If you’re on a calendar year your VP of Sales is probably in the initial research phase of preparing their budget for next year. How much will they put in for sales training? How much should they? What kind of training should you invest in? Is there anything you can do to make sure you maximize the impact of your training investment?
1. How much should we budget for sales training?
A good rule of thumb for a high-performing sales organization is to invest somewhere between 3-6% of your sales payroll on additional sales training and development. So for a 10-person sales team where each sales person is making $100k, that would be $3,000-$6,000 per person, or $30-$60k for the department. If your sales team is already operating at a high level, you may be able to scale that back. If you have neglected investing in sales training and development, you may need to increase this budget until your sales team consistently performs at a high level.
2. What kind of training should we invest in?
When you stop and actually look at how companies spend their training dollars (as we do in our sales force development consulting practice) a few trends emerge immediately.
The most effective training programs are delivered in a “blended learning” environment that combines live workshops that emphasize role play along with individual study that allows each sales person to focus on their particular weaknesses. No matter how the training is delivered, reinforcement and follow up coaching by the sales manager is critical. This type of reinforcement training provides opportunity for clarity and real world application. And that is when true change happens.
3. Is there anything we can do to make sure we maximize the impact of our training investment?
The best investment you can make is to evaluate your sales team. A good evaluation should provide insights into the “unanswerable questions” you’ve had about your sales organization:
Investing in a sales training program without being able to answer these questions would be like publishing your financials without getting an outside audit. Ask these questions when your Sales VP turns in their first draft budget you’ll have a very productive conversation.