Sales Training Techniques to Make Your Sales Kickoff Stick

Mar 2, 2021

Sales kickoffs can be a fun and energizing way to re-motivate your sales team, realign their efforts, and launch a new sales initiative. So, why do many of them end up failing to deliver after the fact? Two of the biggest reasons go hand-in-hand:

  • A lack of unified purpose throughout the whole event
  • Lack of reinforcement of that purpose afterward

Source: Richardson Sales Training

The whole sales kickoff event should be built around a core, defined objective or initiative. It should focus on what it is you want to accomplish during the event and because of the event.

More importantly, you should then have an outlined plan to reinforce these concepts and initiatives after the event. But, unfortunately, according to a survey done by Brainshark, 71% of companies don’t deliver follow-up training or post-work to reps to reinforce what was covered in the sales kickoff.

“If there is no coaching or reinforcement activity, there is a drop-off of 87% of the knowledge acquired.”

Neal Rackham, SPIN Selling

You want to be able to guarantee the longevity of the information and sales initiatives at your next sales kickoff. In this article, we’ll show you why and how you can use sales training techniques to do just that.

Table of Contents

1. How to Ensure Your Sales Kickoff Is Effective

2. Sales Techniques to Continue Training Past the Kickoff Event

3. When to Implement These Sales Training Techniques for Maximum Effectiveness

4. Utilize Effective Sales Training to Reinforce Your Sales Kickoff Objectives

How to Ensure Your Sales Kickoff Is Effective

To make a sales kickoff successful, you have to view it as more than a singular event. Sales leaders have to build the event from the viewpoint that it is actually part of an actionable initiative that will drive quantifiable results and a lasting impact. Then, during the event, this initiative has to be communicated to the sales teams as a permanent priority.

When investing in a new sales initiative that is being launched at a sales kickoff event, planning for what happens after the event is even more important. The key to making your sales kickoff stick is to implement a strategy for result-driven adoption and reinforcement.

Sales Techniques to Continue Training Past the Kickoff Event

Continuing sales training regularly after the sales kickoff will help keep new initiatives, sales processes, and goals fresh in your sales reps’ minds. So, how do you continue effective sales training throughout the rest of the year? Here are few sales training ideas to help reinforce the most important aspects from your sales kickoff:

Gather Feedback From the Sales Team

Asking for feedback from your sales team soon after the event is an opportunity to gauge the success of your sales kickoff. This is an easy opportunity you do not want to miss. You want to find out what information sunk in, what was missed, what worked, and what may not have.

Gathering feedback has a two-prong advantage. It will give you and the rest of the sales leadership an idea of how to improve the event in the future. But, more importantly, collecting feedback will also give an idea of where to focus the continued training and coaching you need to do now.

With the feedback you receive, take the ideas that are worth it and put processes in place to execute them, and build your on-going training around the areas of information that you have learned need to be reinforced.

Action items:

  • Use a feedback collection form that combines both surveys and polls and use questions like:
  • What were your top three takeaways from the event?
  • What is the new initiative (or goal)?
  • Do you have an idea to make our initiative even more successful?
  • How can you help reach the goal?
  • How do we plan on measuring success?
  • How will this new initiative affect our customers?
  • Make a clear effort to show your reps that you are taking the feedback seriously, responding to it, and implementing new ideas where you can. This will help keep the enthusiasm alive long after the sales kickoff

Distribute a New Sales Playbook

As you probably know, a sales playbook is extremely effective in communicating to your sales teams the best sales practices, expectations, and exactly what to do in certain situations. So, putting a new sales playbook into the hands of your reps after the sales kickoff is a great way to reinforce the new information.

Depending on the initiative presented at the sales kickoff and how many new processes or changes that may mean, you can either do a whole new playbook or a supplement to one already being used.

Action items:

There are many different templates for sales playbooks that you can use to give you a framework to build from. In the playbook after the kickoff event, be sure to include:

  • A summary of the important details on the initiatives launched at the sales kickoff, including the presentation slides (if applicable)
  • Information on what will be different after the kickoff for your sales reps, what you expect them to do differently, and what new tools or content they should have received at the event
  • The information and instructions on what training sessions, one-on-ones, etc are to come after the event
  • Information on the new tools or processes that have been implemented directly into the CRM or worked into the workflow

Bonus tip:

Whatever sales workflow changes that can be automated should be integrated into your reps’ daily tools as soon as possible.

  • Clear and defined sales goals and expectations that the team and reps are expected to meet throughout the rest of the year with new initiatives in place

Re-Cover Initiatives & Topics From the Sales Kickoff

Source: Brainshark

You should start to reinforce initiatives and topics soon after the sales kickoff through on-going training sessions. What is critical here is that the key themes of the event are kept in front of reps as much as possible afterward. You want them to know that the new initiatives and/or processes are here to stay and weren’t just week-long ideas.

If they are doing a lot of these trainings together as a team throughout the rest of the year and they’re feeding off of each other positively, chances are they’ll also stay motivated about it for the long run. Running short in-person workshops with your sales teams will not only reinforce information but also break up the workday and can often be a great way to build excitement around sales efforts.

It all comes down to the fact that, as the adage says, practice makes perfect. You want to use reinforcement throughout the rest of the year as often as you can. Keep in mind that you only want to focus on one technique or skill at a time in these training sessions.

