The Essential Steps to Take after a Sales Kickoff Training for Continued Success

BY:  Rebecca Herson
May 26, 2024
Updated on May 28, 2024
14 MIN. READING

Table of Contents

After an SKO, sales teams get back to their regular schedules, making calls, running pitches, and hopefully securing deals, but are they using the new messaging you launched at the SKO, or trying out the new pitching angles you spent ages presenting?

The SKO is a lot of “new” – new messaging, new products, new features, new company story. All that “new” is exciting and stimulating, and that’s exactly what you want. But what happens when the lights go off from the SKO and each sales professional is left alone to make pitches? Sales training for insurance, for example, has to ensure that sales reps learn a lot of extremely important compliance information. Are you sure everyone has mastered it all?

When the excitement fades and the motivating speeches are just a memory, does anyone remember what you said? According to research, students forget 75% of new information just 7 days after learning it. The same holds true for your sales reps after an SKO. Would you have any way of knowing if they do? How is sales productivity being measured, and who’s monitoring it…and doing something about it?

What you’ll learn from this blog

In this article, you’ll discover the answers to all these questions and more. We’ll explain:

  • How to measure and track the impact of your SKO over time
  • How to turn certification into an engaging sales training experience that keeps the inspiration from your SKO alight
  • The “three questions” and how they drive sales success 

Keep reading to find out what really happens after the lights go out on your SKO, and what you can do to make sure that it has a lasting impact that truly drives sales and revenue until the next SKO. 

Sales Kickoff Training is a one-off, but sales continues all year round

SKOs get plenty of attention, but sales managers have no easy way to track how much of the learning sticks with their sales team. That brings up the question of who’s responsible for this task? Is that a Marketing thing, or Sales Enablement, or Sales Training, or Product? Who goes to check whether sellers are using the battlecards correctly, the ones that you worked so hard to create?

You’d probably answer that it’s a sales enablement job, but you might be surprised. Sales enablement is typically on to the next big project once the SKO is over, especially since they are often overstretched across an enormous group of sales professionals and products. They don’t necessarily have time to follow up on the SKO that already ended. 

Sales leaders have other pressing issues demanding their attention, so they turn away and leave sales to deal with it themselves. Following up on the SKO tends to fall between the cracks of your many teams. It’s not a glamorous job, and it’s not clearly on anyone’s to-do list. 

With no one taking responsibility, especially if there’s no sales enablement team, practicing pitches and reinforcing new messaging is left to the sales professionals’ own motivation, which can quickly peter out as they ease back into their comfort zone of what they already know works.

So how do you reinforce your SKO to have an impact on real life sales figures?

What are the Three SKO-Related Questions?

The best way to focus the conversation and keep it customer-centric is to center it around these three questions:

  • Why change?
  • Why now?
  • Why us?

Why Change?

The biggest obstacle to closing a sale is never your competitor, but the status quo. Sticking to the current approach is always the easiest option for any company, because it doesn’t require any effort or decision-making. Reps need to start by giving the potential customer a reason to consider any alternative to their current situation, and only then start promoting your solution.

If the sales rep doesn’t make a successful “case for change” early on in their interactions, they might think that the purchase journey is proceeding smoothly, right up until the prospect suddenly becomes stuck at a later stage and cannot be convinced any further.

Skipping this stage to open with “why us?” means that reps never get the chance to find out what the potential customers need, where they are heading, or which features they most need from your product. Starting out with “why change?” firmly sets the tone of the entire sales process as customer-centric, not product-centric.

There are a number of possible answers to the question of “why change?” By listening carefully to the responses, sales reps will know how to best proceed.

For example, a potential buyer might be ready to consider changing to a cloud-based tool because:

  • They need to reduce costs during difficult business times;
  • There’s a desire to make the business more efficient by finding a tool that is “X-in-one” to replace multiple platforms that break up workflows;
  • Their digital transformation is prompting a shift to the cloud;
  • The business is expanding and needs to scale;
  • Changing work patterns among a workforce that’s trying to find the right balance between remote and in-office requires a more flexible, mobile, and/or remote tool.

Your reps might find that there’s a lot of repetition among the different reasons for change, but that’s ok. That just reinforces the message.

Sales Productivity and SKO: First measure it, then manage it

Improving sales productivity means you need to know what’s going on. As the saying goes, you can’t grow if you don’t know. The first step is to clarify what you’re looking for. What changes in seller behavior do you expect to see 30, 60 and 90 days after your SKO? It’s important to set specific goals for each period of time and follow up to see if sales teams are meeting them. It could look something like:

  • SKO +30: Incorporate all the new messaging and pitches into your calls
  • SKO +60: Acquire 5 new opportunities for products discussed at the SKO
  • SKO +90: Have at least 1 opportunity progress past stage 3

Then you need to decide how to measure it. What does that behavior change look like in terms of hard metrics like demos requested, sales made, or calls returned? You’ll need to dig a little deeper to look for metrics like how many new opportunities were opened for a product launched at SKO, or to see if the new demos came about due to sales professional’s initiative or thanks to your marketing campaigns, but it’s worth the extra effort. 

