Whether you are a sales leader, sales enablement manager, sales ops, or head of HR and intend to deploy MEDDIC at your SKO, this is for you. If not, please forward this article to one of the above in your organization. They’ll be grateful!
It’s still time to plan for the best sales training as you organize and attend your annual sales kick-off, or SKO, like every sales organization. It’s the best gathering of your sales force and a unique opportunity to learn, to teach, and to motivate. You want to avoid the SKO becoming just a big party paid for by the company. It’s great to make sure the evening events allow connection, socialization, and, ultimately, motivation of the sales team. But you need to include the right training program – remember, learning is one of the best motivational activities you can offer to the team.
Now, here’s the challenge: both the Learning and Motivation fade with time.
Motivation happens when each salesperson feels as being an essential part of the team. It comes from interacting with colleagues, collaborating, and learning. It also comes from listening to sales leaders and getting inspired by their stories. There are a lot of things you can do to keep the motivation flame alive. Here are some of them:
- Having frequent one-to-ones with each team member
- Joining them on customer calls (phone, video conference, in-person)
- Analyzing the challenges together
- Helping them to understand how to overcome those challenges
- Setting specific action item goals to overcome those specific challenges
- Setting daily and weekly activity goals instead of result goals
- Monitoring progress on activity goals with them on a weekly basis
- On par with the global SKO at the global level, planning a smaller-scale sales gathering at the Country/Region level. Always include a social event in the evening once a quarter.
- On par with the global and national sales meetings, planning an even smaller scale district sales meetings, once a month
These were just a brief set of action items. Obviously motivation is a vast subject deserving several books to elaborate. We’ll cover this in a separate blog post as well.
One big question we see in almost every company preparing their SKO is: What are we going to teach this year? Are we going to introduce a new methodology? But we already introduced the Challenger Sale last year, and the Customer Centric the year before, is it reasonable to go with MEDDIC this year? And many other questions around this.
Answer to that one is easy. Unlike the general perception, most of the successful and reputable methodologies are complementary to each other. Solution selling, Customer centric, Challenger Sale, MEDDIC ,… all complete each other. Each of them focuses on a given aspect of your sale. Solution selling and customer centric focus on messaging. TCS focuses on industry knowledge and sellers consulting skills. MEDDIC’s focus is on qualification. A fortune 5 company hired us to teach MEDDIC just 2 weeks after a Challenger Sale training. Each of these give new perspective to the sales team providing them with additional tools.
Then the other big challenge is to make sure the learning doesn’t fade.
Many studies report that at least 85% of the information provided is forgotten (or not practiced any more) only 30 days after delivery, when delivered as an in-person training during a SKO. Even though the sellers feel great during the session and are excited when talking about the things they learned during the coffee-breaks, their chances of remembering and applying what they learned are slim. No matter how great your SKO speaker is, the one time lecture of even the best content, is going to fade within weeks.
Learn, Practice, Blend, Get Coached, Repeat = Habit
So if no matter how great the content is and the speaker’s skills are, the event is going to fade. How do we implement a killing methodology which will increase performance then?
The answer is in repeating the concepts in different formats. Blended learning, lecture, workshop or practice, online, in-person, coaching, repeating…
At MEDDIC Academy, here’s how we operate deploy MEDDIC at your SKO, and it works:
1) Pre-event online courses
First step is to lecture the concepts. There is no benefit to taking the time of a session during the SKO to lecture since this part can perfectly be done online, in an asynchronous way, at the sellers’ pace, through elearning, within a week or two prior to the event. It would be a waste of time to do this during the expensive SKO. By taking the sales force into our MEDDIC Academy online platform of courses, they’ll be exposed to the concepts and will understand the MEDDIC message. Make sure you monitor the progress report and that everyone has taken all the online courses before the event. (we make progress report available to sales ops and leadership.)
2) Event training
During the in-person training sessions, we highlight key concepts found in the elearning materials and emphasize them with examples in an interactive session, making sure everyone is engaged. There is a bit of overlap with the eLearning materials but since the format is different, it makes the learning more efficient. Again, repeating in a different format is key to an efficient learning process.
3) Event workshop
We set up the workshop in a collaborative format and practice the concepts that we learned in the training sessions prior to the event, online, and then highlighted and emphasized just before the workshop. During the workshop, sellers are at work. They’ll reflect and work to define their specific actions during a sales campaign as well as the questions they’ll have to ask prospects in the most concise and articulate way. The workshop is guided through specific exercises. They’ll make mistakes. Lots of them – and they’ll learn by making mistakes. They’ll learn what not to do or not to say as they learn and practice what to say, or more precisely what to ask and how to apply MEDDIC on their accounts.
This is how they will be ready to go as of that Monday morning following the event, thanks to the practice but also thanks to the sharpness and practicality of the MEDDIC methodology.
4) Sales management training
First line (or front line) sales managers play a key role in the implementation of any sales methodology. We have a training which is focused on how to coach sellers within the MEDDIC framework. This training by itself can also be learned in a blended mode. First online and then re-emphasized during the SKO in a breakout session reserved to management.
5) Post-event Coaching
Tooled with the coaching techniques learned during the training, sales managers are well positioned to coach their teams during one-on-one deal reviews or their team meetings. After a few sales meetings, the MEDDIC reflexes become habits. Sellers know they have to become prepared for their sales meeting with all the MEDDIC-related questions about each account they have in their forecast, or else, the account can’t be in the forecast.
The full-scope program is the way to go.
Training professionals have found greater success in supporting the long term process of learning rather than focusing on a single training event. The SKO is still an important part of the learning process, but an extended blended approach significantly improves retention and application of the skills learned.
With an online platform like MEDDIC Academy, you have everything you need to deploy MEDDIC at your SKO and to support your sales reps year round. In preparation for your next SKO, enroll your sales team to the MEDDIC full bundle courses available at MEDDIC Academy. This collection of courses can get your team up to speed as self-paced training. It will enhance the learning as pre-SKO training. Your SKO event training can then focus on activities that provide an opportunity to practice what was learned, collaborate with peers, and learn more from the experts, the Workshop. You can complete the content with some of our extra courses to deliver micro-learning courses based on their feedback, new product releases, and business items that may need attention. Some of these mini courses include: Objection Handling, Social Selling with LinkedIn, and the ROI course.
The sales kick-off meeting is more than just a time to deliver another classroom training event. Take advantage of the SKO as an opportunity to anchor the long-term learning process and deploy MEDDIC at your SKO. Support it with pre-event training content, and enhance it with post-event management coaching. This approach allows you to apply spaced repetition as a successful learning strategy instead of overwhelming your sales rep with a one-time dump of heavy content.
You can’t learn for your reps and you can’t perform for them. But you can do better at setting them up for success using a full scope program they adopt and delivering training content in the right format, at the right time, the right way.
Does the above resonate with your plans? Do you want to deploy MEDDIC at your SKO? Ask for a quote to get us involved.