By Nicole Olsen
Sales kick off meetings, or SKOs, play an enormous role in many organizations delivering their strategies for the coming year. An SKO will generate enthusiasm, acknowledge employee contributions for the previous year, and provide employees with the tools and knowledge necessary to hit future organizational goals.
And while SKOs have long been associated with parties and celebrations (think Vegas and celebrity speakers), as the pandemic lingers on, it’s safe to say that many organizations won’t be fully returning to large indoor crowded meetings any time soon.
However, just because virtual meetings are now commonplace, this doesn’t mean you can’t still host the best ever SKO. The key to delivering a successful virtual SKO: a robust, engaging, and interactive video platform. Here are some tips on how to optimize your 2022 virtual SKO:
Keep it live
Your SKO is your opportunity to set the tone for the coming year. And while there are many events that lend themselves well to on-demand access only, SKOs aren’t one of them. Your SKO should generate enthusiasm and promote discussion in real-time even if employees are scattered around the world. A sophisticated video platform will deliver an SKO that engages in HD-quality with the audience via chat, polling, and other interactive tools, regardless of their device.
Simulate real in-person events
Great in-person sales kick off’s include ways for the audience to interact and chat with each other. Today’s technology, like the one provided by 6Connex, provides the ideal virtual event framework, offering immersive lobby, auditorium, areas for breakout sessions, registration and matchmaking, gamification, and many other features that encourage audience engagement.
Traditional in-person meetings often featured fancy dinners and luxurious parties. While those same experiences may be challenging to replicate, many organizations are getting extraordinarily creative in what they can offer. For example, you could host a live cooking session, entertain attendees with a comedian, or play a recorded message from a celebrity on Cameo.
Don’t neglect the desired outcomes
Lavish in-person SKOs were great, but were they truly delivering on their intended outcomes? Let’s be honest, by the last day most employees were checked out, unengaged, and possibly hungover. Not the most conducive environment for learning.
When planning your virtual SKO, think about the outcomes you would like to see from the meeting. This could include increased employee knowledge, generated enthusiasm, and an overall feeling of connectedness to the organization. Once you have identified these outcomes, you can poll attendees at the conclusion of the event to understand if you achieved these outcomes.
Make use of data
Unlike in-person events, a virtual format allows for a tremendous amount of data collection. This data allows you to track audience engagement and sentiment, monitor viewers’ quality of experience, and provide actionable information about network quality of service.
Make it personal
Virtual SKOs allow for a more personalized experience tailored to each attendee. By providing two-way communication, role-based tracks, and plenty of opportunity for input and engagement, attendees will feel more closely connected to the speaker and the organization.
Get some help from an expert
While a virtual SKO may seem like an easy undertaking compared to traditional in person events, there is still a lot to consider. For example, there should be a skilled team behind the scenes facilitating the technology so speakers can focus on presenting. The larger your meeting, the more critical a production team becomes.
Make it accessible
Regardless of what technology you use, it must be accessible by all employees. Don’t force attendees to download additional plug-ins or software, and make sure that bandwidth requirements are low so anyone can join from anywhere. If possible, make sure your speakers can present in an audience’s ideal time zone and language whenever possible.
Choose the right platform
Finally, you need to ensure you have chosen the right platform specific to the needs of your event. Small SKOs of less than 50, might be manageable with Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Anything larger, you’ll need a platform devoted to high-quality streaming of live events. You will also want to ensure it can combine live and recorded video, as well as have interactive elements like chat, sentiment voting widgets, polls, surveys, and Q&A.