Get more ROI out of your sales kickoff

February 27, 2024
Craig Hanson

Craig Hanson

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Revenue Intelligence Sales Enablement Sales Leadership Sales Management

It’s easy to spot RevOps leaders at this time of year. 

You’re eating, sleeping, and breathing all things sales kickoff (SKO) alongside sales leaders, and fully embracing the intensity and excitement.

But after the event winds down, the work doesn’t. In fact, RevOps leaders stand out in the weeks after their SKO. That’s when you begin to see whether it was worth it to pull every seller off the floor for several days — a real gamble in this economy.

Why Gamble on an SKO?

Why indeed. Who can afford to cut their salespeople off from selling activities in this economy? No one. But that’s precisely what happens during a sales kickoff. It’s a huge investment that — when done right — generates incredible ROI, and that’s the main draw.

Ideally, a sales kickoff plays a crucial role in setting the tone for teams’ efforts in the coming year and equipping them with all that they need to be successful. That’s why so many companies pull their sales professionals off the floor annually to corral them into a classroom environment and away from revenue-generating activities — it’s all so the company can hit its key goals. 

Reps spend several days in themed presentations, workshops, and training sessions, learning about new products, services, and strategies for go-to-market (GTM) initiatives. They mingle with executives and hear keynotes from their sales and revenue leaders. They train on new sales techniques, engage in team-building activities, delve into the company’s vision, and participate in collaborative exercises that foster alignment across revenue teams. 

Despite budget constraints and a tough selling environment, sales kickoffs provide all this. Yet somehow, most companies fail to ask one critical question before their sales kickoff:

“How do we know if the new strategic initiatives we rolled out at SKO will actually get adopted?”

If leaders don’t know the answer to this question, their sales kickoff is doomed before it begins. 

Manage initiatives to get more ROI out of your SKO

This lack of measurement and management isn’t on purpose. It’s just an unfortunate truth that most companies don’t have a way to get the data and insights they need to track, iterate, and improve upon these initiatives on an ongoing basis.  

But if you ask revenue leaders, they know how important strategic initiatives are to their organization on an ongoing basis:

An HBR study shows that 85% of revenue leaders believe that GTM initiatives are critical to their business success. And yet, more than half of them (56%) don’t feel they have effective solutions to measure their initiatives’ performance. 

Without the right measurement and management solution, revenue leaders can’t control outcomes after sales kickoff because they can’t answer fundamental questions about how these initiatives perform:

  1. Which reps are/aren’t adopting the new initiative?
  2. How are customers responding to the new initiative?
  3. Does the new initiative improve outcomes?

If you want great ROI on your sales kickoff, you need to track and manage the changes the event initiates. It’s a key way to maintain control over your revenue outcomes throughout the year.

How exactly will you do that? With the #1-rated, unified revenue intelligence solution: Gong.

Track your initiative’s adoption and effectiveness with revenue intelligence

The best time to think about measurement and change management is before you roll out new initiatives at your SKO. Accountability begins immediately after the sales kickoff, so don’t wait to gain that critical visibility. If you didn’t do that planning before your SKO, you can still put accountability measures in place before it’s too late. Start weaving revenue intelligence into your teams’ workflows as soon as possible.

With Gong’s accurate, real-time data on tap, you’ll see how your reps and GTM initiatives perform, starting from the day you get back from the event. Gong’s AI deeply understands the full content and context of your rep’s communications with customers and prospects and can help you confidently determine whether your initiative is being adopted or abandoned as well as how well it’s landing.

Gong fills two key blindspots for RevOps teams:

1. Which teams and people are or are not adopting a new initiative — for instance, new sales messaging, best practices they were trained on, your sales methodology, etc.

2. How prospects and customers respond to your initiative. You need to know what’s landing and what’s not.

Capabilities like Smart Trackers, for example, can help. This feature is ideal for holding managers and reps accountable for implementing their sales kickoff training in their conversations and deals. Smart Trackers pick up not just keywords, but also phrases and longer statements you’re hoping to track in the hundreds of ways they could be described, and create alerts and tracking when reps use them. 

It quickly becomes clear who is — and isn’t — adopting your new initiative. Gong makes it easy to see what percentage of calls use the new messaging and ensures that managers provide coaching where it’s required and enablement knows where to reinforce. 

You can even go further, and use Gong to gauge how the new initiative is working with customers and prospects. Is it resonating with them? What objections and needs are they bringing up?

These insights can be built directly into your teams’ workflows, so they can take action quickly. You can sync Smart Trackers to your CRM or include them in “Deal” boards so everyone knows what’s happening in individual deals or across the entire pipeline. You can also easily see if your process, narratives, and best practices have occurred for a particular deal or throughout your entire team’s pipeline. Plus, Gong’s “Initiative” boards make it easy for RevOps, sales, and enablement leaders to reinforce good behaviors when they see success and identify risks early as part of their daily workflows. 

Without this level of visibility, it is nearly impossible to correlate your initiatives with critical business metrics. But with Gong’s data and insights, your team can make smart business decisions from the leadership level to the frontlines.

Never stop managing change…or your initiatives

Even the most successful initiatives morph alongside unpredictable factors — the market, tech innovations, and consumer demands, to name a few. If your initiatives are ongoing, your change management should be too. 

With Gong, you can create a change management “cycle of reinforcement” using a proven, three-pronged approach:

Hold people accountable

From sales leaders to enablement, keep everyone accountable in Gong’s Initiative boards. Make it a point to review relevant data in team meetings and problem-solve when adoption is low.

Champion winning behaviors

Set up “Stream” alerts (they’re like filters) for calls or call “Snippets” when reps use your new strategy successfully. Share those examples in team meetings, over chat, or in sales all-hands.

Share proof

Use win/loss analyses in Gong or your BI tools to demonstrate an initiative’s positive impact on your revenue organization. Show your leadership team that your initiative is performing as intended with hard numbers.

With Gong at the heart of your change management efforts, you can move from tracking business outcomes to improving them. By providing leading indicators of what’s working and what’s not, Gong enables a rapid iterative cycle of constant improvement. Otherwise, leaders are waiting for lagging indicators — when the sales come in at the end of the quarter, or don’t. When you have these leading indicators, you can iterate and make improvements during the month and quarter to actually get better results and make sure your key initiatives from SKO work. Plus, when you correlate adoption with a boost in revenue, there’s no denying the power of your initiative!

Create lasting change

A behavioral change requires reinforcement — proof points, accountability measures, and hard metrics. Gong gives you the data you need to drive accountability and success in your initiatives, and therefore across your organization.

Reps get the insights and direction they need to succeed, and managers know where to focus their coaching efforts. RevOps leaders can also manage strategic initiatives more easily and directly impact growth. 

Gong is a new, innovative way to drive post-SKO ROI. Helping you track and refine your strategic initiatives throughout the year to ensure their success, Gong is the change management linchpin you need after your sales kickoff and beyond.