Sales kickoffs (SKOs) are exciting occasions when your revenue team gets to rally around the company’s latest strategies, initiatives, and best practices as you launch the latest strategy, initiative, or best practice. In an increasingly hybrid and virtual world, you may be wondering if it’s possible to host an engaging and successful sales kickoff, even remotely, as this trend shifts to favor more hybrid and virtual events.
Yes, that is the answer! Moreover, our most recent Sales Kickoff was held on our all-in-one, virtual event management platform, Zoom Events, and was held as a hybrid affair. The 2022 Growth Summit was not an easy task to “huddle up” 3,000 Zoomies from our global revenue organization, but it became one of our favorite hybrid events to date as 3,000 Zoomies from our global revenue organization were brought together for two full days, 11 watch parties, and three separate learning tracks.
Let’s take a look at how we were able to accomplish this? Below you will find some of our recommendations and some tips that we used to create a memorable remote experience for the sales team, which will lead to greater connections with them over time.
What are the benefits of a virtual sales kickoff?
It might sound complicated to host a virtual SKO, but hosting a virtual SKO has a lot more benefits than you might imagine. The good news is that Zoom Events will allow you not only to reach your business objectives, but you will also be able to design an educational and engaging event for your sales team which includes the following advantages:
Cost savings: By watching remotely or as a group from the office, attendees are able to reduce their travel, venue, and lodging costs. A Zoom Events license is all you need to get started.
Sustained productivity: Having the option to schedule meetings or take calls between sessions is a great benefit to the sales reps as it prevents them from being distracted from their work.
Engaging opportunities: By utilizing Zoom Events, breakout rooms, networking tools, enhancing chat features, automated caption translations while the meeting is taking place, and creating thoughtful agendas and sessions in a Zoom meeting, teams can interact with one another in ways they may not be able to do in person.
Post-event analytics: Using the information you gather, you will be able to determine which of your sessions were most popular, and how engaged your sales team was during the event.
Considering the benefits virtual and hybrid events offer, it’s easy to see why they’re here to stay and have become an integral part of event marketing strategies for a long time to come. It is true that they don’t just happen overnight, but they do take time. Indeed, Zoom’s sales kickoff was the result of months of preparation and the work of 150 team members. However, you should not allow that to overwhelm you. When you approach a virtual SKO in a phased manner, you will be able to plan, launch, and measure it successfully no matter how big or small your team is.
Create a pre-event plan
In Zoom, our work styles are employee-led, which means that we have the freedom to decide where and how we want to work. During the planning of Growth Summit, we took the same approach and gave employees the opportunity to decide how they would attend the event and how to get there. As a result, we developed a proactive plan to ensure that we were ready to serve a variety of audiences. We ensured we would have the right technology, compelling content, an engaging agenda, and high energy speakers who would be comfortable speaking to a virtual audience.
If you are looking for more tips and advice about hosting and presenting, take a look at our ultimate guide for event hosts and virtual presenters.
It is best to imagine your ideal event with the following questions in mind as you embark on the planning process:
Could it be a hybrid model or a virtual model?
Do you have any KPIs or goals that you need to achieve?
What sort of interaction would you like the audience to have with each other or with the speakers as a whole?
It may be tempting to livestream your content to a virtual audience or send them a replay at some point, but if you want your virtual or hybrid experience to be successful, it requires the same foresight as an in-person event. In order to make an informed decision, you need to consider the following points:
Choose a theme that serves as a point of reference for content, messaging, and activities that are related to the theme.
You may want to conduct a pre-event survey or poll to find out what attendees are looking forward to getting out of the event.
Create an agenda for global teams that includes regionally specific content for the sessions and replays of important sessions like keynotes in different time zones, so you can appeal to audiences worldwide.
Think about the assets that you will use for your event (agenda, sessions, and visuals). Ensure that you select a virtual event management solution that enables you to plan, design, and customize event details with ease by supporting these foundational planning activities.
Pro tip: Zoom Events is an event management platform that allows you to host multi-day, multi-session events using the video technology your employees are used to. Your salespeople can find and join the sessions that are most relevant and aligned with their interests and goals by organizing them into branded hubs, so they are easy to find and join.
