Rachel Likens: Level Up Your Virtual SKO with Captivating Tech and Personalized Breakouts

Posted on Nov 11, 2020

About Rachel

Rachel Likens is Sales Strategy & Enablement Manager at Zscaler.

Rachel is a forward-thinking Sales Enablement leader who both understands and accepts that a remote sales kick-off event in 2021 presents new challenges in how we engage and capture the attention and imagination of our sales teams. She shares her expertise and insights with us, starting with the realization that preparing attendees' mindsets starts before the event even starts (in the weeks that lead up to it). She then walks us through her use of technology, personalization, and virtual booths to create an immersive experience that can be rolled forward into 2021.

Aside from being a great sales strategy and enablement leader Rachel also has a heart for those people and communities that are under-resourced. Her time in West Africa had a shaping influence on her worldview.

The Hidden Challenges of Virtual Sales Kickoffs

  • Avoiding video call fatigue and dealing with the low morale and feelings of isolation.
  • Creating a pleasant experience for those who are not looking forward to a virtual SKO. 
  • Reenergizing the sales force and reminding them why they should be so proud to work for the company that they're with, as well as helping them see the opportunity that they have as an individual and as a team.
  • New employees who feel disconnected from those who have shared experiences together.

Preparing for a Virtual SKO

  • Using learning management systems to develop instructional courses for sales team members. Sales team members can familiarize themselves with instructional foundation content before the SKO.
  • Create recordings of sales and customer success leadership to be delivered to market field reps before the week of kickoff. This helps establish a mindset of not being alone and being part of a broader ecosystem.
  • Select experiences and opportunities for participants to connect and network. Philanthropy projects are a great way for team members to network while also giving back.

Virtual SKO Framework

  • In addition to the main stage content that everyone will see, there are more collaborative and discussion-based breakout sessions and workshops
  • A “Choose your Own Adventure” style experience throughout the week of kickoff. This consists of multiple virtual booths each dedicated to certain content topics, like new products or new pricing strategy. These virtual booths were put together by the learning and experience design team and a subject matter expert.
  • Give people exposure to content and allow them to then have a more personalized experience, with enablement to seek out the topic help they need rather than a blanket approach. 

Shifting Expectations

  • Stakeholders may not be accepting of new experiences or content, but would rather have the same SKO as the year before only online.
  • Content and resources can be reused for other purposes. For example, pre-recorded messages from leadership can now be used in onboarding videos.
  • Have conversations with various stakeholders in other departments throughout the organization who are traditionally quite involved with a sales kickoff. Determine what their role will be in the learning journey.

Ways to Measure the Success of an SKO

  • Success by engagement. While engagement is hard to measure, a built-in leaderboard can help. As part of the virtual environment, it helps track key activities and behaviors, like the completion of e-learning courses or visiting certain booths.
  • Success by confidence scoring. Asking sales reps how confident they feel in their ability to execute on a particular part of a process now that it’s been covered in the kickoff. 
  • Success by net promoter score (NPS).

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About the podcast

The RevAmp podcast derives from two words: Revenue + Amplification. This series has been produced specifically to give a voice to the sales and revenue operations professionals who have invaluable experiences to share. We have seen the scope for this role, as well as the recognition, expectations, and tools have rapidly changed over the last couple of years. The reality is that there are not enough high-quality resources for fellow professionals to use as a benchmark or learning curve. DealHub knows how important it is to be well resourced so we have put together this RevAmp podcast for your benefit.

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Topics: Sales Kick-off 2021