through the whole SKO event, you want one focus.

Motivation as an SKO theme

The aim of these speakers was to discuss personal growth and development at a time when the world was reeling from the pandemic, and the sales world was having to adapt quickly to a new landscape.

This approach helped keep the attendees of the SKO engaged and focused on what they could control. And how they could keep doing their job successfully in such uncertain times.

By motivating the attendees to think about their own growth and development and how that played a role in their professional success, it helped create a more positive mindset. Which makes people more receptive and excited for new challenges in the year ahead.

Collaboration as an SKO theme

As Victoria Sexton said in our podcast episode Running a successful virtual SKO: “SKO is a collaborative effort, [you need] to be able to bring everyone together [and] give them the information they need to have a successful year. And a virtual SKO is no different.”

In a world where Zoom fatigue is real, and people are feeling a little frayed and isolated, getting people talking, networking, and having fun is a great way to have an engaging and successful virtual SKO.

Adriana Romero, who also appeared on our Roundtable podcast episode, put it like this: “If we see each other it’s going to be better, and we’re going to have more engagement.”

Using virtual spaces means there can be smaller rooms. With the right apps and programs, people can engage, and network, in a fun way.

Which all helps to deliver the important information in an SKO in a way that doesn’t feel like just another pajama-wearing Zoom meeting.

Sales kick-off activities

One thing a lot of leaders are worried about is the loss of the social aspect of SKOs. However, with a slew of apps and online services, it’s actually never been easier to organize entertaining online events.

Yes, you’ll still be at home, but with the right service, you can feel as though you’re in a bar or pub or on a wine tour. Maybe even a whiskey tasting.

One such website is confetti: they offer over 1000 virtual experiences, from cheese-making classes, to escape rooms, wine tasting, and so, so, much more.

Stacey Justice in our Roundtable podcast episode talks about the importance of “networking and relationships… Finding something, like a virtual bar experience, that helps people connect. Ex: send a gift card, and get everyone to enjoy their happy hour through a digital bar experience.”

Adding these virtual activities to your SKO event will add that atmosphere that is often missing from virtual meetings.

Take advantage of the digital space

In-person SKOs will probably never be bested by virtual ones because human interaction is always better than staring at a screen.

With that said, virtual SKOs are here indefinitely. So why not take advantage of the vastness of digital space?

Kayde Givens on the podcast episode Running an amazing SKO, says: “To make SKO successful and engaging using the concept of intersection. Taking ideas that have done well in a virtual environment and what’s going viral and what’s kicked off and putting that into Kick Off.”

The example Kayde Givens goes on to give is: using concepts that went viral (like celebrities eating hot wings and answering questions) to make an SKO more engaging.

Apps to help create an engaging and successful event

We’ve already mentioned confetti,, and Zoom. Most know about Zoom’s webinar and meetings functions, but did you know they know allow breakout sessions in the webinar and classroom settings?

This makes smaller, more interactive rooms and polls easier to organize, manage, and assess their success.

Because that’s one thing we’ve not yet touched on: success.

We’ve covered how to make it engaging by humanizing and bringing people together in a way that isn’t just another Zoom meeting. But what about success? And how do you define success?

Kayde Givens talks about the data formula to measure the success of an SKO: “Data on satisfaction + retention of the knowledge we have + any other data is incredibly useful and allows enablement officers to tell a story of the sales kick-off event.”

To gauge satisfaction and retention of knowledge is quite easy these days. One simply has to send out a post-SKO actionable survey that gauges how well people thought the event went, how well they understood the objectives of the SKO, and any feedback that can be used for next year’s event.

Would you like to know more about turning virtual SKOs into successful events? Sign up to a newsletter for regular content from some of the best and most experienced people in this field.

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