Lessons from the Next-Gen CASB’s Sales Kickoff


This post was originally published here by  Dean Hickman-Smith.

Bitglass has just concluded its 2018 sales kickoff event – aptly named “Elevate 2018.”

We achieved our customer, partner, and team goals, as well as aligned the team on our Next-Gen CASB message.

As we ruminate on the frenetic week, we want to offer some thoughts on what we learned; they should serve you well if you plan to run an SKO in the future.

External Validation


Outside perspective is incredibly powerful. Customerpartner, and analyst commentary on your company is massively more impactful and memorable than internal employee presentations. We had five external speakers and each one of them delivered game-changing messages that will improve our team’s performance significantly. 

Keep It Brief


Speaking sessions need to be thirty minutes (or less) of concise and salient material. Speakers should tell stories and not just read slides. Because the audience will be global and filled with many who speak English as a second language, keep it simple, energetic, and entertaining. It’s a kickoff, you’re there to deliver strategic direction and not to provide product training (save that for webinars).



Get the team out for a walk or a run before the sessions start. We did a 5K each morning; the team arrived fresh and energized. Clear heads resulted in fantastic interaction throughout the day.

Gamify, Socialize, Team Build


Keep the audience on their toes and make the event fun and action packed. Every speaker can question the audience and every presentation can become an entertaining game. Gamification kept the energy high throughout our event.

Also, ensure there’s time for the team to socialize. You can accelerate this through simple team-building activities and by having team themes throughout the SKO. Don’t underestimate the importance of giving the team time to meet and talk with each other. When you have multi-country or multi-region operations, it’s imperative that your employees know and trust each other.



Build an awards event into your SKO. Take time to recognize your top performers and leverage it as an opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the team what it will take for them to attain similar levels of performance. Be sure that the awards are attractive and meaningful.

Thanks to everyone that contributed to Bitglass’ 2018 sales kickoff and made it a fantastic event. We look forward to another amazing year.

Photo: Avanan


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