The full customer lifecycle has transformed selling organizations in a number of ways. In the last few years alone, we at Mereo have started working with a lot more Chief Revenue Officers who oversee teams involved in this entire lifecycle, for example. We also are beginning to hear of — and actually even help plan — more revenue kickoffs for 2023.
At Mereo, we just launched the Sales Kickoff Planning Playbook — a guide jam-packed with leading practices, hands-on worksheets and expert guidance. We stand by the value and relevancy of this tool and encourage all leaders to grab a copy. Yet, we cannot deny that a greater and necessary shift lies on the horizon for selling organizations.
Will revenue kickoffs become the new sales kickoff in the near future? Let us explore the possibilities, opportunities and departures from the traditional sales kickoff.
A SHIFT IN SELLING PROCESSES
Sales processes have historically been linear, like a flowchart: a prospect is first introduced to a solution, a seller then pitches the value of that solution … so on and so forth. Yet the digital age has revolutionized this process and, more so, clicked “select” and “delete.” Prospects and buyers have more power online. They have more tools and resources at their fingertips.
The customer lifecycle has become the linear sales process’ replacement. And this new process takes the shape of a circle to reflect the cycle, with up-sells, cross-sells, renewals — a possibly endless exchange of value.
With this new approach, the customer success team was born. While the nomenclature for this role varies between organizations, these are essentially the people who serve the buyer once the buyer makes an initial purchase — in essence transitioning from a “buyer” to a “customer.” To be successful, though, they must essentially be as enabled and skilled as a traditional salesperson. More-so, they need to know their customers’ different stages and touchpoints on their lifecycle — and how to serve them all along the journey.
In the 2022 Future of Revenue Enablement study released by Mediafly, 58% of organizations responded as having a sales enablement presence, while only 21% included customer success in their strategy and just 10% extended support to their marketing teams. Innovative companies, though, were found to be transitioning from the traditional sales enablement approach to a full-scale revenue enablement strategy and making efforts to enable the customer success team (23%), presales teams (18%) and marketers (15%). A great place to start enabling these professionals is to invite them to the right tables. More specifically, to your annual kickoff program.
A KICKOFF TO SERVE THEM ALL
The revenue kickoff is not so different from the traditional sales kickoff. Yet, by intentionally including the customer success team at the event while also purposefully incorporating relevant content and exercises into the program, an organization starts building a selling engine that is seamless inside and out to serve the whole customer lifecycle.
With new team members come new considerations for your kickoff to make a true impact:
- Make it formal. Start with a formalized process document. This is true for your sales process — and it should also apply to your customer success team. Write it down! This formalized, polished document will provide a key piece of content and guide for your teams in the year ahead. And scrutinize your sales process and determine if and where to weave in the customer success team to make the buyer’s experience as seamless as possible.
- Align where it matters overall. Do not segment your teams like boys and girls at an elementary lunch table. Your buyers see one organization — and they benefit from being served by a unified force. Invite everyone to socials and mixers. Consider what presentations will apply all-around. Instill in everyone that they are in this together for your organization, and more importantly your buyers and customers.
- Provide breakout sessions and separate tracks to go deeper. Not all your sessions will be relevant for both teams, however. A revenue kickoff will demand separate tracks where sales and customer success professionals will part to go deeper in their specific skillsets and roles.
PLAN FOR SUCCESS
A revenue kickoff demands similar planning to a more-traditional sales kickoff — with just an expanded invitation list and adjusted sessions. The Mereo Sales Kickoff Planning Playbook can be your leadership team’s guide from logistics to content-creation, to bringing it all together and more.
Is your organization sticking with the traditional sales kickoff in 2023 or going the revenue kickoff route? Let us know by answering this poll.