Your 2014 Sales Kickoff: Three Ways to Leverage Your Investment

by BayGroup International on December 6, 2013

123It’s almost January…and time for the annual sales kick off meeting.  You are about to spend a lot of money, and valuable sales team time, at the event.  Will your company make the most of its (substantial) investment?

As Dave Stein at ES Research points out in an informative blog post, sales executives often hire motivational speakers and sales training “gurus” to present at their meetings.  And they are often disappointed by the lack of bottom-line business impact they see as a result.

Over the years we have participated in…and delivered…many annual sales kick off sessions.   Like our clients, we have concluded that one-shot sales training at large meetings rarely leads to behavioral change and measurable results.

If the half-life of motivational content is short, what’s a better approach to leveraging the valuable time of your sales team at a large kick off meeting?  Here are three approaches that can maximize the return on your investment:

  1. Kick off a new sales training initiative with a bang, and connect it to a common strategic theme that is being communicated at the meeting.  For example, take the opportunity to launch a new go-to-market strategy, and a corresponding sales training initiative that helps the team execute it successfully.
  2. Reinforce content and tools from current sales training, and drive specific application of previously delivered content to challenges being addressed at the meeting. For example, if you are launching a new product or price change at your meeting, consider implementing a session that focuses on “how to” applications of previous sales execution or negotiation training content to those initiatives.
  3. Provide insights that can resonate forward through the meeting.  Look for practical, actionable content that can be delivered with high impact early in the meeting…and also add richness and insight to subsequent meeting sessions on corporate sales strategy, marketing initiatives, and key account planning.

The bottom line: get the most from your investment in your annual sales kickoff.  Go beyond motivational speakers and one-shot trainers, and instead look for creative ways to connect the dots for your team:  help them take the “what we will be doing this year” message from management and ensure its success by giving them a “how we will do it” experience that leverages sales training investments already made or planned.

For more information on BayGroup International’s proven approach to sales kick-off content, check out our Shooting Star™ large-group capability here.

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    Why your salespeople don’t hit quota

    by BayGroup International on November 26, 2013

    S&MM-Article-8-minutes-of-executionDo you know the number one reason your salespeople don’t hit quota? According to analyst firm SiriusDecisions, it’s because they don’t know how to articulate value. This means making your number literally comes down to salespeople with their lips moving and the ability to tell a story so powerful that it causes a prospect to give up their status quo, move past no decision and choose you over a competitor—all while paying a premium.

    Let that sink in. The entire success or failure of all your company’s strategies, decisions and investments come down to the moment when a salesperson opens their mouth to speak.

    Click here to read an article in Sales and Marketing Management Magazine on how to prepare your salespeople for those critical prospect and customer conversations.

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      EndOfQuarterDiscountWe’re about to enter the final month of the selling year, the time when most annual contracts are up for renewal, and when pricing and discount pressure from buyers is at its peak.

      Is your team ready?

      Year-end discounting is expensive.  According to McKinsey & Company, for the typical large company a 1% increase in discounts turns into an 8% or more decrease in operating margins.

      And then there’s the longer-term corrosive impact of excessive year-end discounting on customer relationships and future business results:

      • You train your customers to behave badly. They conclude: “Extra discount pressure works. I’m going to use this approach every time we do a year-end renewal.”
      • Your sales team’s credibility drops. Your buyers conclude: “Their pricing was inflated all along.”
      • Your solutions become commoditized. Your customers conclude: “We were right. It was really just about the price.”
      • You suffer from compound discounting. In other words, the discount you give this year creates the base line off which all subsequent discounts are applied. The deeper your discounts this year, the less revenue you receive in every subsequent contract renewal cycle.

      So what can you do to get your team to discount less at year end? Here are three ideas:

      1. Send a message about your negotiation resolve by focusing on negotiating interim agreements with your buyers, especially Pivotal Agreements that affect the direction of your pricing, before you get into final contract renewal and pricing negotiations. To learn more, watch this video:
      2. Plan your negotiation strategy by considering the hidden pressures on buyers that can give you more power in negotiations with purchasing managers. To learn more, watch this video:
      3. Coach your team to embrace and manage the tension of negotiation rather than flee it. To learn more, watch this video:

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        Corporate Visions acquires Executive Conversation!

        by BayGroup International on November 19, 2013

        EC logoCorporate Visions, the leading marketing and sales messaging, tools and training company, is thrilled to announce that it’s acquired Executive Conversation, the experts in helping you build business and financial skills for credibly engaging and selling to senior executives.

        Every sales cycle will require your salespeople to face two critical questions: why should your prospects change what they’re currently doing, and why now? To answer those questions, your customer conversations must be compelling enough, and credible enough, to inspire and inform a decision. To message for that decision, sellers need the skills to appeal to the two parts of the brain used in any purchasing decision – the “Old Brain” and the “New Brain.”

        To learn more about the acquisition and how the two companies will work together, read more here.

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