• Sales kickoffs represent an opportunity for portfolio marketers to introduce or reinforce knowledge components that are critical to sales reps’ success
  • Different sales audiences must be considered when building the sales kickoff agenda and creating programs for knowledge transfer
  • Portfolio marketers must develop a plan and have an active role in the sales kickoff agenda

Sure, the holidays are here and in full swing, but it’s also that wonderful time of year when sales kickoff planning is in high gear. Portfolio marketers play an important role in enabling sales, and they’re more worried about packaging great kickoff content and programs than wrapping gifts!

hands with giftbox and red ribbonWhether sales kickoff is managed by sales operations or sales enablement, one thing is clear – support is always wanted and needed from portfolio marketers, as they are in a unique position to leverage their expertise across key knowledge components.

Portfolio marketers have a great opportunity to insert themselves and become heavily involved in sales kickoff, particularly to set the agenda for any sessions related to go-to-market strategy, buyer personas and insights, and portfolio messaging and content. All of these topics are required for a successful sales kickoff, and with their market and buyer expertise and skills at prioritizing market segments and strategies, portfolio marketers are qualified to develop and deliver the content and materials for the agenda and ensure the material is delivered in the right way.

Throughout the year, portfolio marketers have worked alongside their colleagues in product, sales and marketing to understand business goals and determine the existing priorities. Personas may have been built out, and buyer and sales messaging may have been crafted to support the buying cycle. Now, it’s time to educate the sales team with not only content and tools, but also the knowledge that has been developed.

  • Craft an agenda that is relevant. An ideal agenda takes into consideration that different sales audiences have different needs. It’s appropriate to have general agenda sessions for the entire sales team when covering topics that are relevant across the board (e.g. sales process changes, pricing information). It’s equally important to carve out session topics and content that appeal to different sales team roles. For example, sales development reps/inside sales reps need key messaging, packaged in sales tools such as call scripts and email templates, targeted at the buyer audiences they are trying to attract. However, account executives may be targeting a higher-level audience and require a different set of messaging materials, such as a buyer-centric sales presentation and talk track to maximize each buyer interaction.
  • Identify the knowledge needs. Portfolio marketers should use sales kickoff as an opportunity to share knowledge and go beyond telling reps what they need to know by actually showing them what good looks like. Identify the biggest knowledge gaps (e.g. markets, buyers, your company’s value, offerings, competition), and drive an agenda around closing them. Don’t forget about sharing marketing programs that illustrate how you are helping to connect to potential buyers and support the sales efforts.
  • Think beyond kickoff. It’s worth noting that people can only absorb so much material in a given time period. To reinforce the learning delivered at kickoff, portfolio marketing and sales enablement should work together to take a programmatic approach to sales enablement throughout the year. Helps reps take ownership of the knowledge and apply it consistently across every buying cycle they are involved in. Although kickoff is a great place to roll things out, sales enablement and portfolio marketers should ensure that programs and materials are centrally located and easily accessible to sales. Sales reps are drinking from a high-powered firehose during kickoff. While they are in an active deal, they need an intuitive way to re-educate themselves by revisiting the knowledge they were exposed to.

Portfolio marketers are in a fantastic position to become an active part of sales kickoff and use the event as a launching or reinforcement point to close the knowledge gaps that get in the way of reps making their numbers. Leverage the SiriusDecisions Sales Knowledge Transfer Framework to plan for kickoff season and keep the momentum going throughout the year. ‘Tis the planning season! Happy holidays!