Change of Season, Deer Season, & Budget Season

autumn_textThe last days of summer are fading away, and the leaves on the trees are slowly changing colors; it is the time of changing seasons. For many, the two most important seasons begin during this time of year: deer season and budgeting season. Hunters across the country are avoiding spouses and shirking off other responsibilities to hide in the woods in hopes of landing a trophy. Those who are responsible for corporate budgets are doing a similar kind of hunting, except they are in search of the most effective ways to spend their limited company budget on professional development to insure optimal sales results and market share gains in 2015.

A Checklist For Effective Development Budgeting

Is your sales organization equipped to deliver the results your company requires? Can they provide a client experience that creates value for the most informed buyer the world has ever seen? Do you have an investment strategy to keep your top talent and one that lures even the highest performance sales talent outside of your organization? Luckily, the answer doesn’t involve sitting in an uncomfortable hunting stand for hours on end. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning for professional training during the budgeting process:

  • Does your budget address the current needs of your people? For example, if there have been new developments in your industry, it may be worthwhile to look into product training.
  • Does your budget make sense based on your business revenues? If you have a small company or you had a down year, you may not want to spend a huge portion of your revenue on training. Statistics from the Houston Chronicle show that small companies tend to spend more on training; in 2011, companies with less than 1,000 spent $922 per person, while companies with more than 10,000 people spent only $375 per person. You should adjust this amount based on your company and its individual needs.
  • Is your training budget consistent with where it has been in other fiscal years? What were your results? This is a good test to get a sense of whether or not you are on the right track with your training budget parameters.
  • Besides training, what other pressing issues will your budget need to address? For example: equipment upgrades, client relations, employee benefits, etc.

Why You Should Invest In Sales Training

Sales training is a particularly important part of your budget; numbers show that effective training for marketing and sales team members can result in 24% higher profit margins. Before you invest in sales training, however, you need think about who should be trained and why.

When Is Sales Training A Good Fit?

Sales managers, executives, and human resources team members should be involved in decisions about your sales training budget, but don’t forget also to talk to the salespeople themselves to get their thoughts on sales training. There are a few ideal situations for sales training: when you have brought on new team members, when you have a new product or service, or when you want to give your sales team a plan of action tailored to their individual needs. Sales training generally does not work when you take a one-size-fits-all approach: it also doesn’t work very well when you overload your team members with intensive, all day sessions that attempt to cram as much information as possible into a single day or two-day seminar.

You also need to consider the top ROI budget items from previous years: remember that for some budget investments, ROI is not always easily calculated. Tim Berry at Entrepreneur writes on the importance of remembering that just because you cannot easily calculate the ROI of a budget item doesn’t mean that there is no ROI. Even if you have already done sales or development training before, it is worth it to look into alternative methods or new techniques that can help you improve your business performance. Always remember, however, that there is a fine line between the latest sales training techniques effectively employed by the top pioneers in the field and gimmicky training programs designed to line the pockets of sales trainers.

Now is the time of year to slow down, evaluate and conduct a close examination of your sales budget and training needs. Then, when the heavy buying season begins, your sales team will be in position to hit the ground running and won’t miss their best shot. ASLAN Training and Development is happy to help you assess, prepare, and maximize your training ROI by providing a free consultation to evaluate your situation and ensure that you are prepared to bridge any gap you might have in your sales force execution.

ASLAN for Life: Now is a great time to begin reflecting and planning how you want to budget life in general. Take the time to determine what is most important to you and how you should invest your personal time, money, and effort to produce the greatest long term yield by helping others.

As VP of Solutions, Sean’s passion is developing and creating a learning experience that emotionally taps into each learner, matches ASLAN’s commitment to excellence, and exceeds our client’s wildest expectations. Find him on: LinkedIn.

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About ASLAN

The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.

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