Sales training is a great investment for your company. But when it comes to deciding on budgets who should decide on what spend is necessary. Ultimately, the budget for sales training depends on a combination of your organisational goals, the current challenges your business is facing, and the individual strengths and weaknesses of your sales team. Therefore the decision will be a collaborative one between your HR department and sales leaders and you’ll need to take a number of factors into consideration.
Decisions from HR
It’s up to HR to deep dive into organisational goals and consider what they mean for sales training budgets. HR should clearly understand the current business goals and what you are trying to accomplish when looking at the bigger picture. When looking at the goals and changing demands, HR should be able to guide sales leaders through a SWOT analysis to help them determine the most strategic way to invest in training and set the sales training budget.
HR should also take travel and expense costs into account and analyse whether it’s more cost effective to send salespeople out to external training versus the cost of bringing in facilitators or completing programs online.
Decisions from Sales Leaders
Sales leaders have the specialised insights that HR doesn’t into the individual strengths and weaknesses of their sales team and the gaps they need to fill. They should take the lead on setting sales training budgets with HR’s input and guidance. Sales leaders and HR should work together to also consider how sales training can be used to motivate and retain top talent — securing designations for your sales team is an investment but one that may pay off in dividends when it comes to employee performance and retention.
Sales leaders should consider what sales managers and sales pros need to do differently to achieve organisational objectives and sales goals. They must then analyse how dramatic a change is needed and how large the knowledge and skills gap is. This will help them identify where the pressing need is and the scope of sales training necessary.
This kind of analysis may incur its own costs and this must be taken into account when deciding on sales training budgets. Assessment of the sales team’s current capabilities may require the implementation of digital tools to take baseline and follow-up measurements. As well as assessing team members’ capabilities and training needs, ROI measurement can also incur costs. This involves looking at selling behaviours are impacting revenue and deciding where best to focus efforts and training on hard skills. Things to look at could include the ROI on cold calls, in-person meetings, social selling, presentation tools etc. Measuring the ROI will help you understand which areas you want your sales team to focus on and what resources/skills to invest in so that they are best poised to take action.
Because decisions on sales training budgets must take into account a variety of factors, it’s necessary that many people will be involved. It requires senior management conveying their goals to the HR and Sales Departments; it requires salespeople and sales managers completing assessments of their own skills and weaknesses; but ultimately it requires sales leaders joining the dots on the sales training necessary to meet changing needs and goals.