Unbound Growth Blog

Why wait to invest in your own development?

Posted by Carole Mahoney

 4/12/17 4:35 PM

Over the past few weeks, we have been working with a team of salespeople and their manager at a large SaaS software company. Doesn’t seem like that would be so unusual does it? Happens all the time that an outside trainer or coach would work with a sales manager to help them become a better coach to develop their people.

Here is the twist. Not a dime of their company’s money was spent. Each member of the team opted in and has paid for themselves. Why? Why not wait to get their company to pay for it?

To help answer that, here are a few exchanges I have had with others on the same topic:

#1: “...was promoted from very basic appointment setting to being an account manager ...learning a lot, already closed a couple deals. I was thinking of reaching out for some coaching once I see how everything goes…”

My reply: “2 questions: 1- what makes you think you need coaching? and 2- why wait to see if you mess it up before you fix the answer to #1?”

#2: “Leadership is as frustrated as I am and in my experience this is not the time to ask, I fear it will fall on deaf ears…”

My reply: “Why wait until the time is right to ask? What happens if they say no, then what? Does that change anything? Will the right time be when you are looking for your next job? Or maybe there is a little of #2 , #5, or #7 happening and there isn't a right time?

I hope this doesn't make you too upset, but personally, if I am in a rocking or sinking boat, like it sounds like you are, I'm not going to wait for things to settle down before I invest in a life vest...

It's your choice which path you want to go down- take control of your own development or wait and give control of your development to someone else. But if it is the later, you probably aren't ready and this isn't a fit after all.”

One client recently described the decision to invest in himself as an investment in his ability to generate an income and provide for his family. This goes beyond the benefit of the company.

Another new client described it as a way to ensure he had the freedom to go anywhere and do anything and that his family had that same freedom. It’s not about making quota.

Disclaimer: It's not that I don't believe companies should invest in the development of their sales people- I do. It is what will retain top talent more than anything else. But many will say there isn't budget, or that they need to prove they can get results. 

So what if companies allowed a reimbursement for professional development? Want to do an online training course on your own? Or hire a personal coach? Or use a technology? Pay for it yourself and if you improve results by at least X, we'll cover it, or half of it. Giving employees some control over their own personal development gives them a sense of ownership, accountability, and for those that are driven- a reason to stay and continue to grow there.

If you are a salesperson wondering if there is something you can do to improve your sales results, check out the weekly #livesaleslab every Tue at Noon EST where we strategize, role play, analyze recorded calls or emails and answer your questions. 

Topics: sales development

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