Sales Kick Offs in a Post-Pandemic World

Sales Kick Offs in a Post-Pandemic World

Every year, January and February is the time when companies organize Sales Kick Off (SKO) events. The name of such event may varies but the idea is always the same. Bring together people from different regions and different functions and deliver key messages of the year to them. Typically, it is 2-3 days packed with PowerPoints during a day and socializing during a night.

Two years of limited travels and COVID pandemic forced to make those events fully virtual. And it does look like that many companies are going to continue with hybrid format for SKOs. First of all, when you saved all this travel budget during the last couple of years, it is very uncomfortable to start spending the money again.

So, how can we make SKOs in a post-pandemic world more efficient? Below are my some ideas and examples from successful and that much events.

Pre-recording of keynote sessions

Keynote sessions are designed in a way where information flows only in one direction. Hence, the key messages for the year may not be live streamed. They can be pre-recorded and then streamed in different timezones. Ideally, every keynote session should come with a transcript distributed to an audience before or after the session.

Watching parties

If some sessions should be live streamed it makes sense to organize watching parties with pizzas and drink. Especially, it works well for EMEA region people for whom US-West or US-East based events are outside of business hours. It is also simply more fun.

Top priorities 30 seconds pitches

Every team or organization has 30 seconds to present their top priorities for the year. In my experience, this does not work well. It is difficult to maintain timing and people will not be able to remember anything anyway. Online collaboration board, like Miro, where everybody can add their pitches would work better.

TED Talk-sized demos and presentations

For a fully virtual event, reduce demo and presentations length to 15-20 minutes maximum. Increase number of demos and presentations instead. Limited attention span is real. So, if you want the audience not only just listen through but actually pay attention, then SKO sessions should be short. Another advantage is that there is a higher probability that people will watch a short content after it is published.


Let the audience acquire virtual coins for an every video they watched or a quiz they passed. Make companies swag purchasable for these SKO virtual coins. Any element of a game will make a virtual event easier to consume and help people to keep concentrated.

Capstone project for regional teams

Create an assignment that every regional team of sales reps should deliver in the end of SKO. For example, produce an essay about how they understood the strategy or how they are going to implement new ways of working introduce during the Sales Kick Off. If you need to produce some output, then you will pay more attention.

So, these are my thoughts what can be improved for virtual SKOs. Post in the comment section your ideas!

Nudge: The Final Edition

Nudge: The Final Edition by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

Humans decision making process was always fascinating me. Why do we choose what we choose? How much rationality and how much emotions are involved in this process? Behavioral economics is a science that tries to answer on these questions and Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in Economics Science for his research in this area.

The authors of “Nudge” have taken the next step and tried to apply the same scientific findings to build more efficient decision making mechanisms. They called it “choice architecture”.

Humans are extremely biased and are not following the most rational behavior as economic theories suggest. I.e. in many circumstances our immediate choices are not aligned with our own long term goals. Hence, people have to be “nudged” into a proper direction.

This create an ethical dilemma – how much of a “nudge” should be allowed and/or built into “choice architecture” not to be considered as exploitation? The authors introduce methodology they call “paternalistic libertarianism”. In short, it means to build decision making mechanism in a such way to protect freedom of choice. But help people to make the most efficient decision at the same time.

The book provides a number of examples from different areas of our modern society – pension system, organ donation, money savings and etc. The authors analyze biases that may impact humans behavior and propose recommendations for “choice architects” how to improve the system.

The most interesting example from my perspective is the analysis of Swedish pension system and how people behavior has changed over the last 20 years after original pension reform. The story proves one more time that “nudge” is required. Otherwise, people just fail to take an action on time.

Overall, the book provides good overview of how to incorporate nudges and shares interesting examples of actual implementations. But, many things in the book are outdated and too well known today. My recommendation is to read Thinking Fast and Slow instead.

Check out my other book reviews!