Your 2020 sales training budget survival guideJuly 2, 2019 by Helen Wilcox in kojo blog, Latest News
Is it a bit early to start thinking about your sales development budget for 2020? We say now is the time to start!
Many organisations begin their budgeting process at the end of summer, with the numbers hard baked by October. Assuming you want to involve external providers, how long will it take to agree what you need in time for budget submission?
Therefore, if you want to make a strategic impact on your sales team, now really is the time to start thinking about budgets! This guide is designed to help you put together a plan.
Backing the right horse: Strategic training
Many budget requests get blown out because they are perceived as an attempt by the sales manager to implement the latest business book they bought from the airport.
Your sales development budget request should have a clear logic through to top line growth if it is to be taken seriously.
Ideally, you will have some “proof of concept” behind your request. This can be via a prototype, or credible analysis.
Don’t damage your credibility by requesting training that doesn’t demonstrably add value to your organisation. Also remember it’s important to get the basics right: Never forget that every one of your sales team needs to excel in listening, questioning, quality of image, professionalism, time management and so on. Is everyone up to speed?
Know your value tree: Budget for value adding training
Do you understand in fine detail the activities, (sales process) that drive sales? Often organisations have generic, poorly adapted sales processes. These offer no real insight and don’t get adopted. Research by the Sandler Sales Institute (2008) showed 32% of organisations don’t have a sales process and of those that do 48% say it is not used by sales people.
Understanding what drives your leads, conversion rates and how to reduce costs and therefore increase value, will help your sales organisation become an invaluable asset financially.
Only by understanding the detail of how you generate value is it possible to make a good case for training budgets in today’s cash strapped times.
Know your levers and bottlenecks
In order to grow and develop your sales team, do you know where to invest to get growth? Do you know what is holding you back from growth?
A sales organisation is a complex entity. Maybe the start point is to understand holistically which elements are important in your particular context.
Is it product training, knowledge sharing, number of staff, lead generation, key account management or other aspects? Be clear on what you need to do to drive growth. Make sure that is fully reflected in your budget proposal.
Don’t be a dinosaur: Think outside the classroom
The growth in options for technology to support your sales team is huge. From CRM systems like salesforce.com, to m-learning and predictive analytics…the list goes on. These practices are no longer “nice to haves”. After all, if your competition is using them, doesn’t that risk putting you at a disadvantage?
At the same time, mistakes can be costly: Every sales director knows an organisation that has terrible difficulties in engaging sales people to complete CRM.
Your tech budget is also likely to extend over several years. Therefore, it can be wise if you do an objective setting / scoping exercise in the first year, followed by planned investment over several sales cycles.
Advice: Leave plenty of time to select your right partner/ technological enablement and ask for cost estimates over the long term.
Think talent not just training
Without a doubt, isn’t having a great sales team the best asset you can have to grow? And this can be difficult to achieve in practice. In planning your budgets, why not think about these areas:
Is your recruitment process bringing you the people you need?
Do you have robust mechanisms to build development plans?
Is there a good curriculum and sales career development pathway?
How do you retain your “gold collar” workers?
Be creative and think what you can do to make your team the “team of choice” in the industry. It’s not just about pay; it’s about identity, culture, practices and exceptional personal development.
Share the investments with other functions
If you are focused on growth and have understood your value tree well, it will become clear that sales, marketing, IT and product management inputs will be required to fully enable sales.
For example, you may need a steady flow of content development to support sales teams in the field. You might need more leads. You might need to optimise the mix of inbound and outbound marketing.
The implication of this is that you might combine budgets from several areas to achieve a greater overall impact.
Advice: Take time early on to discuss and align goals / priorities with other departments and share the budget!
The master plan: We will act as your sparring partner
Creating a truly smart development plan takes time, energy, creative thought, collaboration and iteration. We can help you think about budgets with a budget sparring meeting. We can challenge your thinking, introduce you to partners in our development network, provide no-obligation cost estimates and help you produce a winning submission for development funds.
Understandably, organisations can be reticent to involve externals early in the “design” process, and this is akin to an architect leaving the builder out of the discussions until tender stage: It can be costly and lead to challenging implementations.
So don’t leave it too late to start your budget planning. And don’t be the one begging at the last minute to your MD with the airport business book in hand….it just isn’t dignified!
|Your need||Our solution|
|Create a strategic training plan/value tree||A sales enablement consulting programme will help you think through the crucial elements of your training model. 3-5 days of interviews, analysis and workshops is a good start point. This will give you a roadmap and high level plan with cost estimates for implementation
|Understand your levers/bottlenecks||A sales health check uses interviews, document review, data analysis and a diagnostic to give you an objective, grounded view of your levers and bottlenecks
|Talent Management||As part of our sales academy process, we can help you define a talent strategy for your sales team, even helping to build “resilience” in your key players
|Sales Academy development||We can help you build an effective sales academy from the ground up to take care of all your sales organisation development needs
|Sales enablement||Marketing, sales and product management can benefit from fast agile alignment to help sales people deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time. With proven expertise in setting up sales enablement systems, we can help you tune / develop yours
|Sales core behaviours||Sales excellence implies doing the basics well consistently, day in day out. We can provide high impact sales development for sales teams from 5 to 500 people