5 Steps to a Successful Sales Rally

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Two weeks ago GoodData delivered it’s first-ever Portland Sales Rally. We had a great time bringing everyone together from San Francisco, Boston, the Czech Republic, and of course, Portland. The sales organization, leadership, customers and partners came together for keynotes, breakouts, social events, and quarterly business reviews to discuss recent product updates, new strategies and our company growth.  

Here are some of my key takeaways for a great rally:

1. Your Rally Is Not Just a Sales Rally -- It Should be a Company Rally

Why keep the excitement to just the sales teams? This is a time when new products, new marketing materials and new vision statements are launched. Find creative ways to include the rest of the company in the excitement by bringing them in virtually for the keynotes, buying lunches for them and delivering follow-up mini presentations in-person.

2. Use Your Rally as a Forcing Function

In the three weeks leading up to the rally, we crystallized a new Go To Market strategy and an entire new product roadmap. The rally pushes the company to create clear collateral and playbooks that will be used the rest of the year.

3. Your Highest Valued Speakers are Right Under Your Nose

Often at rallies people try to highlight external speakers, sales trainers, etc. These people often don’t have credibility in your organization and come across as ‘fluff.’ Since your salespeople are often distributed, they don’t have many opportunities to talk in person together. So, they have a lot they can learn from one another. Employ peer learning: use your best people to lead short (approximately one or two slide), targeted 30-minute sessions for their peers.

4. Define the Goal then Delegate and Empower … No Really, Do It!

While planners tend to detail all content themselves with plenty of time to spare, most salespeople work best when under pressure. They are very proud and want to be at their best when all eyes are watching and at a rally they know their CEO and senior leadership’s eyes are on them. By giving full responsibility to the presenter and not a staffer who will create the slides, the presentation becomes more real, honest, and valuable.

5. "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley”​ 1

Things will always change. As Louis Pasteur said, "Fortune favors the prepared mind.” Focus your enablement team on seamless logistical planning rather than set session content. As much as possible, detail the food, daily communications, calendar invitations, hotel billing, break music, and AV prep because those are the facets that we can successfully control. Create an environment where your best people can do what they do best every day and take the distractions away.


A poem by Robert Burns and translated from Scottish: "The best laid plans of mice and men are often gone awry.”

August 07, 2014
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