Sr. Manager, Sales Enablement

Planning a Successful Virtual Sales Kickoff

Planning a Successful Virtual Sales Kickoff

Annual sales kickoffs (SKOs) are a fantastic way to boost morale, build a sense of community and culture, celebrate big wins, and get everyone fired up to crush their goals in the year ahead. With the COVID-19 pandemic limiting travel and large gatherings, a number of companies — including Zoom — have had to adjust how they host in-person training and team-building events.

Our annual SKO, called Growth Summit, went virtual for the first time in August, bringing together more than 2,000 Zoomies around the world for two days of connection, education, and inspiration. We’re here to share what we learned from planning and producing our first virtual SKO.

Be frank with your teams

The pandemic has caused an enormous amount of uncertainty for businesses and economies worldwide. Employees may be feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and unsure about the future. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge those emotions and be open about the challenges we all face. 

Our executive keynote wove in messages around connection and optimism for the future. The leadership team also thanked employees for their dedication and hard work through this historic time, setting a positive tone for the experience ahead.

Offer a customized experience

Our Growth Summit featured sessions that were designed for specific roles, allowing content to be tailored and customized for different attendees. This helped create more engagement, and each employee left their sessions with valuable information specific to their role.

Because there was no logical way to get employees across the world to attend one agenda that worked, we held three events over three days. It was a lot of work, but it was absolutely worth it to provide an engaging experience for our international employees who might otherwise feel left out or have to attend sessions in the late evening or early morning hours.

Here are just a few ways we tailored the experience for our international Zoomies:

  • Sessions for our APAC teams had live Japanese translation and English transcription 
  • Several sessions were delivered fully in Japanese with English translators
  • We included local customers in our regional agendas so employees in EMEA, APAC, and North America could hear success stories that were relevant to their region

Left: Manager-specific forecasting session           Right: Channel-specific session

Gamify for engagement

We hosted Growth Summit on an online platform that allowed us to gamify session engagement by encouraging employees to earn points through page clicks, length of time on a page, and answering questions about sessions. Our event leaderboard drove competition and engagement throughout all three regions. 

While we couldn’t guarantee 100% engagement, we could tell who was completely checked out of the event — and a friendly note to their manager helped them get right back on track. 

Point system to encourage attendee engagement and attendance. 

Don’t forget the fun stuff!

With virtual events, it’s important to ensure your agenda is filled with a mix of valuable sessions and fun activities. Provide ample breaks for employees to stretch and grab a bite in between.

Unlike in-person events that may go all day, consider creating a more compact schedule that allows attendees a few hours of freedom before and after the event to handle customer calls and emails, or unwind and get ready for the next day.  

Zoom Revenue Leadership team + our special guest judge on Zoom’s Got Talent

Lastly, make it fun! Use humor, guest speakers, virtual backgrounds, competitions, and Zoom Team Chat live in sessions to create a meaningful, engaging, and successful virtual sales kickoff your attendees will remember.

Want more? Zoomtopia 2020, our virtual user conference on Oct. 14 and 15, has a Virtual Events content track with sessions like “Best Practices for Running Sales Kick-Offs Over Zoom.” Register for free today and get additional tips and tricks to deliver your next SKO experience online.

For more on how to throw an engaging virtual SKO, check out our ebook.

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