Action items:

  • Do breakout training sessions of small groups to reinforce certain aspects of working new initiatives/strategies into the sales process. This provides an opportunity to hyper-focus the training topic for select reps who need it
  • Schedule meetings where sales leaders are sharing the latest updates and insights on the initiatives, as well as gaining specific performance and activity commitments from the sales reps
  • Whether included as part of the training sessions/meetings or sending out within internal communication, share videos of customers describing how a new solution has helped them succeed.
  • Throughout the rest of the year, send relevant short pieces of content out to the sales reps while also incorporating the initiative’s tagline, branding, and imagery

Schedule One-On-One Check-Ins With Sales Reps

Utilizing one-on-one check-ins with your sales reps will have several advantages. Mainly, it should be utilized as a coaching session to personalize reinforcement where it is needed. But, it also provides the opportunity for the reps to get dedicated face time with you as their leader as well as a chance for them to ask questions regarding any of the sales kickoff initiatives.

You should also use these check-ins as a way to hold reps accountable. Evaluate where the rep is at in regards to the sales goals and expectations that were set after the kickoff event, and what they need to do to get there.

Action items:

  • Use data and sales performance management to craft a personalized approach to sales development for each rep after the sales kickoff. Combine sales performance metrics like close rates and pipeline growth with sales proficiency data (strengths and weaknesses) to guide you
  • Track the sales’ reps training modules to stay abreast of where they are at in the reinforcement training. Then, work these progress updates into your one-on-one meetings to reinforce expectations

Utilize Online Sales Training Courses

Source: Ambition

Online sales training courses are a great way to transfer and continually reinforce important sales knowledge to your sales reps. In particular, many of the course formats allow your team to do their training on a schedule that works for them while still allowing you to track their progress.

Some of the best online sales training courses include a combination of reading materials, videos, gamification, live call recordings, and practical application.

Action items:

  • Focus on training courses that reinforce the specific initiatives from the sales kickoff
  • Go with sales training courses that are on a mobile-friendly platform. You don’t want your outside sales reps chained to their desks any more than they have to be
  • Utilize sales training courses that are structured in 20 to 30-minute increments and include exercises that your reps can practice that same day

Use Your More Experienced Reps as Trainers

Your more experienced reps who have been at the company a while are a valuable asset to utilize with the newer reps. Especially in a situation where you have new reps who are being onboarded after the sales kickoff event.

Most learning and retention of new information occurs through interactions with peers through hands-on on-the-job experiences. Use your older reps to train the newer reps through shadowing, role play, and mentoring.

Action items:

  • Have the reps who will be the “trainers” use relevant examples, narrative use cases, and scenarios to help bring the key concepts from the sales kickoff to life

Important note: To achieve the greatest success with these sales techniques after the sales kickoff, you absolutely have to make them relevant. Each strategic training technique you use has to be relevant to what was disseminated/learned at your sales kickoff and relevant to the reps’ current sales activities, everyday responsibilities, and live opportunities.

When to Implement These Sales Training Techniques for Maximum Effectiveness

Following a structured cadence for the sales training techniques/sessions after the sales kickoff will help reinforce the objectives. It will also allow you to set clear benchmarks that coincide with the training or check-ins so that everyone is on the same page in regards to what is expected.

Source: Andy Farquharson

Of course, the cadence can vary, but here is an example of one way to plan out the post-kickoff sales training, check-ins, coaching sessions, etc:

First Day Back to Work After the Sales Kickoff

  • Gather Feedback – Distribute your feedback surveys to gather feedback and set a 2-day requirement for them to be completed
  • Playbook – Distribute the new or supplemental sales playbook to your sales team

During the First Month After the Sales Kickoff

  • Business review meeting – In the first week after the kickoff event, sales leadership leads a team meeting with the reps touching on key points of the new initiatives, expectations, and where things currently stand
  • Training courses – Kick off any new online training courses in the first week after the sales kickoff to maximize retention of the new initiatives
  • Weekly team training sessions – Schedule a weekly training session, led by the team’s sales leaders, where the sales team utilizes role-playing, live call review, or other hands-on practice to reinforce the processes and initiatives
  • Weekly Pipeline Update – Sales leadership leads quick update meetings on new deals in the sales pipeline, percentage of growth, etc
  • Weekly 1-on-1 Check-ins – Schedule weekly one-on-one check-ins with each sales rep to gauge their retention of the new sales initiatives and process, their progress on training modules, and determine where to focus ongoing coaching

After the First Month Following the Sales Kickoff

  • Business review meeting – At the beginning of the second month, sales leadership leads a “state of the union” meeting with the sales team. Provide updates on how well the initiatives are being rolled out and any additional news
  • Training courses – Continue the online training courses as needed in certain areas or processes for continued reinforcement
  • Bi-weekly team training – Continue the hands-on training sessions but now on a bi-weekly basis
  • Weekly pipeline update – Continue the weekly pipeline review meeting. During the second month after the sales kickoff is where you should start to see significant improvements in the pipeline if the initiative has been reinforced effectively
  • Bi-weekly 1-on-1 check-ins – Continue one-on-one check-ins but on a bi-weekly basis

This cadence should then be followed throughout the remainder of the year. Based on the one-on-one check ins with the reps, you can always add more breakout training meetings as needed to focus on specific areas that may need extra attention.

Utilize Effective Sales Training to Reinforce Your Sales Kickoff Objectives

The sales kickoff event is a moment in time where you have a captive audience and the opportunity to motivate and enable your sales teams to boost performance. But, as you can see, without effective reinforcement and training afterward, the kickoff may end up having been nothing more than an expensive get-together.

Don’t wait to start utilizing or planning for some of the training techniques we covered above. Jump on them today to help ensure that what is covered in your sales kickoff stays at the forefront of your sales team’s minds throughout the rest of the year.