Can you imagine if those free seminars for timeshares and real estate investing were only available online? Those companies probably wouldn’t be in business.
Those business models, which have a poor reputation, still sell to people like you and me every day. People sitting in those conference rooms telling themselves, “ah crap, I thought I won a free steak” still walk out with a receipt of purchase.
Why are those companies so successful?
Well, it is the culmination of effective event planning, compelling content, a central theme, and motivation. For most people, those elements are hard to measure.
Obviously, we know they’re effective. We know the result and production of great events – We’ve felt it. However, the exact value of sales events, such as a sales kickoff, summit, or sales meeting, still eludes most companies.
How much do you invest in this year’s annual sales kickoff? Do you host quarterly or bi-annual summits? What about regional sales meetings?
Sales events have the power to completely transform your company culture. A high-energy, highly engaging sales event can absolutely alter the perspective your sales staff has of your product/service, leadership, and company trajectory.
We’re going to provide real statistics that will help you assign value to your next sales event.
The Impact of a Sales Event
On the surface, most businesses host a sales kickoff not knowing the potential impact they have. If you were to ask leadership why they are hosting an SKO, you would probably only hear:
- Improve collaboration
- Provide sales training/information
- Motivate sales staff
In our opinion, this is doing a major disservice to one of your most important events of the year!
If only most companies knew the potential ROI of their large internal events, companies could raise the bar on their competition.
Perception of Your Business
The annual sales kickoff is one of the most important elements for any sales rep to either join or stay at a company. Aspects like destination, venue, entertainment, activities, content, and more than tell an employee how exciting your company is, and where it is going.
Compensation packages, product capabilities, leads, these are all important to any sales rep, but they are now considered ‘expected’ for sales reps in most verticals.
What is going to convince your top performers to stick around, and then attract new talent to your company over the competition?
In most industries, everyone has usually heard of that 1 company in their vertical that goes above and beyond to host an incredible SKO or similar conference. Everyone wants to be at the company with the best sales events.
Almost, 75% of sales kickoff attendees say their company’s SKO doesn’t merit an “A” grade, while 29% rate it a “C” or below.
A well-executed conference makes competitors envious, and the employees you already have want to stay. For an SKO, it’s a key way to attract top-tier sales staff that will increase your production.
Training Your Sales Force
Salespeople want to be enabled to sell. That means industry training, sales methodology, product updates, and more. According to talent management platform Clear Company, training and development is the number one ROI that companies can achieve.
Did you know that more than 50% of all companies have implemented a new sales methodology in the last year?
If companies aren’t arming their employees with the knowledge and skills they need to sell your products or services they’ll under perform, and then eventually leave.
In fact, companies with sales programs that need “major redesign” saw voluntary turnover rates increase from 7.9% to 14.2%.
That’s almost double the attrition rate. The question you should ask leadership is how much does it cost to lose an average salesperson and hire someone new?
And while companies will undoubtedly ask themselves if they can achieve the same results without a full-fledged sales kickoff, you can’t. Maximum engagement and retention come from person to person interaction.
Building Loyalty, Collaboration, and Energy
As just mentioned, those intangible qualities such as loyalty, collaboration, and energy don’t get built via conference calls and Zoom meetings. They are developed through in-person interaction – Through networking, training, team-building activities, and sharing a dinner table together.
If you want to build a sales team that you can rely on, capitalize on the opportunities that internal events like a sales kickoff provides.
While you won’t find exact metrics for these intangible qualities, we can compare it to similar areas.
In fact, it is fair to say that aspects you can achieve from a fantastic SKO, such as competitiveness, motivation, recognition, and teamwork are perhaps comparable to the effects of hosting an incentive travel program, arguably even better – Which boasts a production increase of 20-40%.
ROI of A Sales Event
Like most well-executed events, a sales kickoff is an investment and not a light one.
The average cost of a sales kickoff is between $1,000 and $2,000 per employee. A trivial cost when you consider the upside of a well-executed SKO, versus not having an event altogether.
If you only look at sales training, it carries a $4.53 in return for every dollar invested, an ROI of 353%. That’s massive. Combine this with the benefits of lower attrition (7.9% vs 14.2%) and increased production (20-40%, compared to the power of incentives), and your next sales kickoff, sales summit, or sales meeting can prove to have an incredible ROI.
What goes into a well-executed event? It means tying in your destination, venue, powerful theme, leadership content, entertainment, product managers, decor, menu, activities, and much more.
Sales Kickoffs are a fantastic way to provide sales training, showcase your leadership, and build excitement.
Consider the event a statement for your revenue generators that your company is doing well, and excited at where it’s going. They can have an enormous influence on your sales team and production.
The key is to create an environment that optimizes engagement for your sales staff, which is much easier said than done.
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Jeremy Sweat is the Sales and Marketing Director at J.Shay Event Solutions. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling with his wife, scuba diving, and triathlon training.