Know how: Action plan for the new year, from sales to customer kickoff
By Ashley Welch and Justin Jones
It’s getting to be that time of year again, when sales and sales enablement leaders are planning their annual sales kickoff meetings. In addition to the basic logistics of selecting a destination, blocking rooms and finding meeting space, there’s an unspoken pressure to top last year’s meeting. How can we make it bigger and better?
1. Strategic account planning
When we think of strategic accounts, we tend to think of our top accounts, the customers who buy the most from us. At a kickoff meeting, time is often allotted to reviewing what additional products and services can be sold to increase revenue and further solidify the partnership.
This is important work, but can quickly become insular. The reframe? Rethink about who you consider to be your strategic accounts in terms of “extremes and mainstreams.” Your mainstream customers could be those larger accounts who buy and enjoy a significant amount of your products and services. Extreme customers would be those who are doing the most interesting things with your products and services? Invite them to join in a customer panel and ask them to talk about their strategic accounts.
2. Invite customers to recognize your top performers
Sales people work hard – and your best sales people can become easily isolated in the field. For these and many other reasons, it’s so important to recognize your top performers in front of their peers. Consider inviting your top performers’ customers to speak about them – even give them an award.
3. Spur innovation with analogous situations
We often hear from our clients that they desire to inspire. Customers want to work with motivated sales professionals who can help them think “outside the box.” This is where analogs come in. To come up with a great analog, reflect for a moment on a specific issue your business is trying to overcome. Then, consider completely different contexts where people have figured out a way to solve that very same problem.
Ashley Welch and Justin Jones co-founded Somersault Innovation, a Design Thinking consulting firm for sales development. They are the authors of “Naked Sales: How Design Thinking Reveals Customer Motives and Drives Revenue.”