Planning for 2017 – Preparing for Sales Kick-Off

In the first part of this short series I considered how we’re rapidly heading towards the end of 2016 and planning for 2017 is starting.

As a Product Marketing Manager, one of the items on my list is preparation for our annual Sales Kick Off (SKO) as it would in many companies. SKO will also be getting the attention of sales leadership and IT (not always the obvious participants in SKO but bear with me).

If your corporate year aligns with the calendar, then your SKO may well also be happening early in January. It’s always an exciting time – new year, new opportunities – but also the worst possible time to be running such an event! Everyone’s currently focusing on closing out the current year and there are plenty of holidays at the same time. Early planning is key to reducing stress and increasing success.

One of the many benefits of SKO is that it’s one of the few opportunities in the year where sales people that spend most of their work life on the road or in remote offices are brought together. IT often makes use of this time to refresh or update all those laptops and other devices they rarely get chance to touch. With 2017 being the year of Windows 10 this is an ideal opportunity to update sales reps’ laptops while they’re in training.

But that’s quite a daunting prospect. If you have a few hundred or even thousands of laptops to update and each one needs manual intervention to backup machines, start migrations, reconfigure for Windows 10 security features, refresh applications (the process is well described here then do you have the capacity to get them all done in a few days? This is largely a one-off event so you probably don’t want to go to the cost and effort of setting up a Configuration Manager distribution point and other infrastructure to try to automate some parts of the process.

This recent blog article and video describing how Tableau deployed Windows 10 to hundreds of laptops at their recent London conference struck me as a great example of exactly the kind of refresh that needs to happen at SKOs. Even if you’re not going to roll out Windows 10 at your SKO, you may well be distributing the latest sales collateral or new applications so you can see some benefit now and be ready for when your Windows 10 project is ready to go.

2017 – less than 100 days away at the time of writing!

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