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After a challenging year, sales kickoffs (SKOs) offer businesses the opportunity to reconnect, motivate and engage sales teams and set a positive tone for 2021.

However, given most sales kickoffs (SKOs) in 2021 will be run in a virtual or hybrid environment, the challenge for managers and event organisers will be engaging sales representatives in a virtual environment.

This is especially true given their motivation has likely already suffered through extended periods of remote work and isolation, meaning that motivating sales reps and fostering a sense of team is more critical than ever. 

Motivating teams after a tough year 

Learning and Performance Consultant for Be Challenged, Terry Reynolds, said many sales representatives have been impacted by lost business and opportunities, reduced hours, or the retrenchment of colleagues. This ongoing sense of uncertainty is heightened by the likelihood of remote working arrangements extending into 2021. 

“Generally, salespeople are extroverted people who get a lot of energy from engaging face-to-face with clients… the isolation of working from home is bound to affect their individual psyche and motivation,” Terry said. 

“After such a turbulent year, people are craving a sense of normalcy. While company events such as sales kickoffs (SKOs) will look significantly different, they should go ahead.”

“The way we work has fundamentally changed… businesses need to acknowledge this and get good at providing events in a virtual environment.”

Engagement in a Virtual Sales Kickoff (SKO)

The biggest challenge when hosting a virtual sales kickoff (SKO) will be maintaining attendee engagement. To maximise interest and involvement, it is important that organisers do not attempt to recreate face-to-face events. 

“Managers and sales teams who expect virtual kickoffs to be the same as face-to-face will be disappointed. Both sides need to commit to making the experience the best it can be,” Terry said. 

The best virtual agendas feature only the most interesting or relevant content in short, high-energy sessions – no buffer segments! By consulting sales representatives in the early stages of planning, managers can ensure that they only include content that is most important to their staff. 

Quality speakers who are experienced in virtual delivery are also hugely beneficial for engagement. Many hosts and MCs are unaccustomed to speaking in virtual environments, which vary significantly from face-to-face, and will benefit from pre-event training such as Be Challenged’s speaker coaching. 

Managers can also maximise engagement at virtual events and sales kickoffs by setting clear instructions and expectations for attendee participation. 

“The golden rule is that attendees must have their cameras on. Not only does this encourage engagement but it is also better for the host, who’s delivery will be impacted when presenting to faceless icons,” says Terry. 

Team Building in Virtual Sales Kickoffs (SKOs)

Team building programs are a fun and engaging way to maintain energy levels and break up the content of virtual events and sales kickoffs.

Managers looking to reconnect teams whose engagement has suffered due to periods of isolation are increasingly opting for team building events and challenges that focus on fun and celebration rather than educational or skill-based programs.

Inject some light-hearted fun into your virtual sales kickoff (SKO) with these Be Challenged programs:

For more information about Running the Perfect Sales Kickoff, download Be Challenged’s guide here.

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