SKO: Enhancing Engagement with Gamification

Gamification, or incorporating game-playing elements into training, is gaining popularity as a technique for improving sales productivity. In the context of sales training, gamification can include dynamic leaderboards with fun effects as sales reps reach each goal, friendly challenges between individuals and/or teams, and interactive learning experiences. 

Gamified learning experiences are much more enjoyable than traditional sales training, encouraging reps to practice more. More practice inevitably translates into more confidence and improved performance. Gamification also replaces passive learning with active learning, which drives better knowledge retention and speeds up skills acquisition. 

Savvy organizations are including gamification both as part of their SKOs, and following the SKO as a way of keeping the momentum going. When sales reps are offered training that’s engaging and fun, they are far more enthusiastic about it. In this way, the SKO learning experience continues seamlessly throughout the year.

SKO and Certification

Certification programs are popular in many companies for encouraging sales professionals to learn about new products, improve their understanding of existing ones, and pass assessments. They can be useful for measuring progress and keeping sales professionals on the right track.

Most certification programs use quizzes and various assessments to determine the level of their sales professionals, however only a role-play can give an indication of how comfortable they are actually having a conversation about the learned topic, or how smoothly they can pitch about it, or if they deliver it in a smooth, confident and trustworthy way. And most companies do not have time to do 1:1 role plays with every seller on every possible topic.

Keep Up the Momentum

You need to introduce the right kind of simulation exercises that will keep up the SKO momentum. Second Nature’s sales training software uses conversational AI to create realistic role-play personas that can conduct authentic sales conversations with every rep in a private, judgment-free setting. 

These gamified learning experiences encourage sales reps to refine their pitches, and motivates them to keep practicing. The program is engaging enough that reps will be motivated to keep using it on their own, without needing managers breathing down their necks. Second Nature’s user-friendly editor makes it easy to create new sessions and courses in minutes by simply uploading a deck, audio recording, or web page, and choosing your preferred template. 

With Second Nature’s AI-based system, you can deliver targeted feedback that helps users identify their weaknesses and work to strengthen them. Built-in data analytics enable sales managers and sales enablers to track sales rep completion rate and measure their improvement.

A Good SKO Never Ends

Second Nature can give you the benefits of a year round on-demand SKO without having to have an SKO every day! Sales professionals get the training and guidance when they need and want it, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

SKO is an awesome activity, but making sure it impacts on your annual revenue takes much longer. Learn how to turn your SKO into your first step to year long success, SKO 2 SKO!

Key Takeaways

Even the best SKO needs the right kind of follow-up to ensure that the inspiration and excitement translates into long-term sales and successful messaging. This requires a combination of effective tracking and monitoring, and engaging ongoing sales training. Gamified sales training like Second Nature can be the best way to deliver enjoyable sales training that reinforces your SKO all year round. 

  • An inspiring SKO isn’t enough for year-long sales success
  • Sales reps need to know which questions to focus on
  • Gamified sales training is more effective, more engaging, and more efficient 
  • Second Nature’s AI-powered sales training platform enables interactive and enjoyable sales training experiences that drive real change

FAQs:

  • How can hybrid work models be effectively integrated into SKO training?

With the right digital tools, SKO training can be carried out effectively for both remote and in-office teams. Employees can receive the same messaging, inspirational sessions, and experiential learning at the same time, wherever they are located. For example, Second Nature uses AI to power realistic role play personas who conduct authentic sales conversations with your sales reps, then deliver timely feedback. With Second Nature as part of sales training for call centers, everyone can participate in role play practice, teams and individuals can compare scores for friendly competition, and sales leaders can view completion and progress metrics to inform their strategic decisions.

  • How does data analytics enhance the effectiveness of SKO training?

Data analytics provides vital actionable insights into individual and team performance so you can fine-tune the SKO training you provide. By analyzing data on sales activities, engagement with training materials, and performance metrics, trainers can identify areas of strength and weakness, tailor training content to specific needs, and track progress over time. Moreover, predictive analytics can anticipate future challenges and opportunities, allowing for proactive adjustments to training strategies. This data-driven approach enables a more personalized and targeted training experience, ultimately leading to improved sales outcomes.

  • What are some effective ways to maintain engagement in sales training?

Employees respond best to a blend of interactive techniques, such as gamification, simulations, and peer learning. Incorporate real-world examples and challenges to ensure relevance and practical application, while providing personalized feedback and recognition to foster motivation and accountability. Platforms like Second Nature use AI to analyze user learning styles and progress so as to deliver dynamic learning experiences that constantly adapt to each individual’s preferences. 

  • How can continuous learning be fostered within a sales team?

The only way to foster continuous learning in your sales team is to create a culture that values and prioritizes ongoing development. This should include consistently encouraging employees to pursue certifications, attend conferences, and participate in online courses to expand their skills and knowledge, as well as providing them with engaging and effective learning tools. 

 

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About the author

Rebecca Herson

Rebecca is head of marketing at Second Nature.

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