In the early days of the IT industry it was customary to get the sales team together at the beginning of the year to gee them up and get them going for the year.
If you haven’t worked for a vendor before it’s a bit like a yearlong Groundhog Day. Each year you get a new number, you look after your customers and find new customers in-order to make that number. When you make the number you get a congratulations, a slap on the back, a shake of your hand, as the other hand receives the new number!! Having sales meet their number is essential, as it enables the developer to invest in innovative new technologies, which helps customers create value for their ‘customers’ … which is the virtuous cycle!
So the kick-off is a combination of the congratulations and kicking off the year! (Arm the sales force with all the new goodies and new messages and send them on their way) In the old days these were ‘big’ events! (You can imagine the personalities involved in an entire sales force, combined with the end of the year elation and fuelled by cold beverages!)
However, in this rapidly consolidating industry the major vendors are now large and the accountants have taken over! Now I understand the sticker shock when they look at the cost of doing this, however what I don’t understand is that the larger the event, effectively the lower the per person cost. So why when a company was small was it worth investing more in the people and when it’s large?
More of a concern is that if this infusion of the organisation’s culture and message led to the organisations success, what is going to happen now?