Remember my previous blog post, How COVID-19 Changes our Sales Enablement – for Good? Six months later, I can happily report that a virtual, company-wide sales kickoff (SKO) meeting can be a success. Here are my lessons learned.
Less is More
The #1 rule is probably to keep the scope reasonable. We conducted a three-day long SKO, where each day was three hours long. Keep in mind that your audience is connecting remotely from their home offices and can be engaged in a good day for only about two to three hours.
Plan for a Balance Between Presentations and Interactive Sessions
If you assume that your audience absorbs all provided content in a formal presentation format, then you are wrong. I had a speaker once tell me how great his session was; he felt so because he managed to deliver the full session content on time along with multiple sales success stories. When I talked to the trainees, they had absolutely no idea what was he talking about.
In reality, the optimal ratio is to have no more that 30% (about one-third) of the content delivered as a formal presentation. The rest should be delivered through interactive sessions. Pro-tip: when delivering presentations, be sure to divide them into consumable nuggets of 15 to 20 minutes.
Turn Presentations into Interactive Sessions
This year, we decided that our SKO general assembly would have a maximum of two presentations. In a physical event, we would have all sessions delivered as presentations, but in a virtual environment, we simply could not do that. Instead, we got creative and transformed presentations into interviews.
Through six interviews, totaling nearly one hour, we spoke with regional sales managers from around the globe. This fueled the sessions with energy and made our audience more engaged hearing real life stories from colleagues.
A Challenging Game Keeps Your Audience Engaged
Allocate five minutes at the end of each session to challenge your audience with questions. An award quest may be optimal, as it adds color, fun, excitement and keeps your audience engaged. In fact, at this year’s SKO, this was one of the key highlights.
Recognize Your Champions
The part that excites our audience the most? Awards and employee recognition. Place this section at the end of the day. This is an important section — do not overlook it. Give each winner their time and explain why they have been selected. Invest in good graphics to praise the champions.
Make a Toast for the New Year
It may look awkward, but asking everyone at the end of the day to bring a glass of wine or beer is a great way to end the day. Everyone participated and it was great to see and hear everyone making a toast for the new year!