So here we are, rapidly approaching the end of the year. As leaders we are reflecting on our ambitious targets and hoping to achieve sales goals. Some of you are probably thinking “we crushed it, time to party,” some of you are probably thinking “please, please just let Karen win that big deal,” and some of you are probably thinking “how can I use alternative facts to change the reality of this situation?”
No matter your situation, there’s still time to improve upon this year’s performance. Perhaps more importantly though, is that your sales goals next year aren’t likely to be any smaller. So, the real question to ask yourself is:
How are you investing your remaining budget to:
Further improve on sales goals this year and sustain performance for next year?
Try and achieve sales goals this year and set your team up for greater success next year?
We suggest having a good answer to this question because your stakeholders might not be buying the alternative facts that you are selling. And the answer we’d suggest is: investing in your people.
At DoubleDigit Sales, we equip people with the skills they need to have better business conversations, generate insight, differentiate effectively, and handle objections so that they can shorten their sales cycle and close more business. An investment in your people is an investment in your success.
So, without further ado, here are our top 10 reasons to invest your remaining budget in sales training:
1. The Oldest Argument
I know we all know this and it goes without saying, but in case you forgot: if you don’t use it, you lose it. Chances are if you don’t demonstrate need for your budget, you’re not going to be given the same amount, let alone more. We’re not advocating spending your remaining budget just for the sake of it, but we’re also pretty sure none of our teams are perfect and could likely benefit from further investment. The greats, like Rory McIlroy and Roger Federer know what a small tweak in their performance can mean for their game, and earnings. So we’d advocate spending it on something that’s going to make a difference on your performance and ability to achieve sales goals now, and in the long term, and that’s your team.
2. To Show You Care
It might sound a little hokey and maybe we’re channeling a little Sally Field, but investing in your team shows you like them, you really like them, or at least care. Investing in your people’s skills sends a strong message to your team, that they’re more than just here to do a job and figure it out as they go, but a person that the company wants to see grow and succeed. Further, skills training, and sales skills training in particular, is highly relevant to each and every one of us (we all influence and sell whether we know it or not). Showing you care by investing in sales skills for your team not only helps them achieve their sales goals and your bottom line, but it’s a transferrable and a highly valuable skill set. Your team can use the skills in their professional and daily lives and will notice a difference – they will thank you. This ins’t compliance training, which although necessary and fun, we’ve heard a little less engaging, and a little less “we care.”
3. Decrease Turn-Over
In a similar line of thinking to my previous point, a little love goes a long way and with the beginning of the year being the most popular time for job changes according to Glassdoor, why not cement relationships? Highly skilled people have more success. Equipping your people with the skills they need to be competent and confident in their roles should be a top priority for sales, HR, talent, learning, enablement and operations leaders as it not only helps control hiring expenses and the bottom line, but helps retain and grow your top talent, and navigate culture and morale shifts that inevitably come when people join and leave your team. Retain your talent by equipping them with the skills they need to succeed, and the people managing them with the skills they need to be effective coaches and leaders.
4. Because You’re Likely Having One of These
Sales conferences, national sales meetings, annual sales meetings, whatever you call yours, it’s an important time of year when nearly all of us take time to gather on mass in one central place and often wish we could be somewhere else – oops, did I say think or say that? We have plenty of opinions on these meetings, but the point I am making here is these meetings can be useful if done right. If you’re having one, we highly recommend you check out this post to make yours as valuable to your people as possible. If you’re not, you could have a significant opportunity in front of you – an opportunity to drive performance and boost your culture with a little fun and skills development.
5. Now Is Better Than November/December
I don’t know about your office in November or December, but from experience, I know this: In November, people are scrambling to make their targets, so it’s not ideal to take people off the road and reduce selling time. In December, people are in holiday-mode and it’s nearly impossible to get everyone together, and in the right head space. So, if you want to make a difference to this year’s results, now’s the time to strike. And if you want to kick off next year with a bang, the same sentiment applies.
6. Learning Is a Process
Perhaps there is never a most opportune time for investing in your people, except for some time in the past, but alas none of us can turn back time. Learning is a process and takes time. For the vast majority of us it cannot be done in a single event. Sales and leaderships skills, which we all have and use to varying degrees of success, are hardwired within us. To improve requires changes to our behavior and new skills and process to be learned. Therefore, change within a single learning event is challenging. Any book, person or training that preaches otherwise is lying to you. Not to plug us, but all of our solutions come with reinforcement built in as we recognize learning is a process. Ensure the learning you choose for your team has reinforcement (which can come in many forms) built in to make the learning stick, your investment worthwhile and to achieve sales goals. So, if you have budget to spend, start investing in your people now to drive the behavior change you want to see in the future.
7. If You Haven’t Invested in Your Team Are You’re Putting Yourself at Risk?
So perhaps your killing it this year and your performance is great, but maybe not. If you’re within the latter group, what’s your reason for not hitting your numbers? The market? The product? Something else not within your control? We often hear many reasons for not achieving goals, but more important is what was done to take control of the situation and try to meet your goals, such as equipping your team with the skills they need to overcome X. Stiff competition? Perhaps your team needs help differentiating. Trouble closing? Maybe your team needs better presentation skills. Time and time again it’s been shown an investment in your people pays off in spades. HR magazine found that companies that invest $1,500 per employee annually on training experience 24% higher gross profit margins than organizations with lower training budgets. So, if you don’t achieve your sales goals what’ll be your reason? And more importantly, what actions did you take to try and achieve sales goals?
8. Remember That Beginning of the Year Engagement Survey?
Yea, us neither, but it’s chuck-full of great information and it would be a shame to let it go to waste. Not only that, but how often do employees role their eyes at another survey that will go nowhere with no change. Surprise them, by demonstrating you not only asked, but listened and are doing something with the information learned. Obviously not everything can or will be implemented, but there’s an opportunity here to not only improve engagement and job satisfaction (which investments in your people via skills training can do), but also help you achieve sales goals.
9. Ask Your Team, Seriously
Maybe you didn’t do that beginning of the year engagement survey – no worries, we have a solution. Ask your team. Ask your team if they would like to improve their sales skills. Ask if they would like to be able to ask better questions or handle objections more effectively. To create more impactful presentations or be able to differentiate better. Chances are they want the skills and tools to be able to do so and when it means more sales for them and money in their pockets, job satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and company satisfaction – you’re both going to say yes to investing your budget in training for your people.
10. Strategic Planning and Alignment
Deploying budget against planning (we’re talking sales planning specifically here) cements success for leaders, managers and salespeople. A solid strategy for your sales organizations of where you are and where you want to go is critical. Ensuring your sales manager's goals align to this master plan, and your salespeople’s goals do too, is part of ensuring your well thought out sales strategy is executed and aligned, and you achieve sales goals. Allocating budget to tactics to ensure individual goals align to larger strategies for the coming year/s is another way to achieve success.
So there you have it: Our top 10 reasons to invest your remaining budget in sales training - an investment in your people and your ability to achieve sales goals. There are many more reasons why investing in your team is critical to your success, but we figure this starting list will get you motivated to act, and hopefully enough to help you convince others that your people are your most valuable assets and an investment in them is truly an investment in your success, now and into the future.
Ready to start making a difference in your team’s ability and performance? Ask us how.