How to Host Your Sales Kickoff Using Zoom Events
Sales kickoffs (SKO) are an exciting time to rally your revenue organization around the latest company strategies, initiatives, and best practices. But as the world shifts to favor more hybrid and virtual events, you may wonder if it’s possible to host a successful and engaging sales kickoff, remotely.
The answer is yes! In fact, our most recent SKO was a hybrid affair held on our all-in-one, virtual events management solution, Zoom Events. Bringing 3,000 Zoomies “together” from our global revenue org was no easy feat, but after two full days, 11 watch parties, and three separate tracks of learning sessions, our 2022 Growth Summit blurred the lines between audiences to become one of our favorite hybrid events to date.
So, how did we do it? Check out our recommendations below with some tips from our own sales kickoff to help you create a memorable remote experience that will generate greater connections with your revenue team.
What are the benefits of a virtual sales kickoff?
Hosting a virtual SKO might sound complicated but it’s more beneficial than you may think. Not only can you still reach your business objectives, but with Zoom Events, you can design an educational and engaging event for your sales team with these benefits:
- Cost savings: Reduce travel, venue, and lodging costs when attendees watch remotely or as a group from the office. All you need is a Zoom Events license.
- Sustained productivity: Without traveling, sales reps can take calls or schedule meetings between sessions with minimal disruption to their schedule.
- Engaging opportunities: Through the use of Zoom Events, Breakout Rooms, Networking tools, enhanced chat features, in-meeting automated caption translations, and thoughtful agendas and sessions, teams can engage with each other in ways they may not in person.
- Post-event analytics: Learn who attended each session, which sessions were most popular, and the level of engagement from your sales team.
With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why virtual and hybrid events are here to stay and have become a permanent part of event marketing strategies. But they don’t just happen overnight. In fact, Zoom’s sales kickoff reflected the work of 150 team members and months of planning. But don’t let that overwhelm you. With a phased approach, you can successfully plan, launch, and measure a virtual SKO regardless of your team’s size.
Create a pre-event plan
At Zoom, our workstyles are employee-led to give us the freedom to choose where and how we work best. We used this same approach when planning the Growth Summit and let employees decide how to attend the event. To accommodate multiple audiences, we developed a proactive plan that would ensure we had the right technology, compelling content, an engaging agenda, and high-energy speakers who were comfortable presenting to a virtual audience.
Pro tip: Check out our ultimate guide for event hosts and virtual presenters for more hosting and presenting tips.
As you enter the planning phase, envision your ideal event with these questions in mind:
- Will it be hybrid or virtual?
- What KPIs or goals do you need to meet?
- How do you intend for audiences to interact with one another or the speakers?
You may be tempted to livestream your content to a virtual audience or send them a replay, but successful virtual and hybrid experiences require the same forethought as in-person events to be truly engaging. Here are some things to consider:
- Decide on a clearly defined theme to serve as an anchor point for content, messaging, and activities.
- Launch a pre-event survey or poll to attendees to learn what they hope to get out of the kickoff.
- For global teams, design an agenda for audiences around the world, with region-specific session content and replays of important sessions like keynotes in different time zones.
- Think about your event assets (agenda, session content, and visual elements). Choose a virtual event management solution that will support these foundational planning activities by making it easy to design, create, and customize event details.
Pro tip: Zoom Events allows you to host multi-day, multi-session events with the video experience your employees already know. Organize event sessions in branded hubs so your salespeople can easily find and join sessions that align with their interests and goals.
During the event: interaction and engagement
Once your SKO is underway, keep engagement high by providing plenty of opportunities for attendees to interact. Here are some ideas:
- Play into the competitive nature of your sales teams with a friendly game.
- Set up happy hour sessions for networking and connection.
- Host on-site watch parties.
- Provide different options for developing product knowledge and skill sets so your salespeople can leave with something they didn’t have before.
- Involve your customers in your sessions to give sales teams insight into what their prospects think and feel about them.
Not only did we host 11 watch parties in cities around the globe, but we also gave our Growth Summit an additional layer of competitive fun (thanks to our incredible Zoom Events specialists), with a Shark Tank-inspired game show that allowed team members to pitch their sales ideas to the Zoom “sharks.” Complete with 3D model designs akin to Zoom’s immersive backgrounds, the innovative episode was filmed in a green screen studio and broadcast live during a breakout session. Employees not competing with one another stayed actively engaged by following along with Zoom Team Chat conversations broadcast directly into the real-time content feed.
(Check out our behind-the-scenes video to see how we created the Shark Tank session)
While it was certainly exciting, you don’t have to host a Shark Tank to have an engaging experience. More than anything, attendees crave interaction, so if your in-person team members can ask live questions or chat with one another, give your virtual viewers the same opportunity.
Zoom Events offers an Events Lobby space for attendees to connect and network, while each session also has a chat component for conversation and engagement. Hosts and other designated people can monitor the chat and answer questions from your sales team.
Post-event: reinforcement and feedback
According to G2, up to 84% of sales training is forgotten in the first three months. If you want your sales kickoff to have a lasting impact, you need to have a solid reinforcement plan:
- Host recorded sessions on Zoom Events for salespeople to revisit.
- Recommend the most insightful sessions as “required watching” so employees can learn from past events.
- Collect feedback and event data to determine ROI and improve the experience the next year.
Zoom Events virtual event software makes it easy to collect data through our comprehensive reporting capabilities. You can track event analytics such as registrations and attendance as well as compare data from individual sessions. Set up post-event surveys, broken down by region, tenure, segment, and other levels to identify areas of improvement when planning your next event.
Transform your virtual sales kickoff
Virtual SKOs don’t have to be a headache. In fact, they can be fun! If you’re looking to host a full-scale, multi-day hybrid experience or a smaller revenue team event, we can help. Zoom’s Event Services team can provide a stress-free event complete with consultants to lend day-of technical and production support.
Transform your next virtual sales kickoff with Zoom Events virtual conference solution.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on November 4, 2021, and updated on September 8, 2022, to reflect details from our most recent SKO event.