Why Retention Is the Achilles’ Heel of Your Sales Kickoff (and What to Do About It)

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Even in the digital age—perhaps especially in the digital age—nothing works better to boost sales team performance and morale than bringing everyone together. For many companies, this happens most often at their regular sales kickoff. Research shows frequent, two-way communication is a critical component in aligning sales with strategy; a good kickoff is the cornerstone of that communication.

But retaining knowledge long after the luggage has been put away can be a problem. On average, only half the information learned from a sales training event is remembered after the first 36 days. For one thing, speakers have a tendency to overload their audience with information. Second, there will likely be some segment of your team that won’t retain information best if it’s presented orally. Combine that with the fact that, thanks to our increasingly digital lifestyles, our attention spans are now shorter than those of goldfish, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The solution is engaging, searchable digital content your team can refer back to again and again to remind them of the subject matter covered at the event. And unlike that logo-emblazoned stress ball, this is swag that will actually help them do their jobs better.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you develop and present this content during a sales kickoff:

Make it critical

Kickoffs are a time to introduce new products and messaging to the sales team. All of this needs to be spelled out and easily found in your guide. Even the most talented sales rep won’t be able to rattle off a new pitch after hearing it once during a busy event. And rather than make reps memorize all the specs and pricing scenarios in great detail, document this information so they can access it quickly when necessary. This frees their mental bandwidth to be a consultative partner and help solve clients’ business problems.

Make it organized

People interact with text in different ways: most will search for the information they need only when they need it, or scan certain sections for relevant tidbits. But very few sales reps will read something from start to finish. The truth is, what makes most sales reps good at their job—high energy and a desire to interact with people—is the same thing that prevents them from sitting down and reading anything cover to cover. To address this, the content from your sales kickoff must be well-organized, such as a table of contents or file-naming format, and easily searchable, so reps can surface specific details quickly regardless of where it’s located in a library.

Make it available

Tell your team at the start of the sales kickoff that the information covered will be available to them in digital form. This will allow them to be fully present, ask smart questions, and think more strategically during the event because they won’t have to worry about recalling every last detail. Inform your speakers, as well, so they’re less tempted to overload their audience with information or go over their allotted time.

It can be a lot of work on the front end to develop these materials, but it’s well worth the investment. Spending time tailoring content to the needs of your sales team will reduce the number of questions you have to field post-kickoff, and give you a reputation for providing relevant, comprehensive support.