Tis the season. No, I’m not talking about mistletoe and eggnog. That season started right after Halloween, at least for most of retail stores. I’m talking about the season when companies are finalizing plans for their 2017 Sales Kickoff (SKO).

Social Selling has been a hot topic at SKOs for the past few years. LinkedIn’s pending acquisition by Microsoft has only increased interest this year.

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An SKO time slot is a sought-after resource. Everyone from the VP of HR to the entire Product Management team wants their turn communicating to the gathering of reps. As a result, most social selling presentations are 60-minute keynotes.

If you’re a sales leader who is considering hiring a social selling expert to speak at your SKO, here are four questions to answer:

  1. What’s your desired outcome? In 60-minutes, a professional speaker can raise awareness, spark curiosity, and generate excitement for learning about social selling. No one, however, can deliver a training program that will result in lasting habits practiced by the majority of the sales team. Like mastering your company’s CRM system or a perfect golf swing, it takes more than 60-minutes.
  2. Are you ready to commit to post-SKO training BEFORE the SKO? When sales executives entertain the idea that post-SKO training may be necessary, they sometimes say “Let’s see how the keynote goes, then we’ll decide on training.” There are two problems with this is approach. It makes it impossible to announce training during the SKO and it wastes the momentum that a keynote speech can create. It’s much better to have a complete plan going into the SKO.
  3. What’s Marketing’s role in terms of ongoing content support? There are two fundamental lead-generating activities involved in social selling; Outbound Prospecting and Inbound Marketing. Sales knows all about the networking, referrals, and outreach methods associated with Outbound Prospecting. Inbound Marketing, however, is fairly new to most salespeople. It involves salespeople sharing content to raise their individual and their company’s visibility and credibility as a Subject Matter Expert in order to attract prospects. Sales and Marketing need to be on the same page.
  4. What’s the current skill level of your team? The worst thing that can happen in any SKO presentation is for the speaker to underestimate the skills of the audience. No group raises their eyebrows, folds their arms, and tunes-out faster than sales people when the speaker fails to hit their mark. To avoid this, determine your team’s social selling skill level and make sure your speaker’s skill level exceeds it…a lot.