A MEDDIC Sales kickoff should be inspirational, short and valuable. I’m sure everyone agrees with that. But what is an inspirational event? For example, you might be wondering, “should we invest in a top-notch motivational speaker?” Or “should we take them to the luxury resort of their dreams?”
Time is your sales force’s most valuable asset. Here are the metrics for a quota-carrying salesperson: if they generate $2M in average per year, and they take a maximum of three weeks off during the year, then a two-days SKO in January means a loss of production worth, about $20k. That’s a minimum of $2M indirect cost for a sales force with 100 quota-carrying AEs. The cost is even more if the agenda is not the best and if the event leads to subsequent loss of time (sadly it sometimes does). This is by far your biggest expense in the SKO, much more than the cost of travel (if in-person), the venue expenses or fees paid to external speakers, etc.
Given that time is your team’s most important investment, you should take your attendees somewhere they have not been before, figuratively for sure, but also literally if you can afford it and if it’s compatible with your corporate culture. In other words, make sure you take them somewhere that’s worth their time. What they learn during the SKO should be worth at least $20k per attendee!
The HOW is valuable, the WHAT or the WHY are not.
Some SKO organizers will try to create an inspirational event by spending a lot of money for a motivational speaker. Tony Robbins is amazing, isn’t he? Have you ever attended any of his events or watched his videos? They’re quite inspiring, aren’t they? How about Simon Sinek? Another great speaker, right?
In their own right, these speakers are great, but for a MEDDIC Sales Kickoff, I believe that bringing in motivational speakers is not a good idea. Here’s why. Motivational speakers talk about things your teams already know. They talk about the what, or the concepts. They relay the goals, the success or the achievements. They make your teams visualize the dream. But your teams already know all that. They also talk about the why behind the concepts of success. Why do we want to be better at what we do? Why is success pleasant, etc… But while they may appear to make us feel inspired and motivated, the feelings these speakers give us don’t last. When we listen to motivational speakers, we project ourselves into dreams, goals and achievements. We might feel uplifted or inspired for some time after listening to them, maybe for hours or even days.
But short of that, they don’t actually teach us anything tangible that we can put into practice and how are we going to close that deal. We may feel great listening to them, but most of us won’t take away anything of value that we can actually apply to our own success. Even the feelings of inspiration that they leave us with is fleeting. In today’s world, where our attention spans are dramatically decreasing and there’s a plethora of ways for our thinking to be interrupted, few people, if any, will actually remember the words of a motivational speaker, learn anything of value that can be implemented personally or professionally, or even feel inspired for long.
What your sales force needs instead is learning something practical to get inspired, which brings us to the importance of the how. The how doesn’t come from the outside. Rather, it comes from inside, from within the organization itself. And this is not something a motivational speaker, that is, an outsider, can bring to an organization. The only way an outsider can aid you, the sales leader, is by extracting it from your organization, then helping you to put it on stage and magnify it, so that everyone can see it and get inspired by the actual vision. The individual experiences are already in your organization, but not leveraged, nor shared. The SKO becomes the perfect event through which you can bring these individual experiences to the surface. That’s when you can almost hear your sales force having an “aha” moment.
So how do we leverage those valuable unshared individual experiences to the surface? What should be in your agenda that’s worth their time?
Peers success stories: Account Execs
Reward and recognition of successful colleagues with exceptional achievements. Quota-carrying sellers, mostly, but also other team members.
Call them, let them speak briefly, explain the key reasons you are recognizing their achievement.
Make sure what you are doing is fair: If you are rewarding the lucky AE who everyone in the organization knows they closed that deal accidentally or because they were very lucky, and that in fact the SDR, the SE or the CSM deserve more rewards than the AE, then you’ll get the opposite effect.
Success stories in your MEDDIC Sales Kickoff
Have the AE and their managers prepare a sales success story. Analyze and leverage the reasons behind a recent win, then map it to MEDDPICC. When we run collective coaching sessions with our clients at MEDDIC Academy, together with the sales leadership, we analyze and review a won opportunity (just as a lost or an ongoing one), through the elements of MEDDPICC. We take it through our tools and draw the radar chart. If we come up with a big, fat round radar chart, then it means we’ve left no room for luck. Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK to get lucky in a deal but the story is not fit for reward or recognition because that’s precisely what we want to avoid: leaving the destiny of your sales team’s achievements to luck. You need to reward and recognize your sales force for their actual achievements and show the rest of your organization the power of your sales methodology and the sales process.
Customers Implementation success stories with METRICS
Those of you who have participated in MEDDIC Academy’s workshops know how we collect customer METRICS and how they help each AE to tell METRICS stories from customers of any size, in any industry and in any geography. SKOs can therefore be the ideal time and place for AEs to update the sales force about new success stories. Have the AE in charge of that particular successful account prepare a 3-minutes pitch and the METRICS statement (3 lines max) and invite them to present the pitch to the team. If you look at it from that perspective, a 30-minutes session with 10 stories from 10 different AEs could be one of the most valuable and inspiring moments of your SKO.
New Customers success stories with CHAMPIONS
Invite two or three champions (customers) with recent wins to present their stories for 20 minutes through video conference with the audience. This works regardless of your own format, both in a virtual SKO and in an in-person SKO. Here are some bullet points of what they can include in their 20-minute presentation:
- What are the top 3 differentiators they saw in your solution vs the competition that made them ultimately contract with you?
- What motivated them personally to work with the AE and get this deal done? What benefits/metrics is their company seeing thanks to their role in bringing us in?
- How did the AE initiate the personal relationship? How often did they interact with their AE? Through which media did they connect? At what time of the day/week did they connect/communicate? What did they like about their AE? What could have been done better to improve future connections or communications?
This part of the MEDDIC Sales Kickoff helps the team to build champions and assess the decision criteria. Know how your company compares to and how it’s different from the competition through feedback from customers, not just through what the marketing department thinks. Customer feedback is key. in champion-building and assessing the decision criteria (know your real differentiators through customers, not just what marketing thinks).
Promote publicly after presenting results
Share the results of the AE or the first- line manager you have decided to promote. Without naming their colleagues, make sure the results include comparison. For instance, for an AE have them prepare at least 4 quarters of ranking or comparative results. Interview them publicly for a few minutes by asking questions such as:
- What do you think is the reason for your success?
- How did you overcome challenge X (the one everyone struggles with?)
- What would you have done differently for a faster ramp-up 2 years ago with the experience you have today?
Promoting publicly has a lot of benefits:
- It helps empower them in the new role;
- It legitimizes their management position;
- It shows the ladder to others and conveys the message of what they need to do to get promoted.
Outside Speaker: Who to invite to your MEDDIC Sales Kickoff
Start by identifying the sales team’s challenges:
- What is the reason behind slipping deals?
- How could they chase bigger deals?
- Why do they miss their goals and even their own forecasts?
- What are the key elements in your sales process, your messaging or your sales methodology that they struggle with the most?
- Find the problems, whether a person or a process, then look around to see who, inside or outside the organization, has enough EXPERIENCE to help them with HOW to overcome that challenge.
Once the challenges are identified, then bring experts to talk to them and share their experiences so that your team members can see HOW the problem can be resolved.
Again, the inspiration of your MEDDIC Sales Kickoff lies in the HOW, not in the WHAT or the WHY. They already have enough of the WHAT to do and the WHY to do so. They need to learn HOW TO DO IT!
Let us know if we can assist you with your upcoming SKO.