Here are the results:
#1 – Head Count – hiring for reps and managers is up. For example, in software and business services hiring is up by as much as 30%. This has sales leaders investing in recruiting services, competency based selection methodologies, and on boarding programs.
#2 – Lead Generation – the bleeding edge sales force segment has validated the impact a modern lead generation program can have on sales results. The world is watching and is ready to replicate their successes. This has created budget for content marketing, lead management methods, and marketing automation software.
#3 – Sales Process – with more leads being generated, the importance of converting these leads into customers has been elevated. Chief Sales Officers are funding projects that standardize the way reps engage with prospects. An interesting trend to pay attention to, however, is that these dollars are not going to the sales training companies who market off the shelf sales methodologies. Instead, these dollars are being spent on mapping the unique buying processes of specific market segments. It may be that the lack of verifiable results has finally caught up with the sales training industry.
#4 – Sales Management Training – VP’s of Sales appear to have acknowledged the order of magnitude increase in the level of difficulty of the front line sales manager’s job. More knowledgeable prospects, highly sophisticated sales technologies to master, and an army of competitors chasing every deal, have turned the sales manager’s job into one that requires a skills increase. Companies are meeting this challenge with funding for formal sales management training programs.
Why you should care?
Budgets are up. Is yours? Are you still fighting with the CFO for dollars to fund sales effectiveness programs? What are the competitive implications of starving the sales force?
If you have secured investment dollars, are they being spent on the four items above? Are you investing in yesterday’s play book (remember the days of “negotiation skills training”)? What are the implications on your 2013 budget if the bucks spent this year do not generate results?
Are there other items to invest in? Sure. We got a fair number of responses for channel optimization, inside sales build outs, key account management programs, and new incentive compensation programs. Yet, the 4 items I call out in this post dominated the answers. They lead the pack.
Call to Action:
- Eye ball test your project list. Are you investing in these areas?
- Don’t pay any dumb taxes. Many have come before you. Benefit from their experience.
- Be sure to have a project objective, measures of success, a time line, and clear deliverables for any project you stick your neck out for.
Sometimes the sales consulting firms can, um, try to push their agenda :). If you are a sales leader, and are funding areas outside of these four, let us hear about it in the comments below.
BTW – Have you seen the new eBook from Matt Sharrers? It has been read 847 times already. It was released only 5 days ago. We at the firm are very proud of Matty’s work. After reading this, you will see why. If you want a copy, click on the icon below.