Save Money and Put In-Person Events to Shame with the Perfect Virtual Sales Kickoff Activities

Is it possible that the last time you attended a sales conference was so great, it changed your career?

Probably not.

Virtual sales kickoff activities are often long and expensive, but theyre usually worth it to those who attend.

I worry that these flashy experiences might not be memorable enough.

Virtual sales kickoff activities can help to promote diversity in the workplace.


Virtual Sales Kickoff Activities Have the Potential to Be Better

COVID-19 has caused nearly all conferences to be virtual. Even though its easy to think that this is bad, the reality is that a digital strategy could actually help us.

Heres why.

When SKO planning takes place, executives and sellers are too busy to provide input on content reviews or make the experience more relevant.

So, when it comes to planning the Virtual sales kickoff activities, most companies rely on an events team that simply tries to replicate last years event with some incremental improvements thrown in.

I think we should really consider booking a more well-known motivational speaker.

What about a better band?

Is it worth the trouble of doing another networking casino night?

Traditional events are too long and too expensive

Clients usually have speakers for 90-minute time slots, but this format doesnt maximize value for either the speaker or attendees.

In this digital age, where attention spans are short and people want information fast, wouldnt it be better to deliver more impactful messages in a shorter amount of time?

The typical way to experience a product is too long and expensive. We all know that it involves going into a huge ballroom in Las Vegas for three days.

When it comes to a companys budget, they may spend $70 million on an SKO after accounting for flights, hotels and food.

The SKO event is too expensive for an experience that doesnt focus enough on attendees emotional and mental presence, peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge, or applying the insights back in the field. Three-quarters of organizations dont have to follow up training after their annual events.

As people get bored during the event, they stop paying attention.

Office socialization is nice, but it doesnt justify the high price tag.

For sellers, SKOs (Sales Knowledge Online) can become three-day anxiety attacks. Salespeople spend 36% of their time actually selling and that leaves them with less time for in-person events where they would be able to do the most important parts of their jobs.

And if sellers have to leave halfway through a session, then the company that paid for them there is essentially throwing away their money.

What makes virtual SKOs so much better?

Virtual SKOs have five major benefits over in-person events.

Theyre more relevant.

Its more productive to have smaller, on-demand virtual summits. Rather than waiting six months for new information, it can be delivered when the company needs it.

Theyre shorter.

Virtual summits are much shorter than in-person meetings. They put a focus on engaging with participants rather than entertaining them.

Presenters have to be more focused and disciplined in their delivery. They need to find the most important information they want to relay quickly, without going into too much detail.

They can be tailored to the individual person.

Virtual formats allow for a lot of data collection. This is used to track engagement, regional differences and analyze the type of job positions they are holding.

More and more companies are focusing on the idea of personalized marketing, with things like Instagram or Facebook. This makes sense because weve been conditioned by these platforms to prefer that.

And yet, at a typical SKO event, you get information that might be relevant to your industry but not really.

They offer more flexibility.

This format allows for the customization of on-the-fly modules and real time adjustments that are engaging, which will help to drive retention. This also provides input from employees at all levels.

Not only are certain modules designed to be used just once, but they can also be scaled in order to provide ongoing training and onboarding opportunities.

Theyre far cheaper.

Virtual formats are great for companies that want to host an event but dont have the budget. Theyre also good because they allow more people to attend.

How to Craft the Perfect Virtual Sales Kickoff Activities

I dont know if virtual summits have the potential to be successful in the long-term. We need more time before we can tell whether or not it will last.

But in order to ensure a diverse workforce, here are some tips for anyone whos planning a virtual SKO.

Create a purpose-built experience for a virtual audience

Virtual SKOs wont be as good as in-person events. But thats OK.

Dont try to replicate everything youve done in-person. Take the opportunity and do something new.

Instead of designing a one-size-fits-all experience, break up the content so its relevant for each type of seller.

Rather than relying on one-way presentations, make sure to include time for reflective questions and crowdsource input from the audience. This will help keep them engaged.

The format has to be flexible and you have to shift quickly from one activity or task, otherwise people will lose interest.

Its sales, so incorporate competition and keep things fun

Dont forget to include some non-learning sales kickoff activities in your conference. Its important for people who attend conferences to get the chance to network, make new connections and simply relax.

Gamification is a great way to reinforce learning. Create competition with small-group, breakout exercises and self-paced challenges so that attendees can practice applying information learned in the plenary session (Competition could start before the event).

To be successful, planners need to plan ahead and assign people into breakout groups.

You should consider who your participants are and what their roles or experience levels are before you tailor the event to them.

Make virtual participation as easy and seamless as possible

If your meeting is using technology, make sure that its easy to get started. Dont force attendees download additional software or plug-ins and ensure the bandwidth requirements are low so anyone can join.

For registered participants, a simple calendar invite is enough. If there are instructions for the meeting or additional information needed to log in, include them with the invitation.

Make sure your speakers are in the same time zone as well. You may have to create groups of participants based on geographical regions.

Dont have your West Coast sellers wake up at 6 a.m. to show up for the same session as East Coasters who are waking up at 9 a.m.

Focus on Value

There are a lot of virtual conferences coming up, and this will be an interesting opportunity to test out the new SKO format.

There will definitely be some obstacles when planning a virtual SKO for the first time, but if youre going to take advantage of this new formats potential growth.

Its important to pay attention and learn from what has been done before.

If you can do this, people will be more likely to come back and look at your next one. They might even prefer it.


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Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.