Ask any CFO what their first impression is when they hear the words ‘Sales Training’ and they might communicate back their ‘Real world’ vocabulary of ‘un-accountable’ and ‘un-measurable’. Simply put, they know they’re wasting at least half their sales training budget dollars; the problem is they don’t know which half. And from a sales management perspective, if you don’t use your training budget, you’ll lose it.
One effective way for a sales CNFN executive to approach the fiscal level of their organization is with an offer a fiscal person can’t refuse. Not the ‘Godfather’ type of offer, but a business offer tied to a measurable revenue outcome and accountable to the overall profit objective of the organization. Doing so effectively can take the ‘budget constraints’ out of the equation.
If you’re in sales, you already understand how to speak to a potential customer in line with their personality type, business needs and personal wants. But many of us don’t know how to effectively sell internally to our own organization. Let’s take a look at a diagnostic way to go about it.
Step 1: Diagnose your current sales Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)
Sales executives and Chief Financial officers have one thing in common. Both are accountable to the bottom of the scorecard at month-end, because numbers don’t lie. They can be your best friend… or your worst enemy. When preparing a sales training proposal for your upper management, put on your CFO hat and speak to relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPI); individual gateways that directly effect the outcome of your process.
A KPI example in the sales process might be how many times you advance the first sales appointment to the next phase, whether that’s a demonstration, a site visit, a survey or a proposal. Another KPI is how many times you gain a new customer once the first gateway is passed. And when you do gain a new customer, what’s the average revenue you achieve? That’s certainly an important KPI. Because if your average revenue per sale is 40% less than the average peer KPI, you might want to find out why and take focused action to improve it, as you’re leaving money on the table. Sales cycle in days and 1st appointment generation are 2 additional KPIs to measure.
Never rely on a subjective approach when promoting a sales training program to Upper Management. Define and determine where to ask for training dollars by identifying your Key Performance Indicators and finding out where you’re the weakest in line with your established revenue goals. That takes the guesswork out of it and will report back the quickest way to a measurable training return.