A false economy? Insights on training and development from Mark Fulford - Hg

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Mark Fulford, Operating Partner, Hg

I read an interesting comment recently that suggested the average cost to hire an employee was £10-15k yet the budget to train them was around £2k a year.

We can debate the numbers, and I think many training budgets are much lower in reality. The sentiment however is an accurate reflection of what I see generally in the market. Many organisations will use recruitment agencies to source candidates, others will use in house resource. If we include hiring time, management time and non-productive time during the first weeks/months, there is no doubt that hiring is an expensive process.

If we then compare the money that’s invested in onboarding the employee properly and ongoing training and development, it seems the purse strings are tighter. In sales, you should be hiring for attitude and experience and then investing in ensuring they are up to speed quickly on the value proposition of your company (including insight and industry knowledge), the ideal sales process to follow and who to leverage in the organisation amongst other things.

Yet I see ad hoc processes with no clear ownership, reps being asked to wade through the SharePoint mountain on the S: drive once they join with no direction or guidance and one-off PowerPoint heavy workshops/bootcamps that are forgotten in days if not weeks. As they become more experienced they continue to work inefficiently. I have personally seen far too many hours wasted on searching for relevant material for a customer presentation or people searching for good insight to leverage.

So why is this? Is the P&L driving this behaviour or is it like this because that’s the way it’s always been done. Of course, it’s likely that effort to make the sales teams more effective is coming from more than just Learning & Development (Marketing, sales enablement, product development to mention a few)

There is another way and many firms are waking up to this. Don’t just stare at the training budget or marketing costs but look at your ramp up times, attrition, sales velocity and lost sales due to poorly directed and non-educated sales people and inefficient processes. Take a holistic view on how to leverage the various pots more intentionally and measure the impact. Help your sales teams leverage their energy and drive with relevant content AND approaches that will make them successful and your top line will be rewarded.

Onboard well, think carefully what your reps need, perhaps even ask them (I know I’m reaching here) and continue to invest wisely and not only will you be hitting full productivity quicker, you will be avoiding the dreaded unwanted attrition that happens all so often in the first 12 months, not to mention driving quota attainment across the board.

Now, back to searching for that useful slide deck I saw once……

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