Nov 12, 2021

Accelerating Kickoff Events with Peer-Led Interactions

Jara Rowe

Content Marketing Manager

Connecting with peers is a natural occurrence during in-person sales and revenue kickoffs. The natural mingling in the hallways or grabbing dinner allows for great conversation and team building. These interactions shouldn't subside in virtual kickoff events. In fact, we believe that kickoff planners should meaningfully plan for group discussions to help facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration and dialogue.

As we host several virtual kickoff meetings in Filo, we have found peer-led interactions have been the highest-rated position of these kickoff events when NPS scores are collected.

Reasons to consider peer discussions

As mentioned before, when you're in person, some of these interactions happen naturally. Often taken for granted, these seemingly small interactions are meaningful. Several key reasons thoughtfully planning these discussions is essential during a virtual kickoff. Three core things make these peer sessions necessary.

  • Interaction: It's essential to allow attendees to contribute, interact, talk and collaborate with their peers. Ample time allows for the conversation to deepen. A 10-minute breakout session isn't going to get the group engaged and collaborating as it should.
  • Real-world applicability: It's critical to get into how your service or product is used in the real world. You can do this during your sales kickoff by bringing in sales practitioners and having them lead a discussion of their own about some specific scenarios with prospects. During the talk, the team member can discuss ways to show how the tool helped specific clients to help form helpful talk tracks.
  • Connection: Connection and networking are something that you have to be intentional about virtually. People don't care for forced virtual networking like speed networking rounds. You don't want people to jump into different breakout rooms to talk to one another with no direction. Giving somebody a purpose to speak not only allows them to interact with one another but opens up an opportunity to connect with peers that they don't always talk to every day.
"I've never been a part of any event, in person or virtual, where somebody said 'Gosh, I wish there was less interaction. I wish I had more of an opportunity to sit and watch,' But we've heard a lot of times people come out and say, 'Man, my only complaint about that was the breakouts, and the interaction with my peers were way too short.'"
- Matt Compton, CEO & Co-Founder, Filo.co

How to lead peer breakout sessions

At Filo.co, we've had an opportunity to learn from many of our customers that brought us alongside their sales kickoffs.

Implement these breakout sessions in three ways:

  • Education oriented: An educational peer-led breakout session can happen in story rooms or deal rooms. In these rooms, one team is educating others or getting them together to solve a problem.
  • Support oriented: Setup these sessions by prompting the group with questions around specific topics. From there, the team can support each other through answering the questions or role-playing the situation with real-time feedback from peers.
  • External help: Call in an expert to help facilitate conversations for each group.

Below are a few examples of how you can conduct these peer-led sessions during your event.

How to structure peer-led breakouts

Coordinating these breakout discussions takes a lot of strategies. We have a few tips to help you get the most out of the conversations.

  • Don't make these overly structured: It's best not to make everyone fit into one mold. Identify what you are trying to accomplish and round up the right people to lead those discussions. With a bit of direction, give those session leaders the freedom to structure how they would like. If the session isn't what an attendee wants, they can always move on to another session.
  • Give ample time: Don't shoehorn these peer engagements to the agenda by making them only last 10 minutes. Make sure you give enough time for genuine interactions. We suggest not having sessions that go much over an hour in the virtual world; the perfect range is between 30 minutes and one hour. 
  • Let attendees choose: It's common to have attendees select their desired session ahead of time which locks them into that session. This is valuable, but we recommend against this to allow for a little more freedom. It is best to have multiple sessions happening at the same time. Finding a session that is most valuable for them will have them engage more.
Yext facilitated rapid peer-led learning sessions during their virtual SKO with Virtual Deal Rooms. An RVP would lead a short session on a key deal, and attendees could choose which deal to learn about and hop in.

As shown, peer-led interactions are essential to a dynamic virtual sales kickoff. The Filo.co team would love to help assist you in your virtual kickoff! If you need additional help, find our guide with 6 strategies we've compiled for creating virtual kickoff events that drive genuine connection, education, and inspiration.