During the event: interaction and engagement
When you have started your SKO, be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for attendees to interact with each other in order to make sure engagement is high. In order to give you some ideas, here are some suggestions:
Make your sales team more competitive by playing a friendly game that taps into the competitive nature of your team.
Organise happy hour sessions so that people can network with one another and connect with one another.
Organize on-site viewing parties for your employees.
As a sales manager, you have the ability to provide different options for salespeople to develop knowledge and skills about products in order to allow them to leave with something new.
You should encourage your customers to be a part of your sales sessions so that your sales teams will have a better idea of what their prospects think of you.
Our Growth Summit added a second layer of competitive fun not just by hosting 11 watch parties across the globe, but also through a Shark Tank-inspired game show (thank you Zoom Events specialists), which allowed our team members to pitch their sales ideas to Zoom’s “sharks” in a game show that was reminiscent of Zoom’s immersive backgrounds. A green screen studio was used to film and broadcast the innovative episode live during a breakout session, complete with 3D models that resembled Zoom’s immersive backgrounds. The Zoom Team Chat conversations, which were broadcast directly into the real-time feed of the Zoom Team Chat application, were a great way to keep employees who are not in competition with one another actively engaged.
In spite of the fact that it was an exciting experience, it is not necessary to host a Shark Tank in order to engage your audience. Attendees crave interaction more than anything else, which is why you should give your virtual viewers the same opportunity if your in-person team members can ask live questions or chat with each other.
In addition to the Events Lobby area that Zoom Events offers to attendees for connecting and interacting, each session has a chat component that can also be used by attendees for chatting and engaging with each other. Your sales team can find out if the chat is being monitored and if any questions are being asked by your hosts.
Post-event: reinforcement and feedback
In the first three months following a sales training class, up to 84% of what was learned is forgotten, according to G2. It is imperative that you have a solid reinforcement plan in place if you wish to achieve long-term results from your sales kickoff:
Provide salespeople with the opportunity to review recorded sessions through Zoom Events.
In order to increase employee learning and performance, it would be helpful if the most insightful sessions were recommended as “required viewing.”
Gather feedback from the event and analyze the data to determine the return on investment and improve the next year’s event.
Through Zoom Events’ comprehensive reporting capabilities, it is easy to collect data during virtual events as a result of our virtual event software. You can keep track of event analytics like registrations and attendance as well as compare the data from different sessions if you wish. You could set up post-event surveys, broken down into regions, tenures, segments, and other levels of groups, and use the results to identify areas for improvement in the planning of your upcoming events.
Transform your virtual sales kickoff
There is no need to worry about virtual SKOs being a headache. There is no doubt that they can be fun! Irrespective of whether you are considering a full-scale hybrid experience for a multi-day period, or a smaller revenue team meeting, we can help you out. The Zoom Event Services team can provide an event that is stress-free, complete with consultants who can lend assistance to the planning and technical aspects of the event on the day itself.
Zoom Events is a virtual conference solution that can transform your next virtual sales kickoff into a successful one.
Please note that the original article for this article was published on November 4, 2021, and that it was updated on September 8, 2022 to reflect new details about our most recent SKO event.
How do you host a zoom event?
- Make the necessary arrangements for a meeting and/or webinar. Collaborate with the team in charge of the presentation to precisely specify and enable the settings for each session. For instance, determine whether or not the question-and-answer portion of the session will be active.
- Enable practice session.
- Invite panelists.
- Make preparations for a dry run.
- Set up livestreaming.
- Consider who might be able to videotape the event.
How do I start an event in Zoom events?
Log in to participate in Zoom Events.To view your upcoming events, select My Events from the menu. Choose the Upcoming tab from the menu. Click the Start button to the right of the event you want to begin (if it is part of a recurrent series) or the Join Lobby button if it is part of an event with numerous sessions.
How do I lead a Zoom meeting for the first time?
- Log in to the web portal for your Zoom account.
- Click on the Meetings tab.
- Click the Start button that is located next to the upcoming meeting that you want to begin.
- To get the meeting started, the Zoom client should start up on its own automatically.