Sales conferences are a major expense, and one where recouping your investment is of critical importance. You want your team to come away from the event energized, and ready to over-achieve on their plans.
We have some practical ideas to share around Planning, Best Practices, and Delivering Excellence when you are planning your 2013 Sales Conference.
First, you need to address three critical questions in the planning stages:
- What is the #1 sales objective that this conference aims to address?
- What do you want your people to do better or differently as a result of the conference?
- Are you sure the conference format is right for what you want to accomplish?
If you’ve answered all three questions, you’re ready to give it the green light. Here are three best practices to consider:
- Assemble a team that represents the field. Rather than just head office folks designing the conference, get the field engaged.
- Be outcome-focused rather than agenda-focused. What do we mean by that? Outcome relates to what you want the participants to be doing better or differently from a performance standpoint, rather than just filling in time slots with various presenters.
- The right balance between steak and sizzle. Steak: the activities and the content. Sizzle: the entertainment, the location. Think steak first, sizzle second – but it’s got to be the right combination.
Okay, now you’re ready to deliver excellence at your sales conference:
- Pre-note, pre-work. Have participants arrive pre-engaged by doing some work so that they’re ready to roll up their sleeves at the conference.
- Make sure that the facilitators and presenters are well prepared and have practiced. There are hundreds of people at a conference. The presenters and facilitators must be prepared and at the top of their game.
- Look at your salespeople like professional athletes. You want to create task tension. Organizers need to move salespeople out of their comfort zone at least a couple of times a day so that they’re feeling challenged.
If you put these ingredients in play, your next sales conference will not be a boondoggle. It will recoup its investment and it will help energize and enable your sales team to over-achieve on their plans.