Budgeting can be a daunting task for even the most successful businesses across industries. Without proper prioritization of vital aspects of the business, things run the risk of being left out. Often, these left our components are things that are immensely important to the strength of the business such as trainings and learning opportunities.
As Vice President of a successful training organization, Phone Ninjas, Chris Vitale recognizes that budgeting for training and other critical components is essential for any business. To help others work to see the improvements necessary to their business, Chris Vitale explores why training is often neglected in budgeting and how it can be properly prioritized.
What We Often Do Instead of Addressing Training
Chris Vitale often speaks to the woes of budgeting for businesses. Every year, we are asked to create the same budget only to later change it mid-month until we reach a point in May where we stop paying close attention to it altogether. In the process, we’ve likely only accounted for the consistent items such as rent, management fees, the CRM, DMS, and perhaps utilities —- the things that we cannot change anyway.
Chaos may ensue when we have to consider factors such as cutting spend for certain components of the business, adding spend, collaborating with a vendor, or removing a vendor. Naturally, some of these changes could have been avoided, however, if we had the foresight to have added training as a budgeted item. Acknowledging that cutting something in favor of something else often does not make sense unless there is an overlap is vital- and there rarely is such an overlap.
It’s an endless cycle, adding a new vendor and then unfairly judging them after 30 days because they do not do something that they never said they do but nonetheless is important to the business. From there, they are either replaced with an old collaborator or begrudgingly put up with with no plan for them to improve.
Chris recognizes that training is unfortunately often an afterthought for most businesses i.e.. something that GM’s struggle to find the value in. Still, we cannot deny that training remains critical to success, and it is best to add it to the budget first-thing rather than rush to address it mid-year.
The First Question- Why Isn’t Training in Your Annual Budget
As previously stated, training is extremely valuable to any business, but we cannot avoid the fact that it is often treated as an afterthought. Or worse, something that tis only addressed when employees are underperforming. Many are aware of the situation where a trainer is hired during an infamous “bad month” with the idea that it will fix all of the root causes of existing problems. Sometimes, businesses resort to pushing all responsibility onto management or make employees accountable for training themselves.
It is important for businesses to properly address why they do not have training within their budget and how their practices may be creating more issues. Maybe you’ve decided that you need to cut expenses elsewhere such as limiting advertising or removing a vendor. Now, you may have issues where top team members are struggling to reach their numbers because of the cut ad spend. Later, you may have to deal with these team members looking work work elsewhere. While this is a hypothetical situation, it happens very often and is a perfect example of how these business practices can cause more issues than they solve.
The problem is clear. When training is regarded as an afterthought, managers and admins will address almost any other part of the business before shining a light on the true root of their issues. If teams see it fit to be proactive about adding training into the budget, it can change the way training is approached on the dealer level. Training, after all, is not just an “expense” but a vital means to increase overall performance. It is an investment, as it can increase profitability that can cover the cost of training several fold.
Making Training a Priority
To avoid the pitfalls of treating training as an afterthought, Chris Vitale encourages businesses to instead make it a priority for both management Sales Managers and Sales Consultants. This shows a commitment to investing in employees’ success and allows managers to do their jobs effectively while teams receive any of the support that they need to improve.
Dealerships that are constantly running on empty are never quite able to fix their problem’s root cause. Many businesses make the mistake of believing that the results that they see here or there are reflective of a job well done, but the point stands that these are not sustainable improvements. In sales, it has never been about looking behind us and asking, “what happened?”. Sales is a fast-paced and constantly evolving environment, and we must adapt by asking what we can do for a better tomorrow, next week, month, or year.
Chris offers the caveat that businesses avoid relying on “tips” expecting them to fix the root cause of their issues. Tips don’t mean much if you do not know how to effectively use them to your advantage. An issue here is that new consultants, regardless of their desire to do well, may not be able to better their performance in part because they do not know how to apply tips to their everyday practices. Training should be consistent and have follow ups as this provides context on how to apply what they have learned.
The Bottom Line
Investing in training through your budget, culture, and expectations are an investment in your Sales Managers and Sales Consultants. This is because, instead of offering ineffective tips, cutting necessary ad-spend, or removing vendors, you are tackling the root cause instead of simply creating more chaos along the way. With this addressed, tips and any other supplementary resources can be applied as relevant add-ons to the foundation of training. This empowers teams to sell more and positively impact profitability while learning the skills required to hone their skills and acumen for their future success.
About Chris Vitale
Chris is the Vice President and Partner of Phone Ninjas, an organization that provides ongoing coaching through customer calls, one-on-one sessions, call scoring, and virtual coaching sessions. Chris manages a team of 55 account managers through innovative strategies and transformation, contributing to a positive landscape for sustainable growth and the continued success of his teams.