The Complete Guide to Getting Buy-In for Mobile Sales Training
You’ve done all of the research, talked to the right people, and you’re sold: to thrive in today’s mobile-first world, your reps need sales training on their tablets and smartphones. But now comes the hard part: how do you justify this decision to your boss, and convince your executives that prioritizing mobile sales training will help move the needle?
In my experience, customized businesses cases have always been the most effective in bringing a large group of executives up to speed. As Inkling’s VP of Sales, I’m often on both sides of business cases—being pitched ideas and pitching to others—so I have a pretty good understanding of what executives like to hear. Below, I’ve included some ideas to guide your own business case and help you speak their language.
Set the stage.
Why mobile? By now, the answer to that question may sound obvious to you, but it’s a good starting place. No doubt everyone has read something about the rise of mobile, but it’s one thing to consider mobile usage as a consumer fad, and yet another to understand its potential impact on your business. It’s worth pointing out some statistics here, reminding your audience that many of your reps are already on their mobile devices for work, and that number is only growing. For example:
- As of 2014, Americans now spend more time on their mobile devices than they do their desktop computers.
- By 2020, 90 percent of the world’s population over six years old will own a smartphone.
- For 79% of American workers, using mobile devices to stay connected to the workplace is viewed as a somewhat or strongly positive development.
Talk numbers on the scoreboard.
In some form or another, all sales leaders keep a running tally of total rep headcount, turnover, and productivity. They’re the three biggest levers to exceeding their goals. Any solution that addresses one of those things would make my ears perk up, and if you can promise more than one, then I’m really excited.
So, after you’ve set the stage with a few mobile statistics, start there: “Mobile sales training will not only allow reps to sell more, but will decrease ramp time and significantly impact productivity and turnover.”
Drive home the message.
It’s one thing to talk the talk, but you need to show how mobile content actually does that. Come prepared with an organized list so that everyone is clear on the benefits. For example:
1. Reps will be productive faster.
With better content that allows reps to learn at their own pace, they’re more likely to return to the training material and absorb more of the information.
2. Reps will close more deals.
Having the right information at the right time can mean the difference between a deal closed and one that extends into next month or, worst of all, is lost altogether.
3. Reps will close bigger deals.
Through better education and the most up-to-date information, your reps can tie the value of your solution to the price, and won’t be forced to pull the discount lever.
4. You’ll experience lower (regrettable) turnover.
When a rep fails, it’s more likely that the company has failed the rep than the rep having failed the company. By giving your salesforce the right tools, reps who had potential (but little guidance) will succeed and have greater incentive to stay at your company. At the same time, good sales training will also shine a light on the reps that don’t have the skillset to be successful, drawing a clearer line between good and bad hires.
Bring supporting data.
Sure, this all might sound great, but it’s not valid without data. Make sure that you come equipped with supporting data for each point to back up your claim:
1. To become productive faster, it’s easy to find moments in the day where reps reach for their smartphone or tablet.
Think you check your phone often? A study conducted by Tecmark found that the average user picks up their phone a staggering 221 times per day to do everything from check Facebook to answer email. For diligent reps, that number is only higher.
2. Studies show that investing in training yields high returns.
According to a Hackett Benchmarking and Research report, companies who invested $1,500 per employee in training saw a 24% higher gross profit margin and 218% higher revenue per employee than those who only spent $125.
3. The biggest inhibitor to sales success is the inability to communicate value messages.
As it was in 2013 and 2012, communicating value messages was the biggest inhibitor to sales success in 2014, says the MHI Research Institute. Without the right content, your reps will struggle to tie the value of your product to its price, leading to more discounted deals and, overall, unsatisfied reps.
4. Retaining good reps saves your company millions.
Most sales reps have had no formal training, which means they need the right training to reach their potential. Without it, many reps move on and can leave huge gaps in your quota. Consider how much revenue each of your reps is tasked with bringing in, and what it would mean for the company to lose them. Not only are you out potentially millions of dollars, but you have to spend thousands on hiring and recruiting. Salary aside, those costs can add up to $114, 957 per new hire!
Demonstrate the risk of maintaining status quo.
Despite sound evidence, there’s always the chance that executives will argue that processes are humming along just fine; what’s the risk in waiting a few more years? This is your opportunity to address the cost of not implementing mobile sales training. It’s somewhat hard to calculate, but the biggest cost will come from reps that haven’t ramped quickly enough and aren’t closing enough deals.
To give you a good idea, Sequoia Capital calculated the difference between a start-up’s first year of revenue with reps who required 180 days to full productivity versus those that only took 60 days. In the model that forecasted 180 days, the start-up earned $6.7 million in revenue, while the 60 day ramp time saw $20.7 million in revenue—a $14 million increase in revenue! By not working to decrease ramp time, your company is losing revenue today.
Name competitors who have seen success.
To make your case even stronger, name similarly-sized companies that are already seeing success with mobile sales enablement. For example, here are some results that we’ve seen from our customers:
1. In just four weeks, one of our customers rolled out eight comprehensive, engaging training guides to their reps’ iPads and iPhones.
2. Instead of adding budget, one customer simply used the money that they had previously spent on printing and shipping sales binders. They didn’t spend any additional money to buy new software.
3. After implementing Inkling’s platform, one customer saw a 200% spike in employee satisfaction.
Present your options.
After your boss is on board for mobile, it’s time to begin the (likely ongoing) conversation around solutions and budgeting. First, start by identifying existing expenses, such as money spent on paper-based materials. You might even advocate for switching to BYOD, to leverage your reps’ personal tablets and smartphones. With that money saved alone, your boss might have room for a bigger budget than he or she imagined.
Then, give a rough outline of the different mobile solutions available that you’ve thought through and vetted:
Agencies take content production off your hands, but are often costly and don’t allow for easy updates on a whim. They’re best for building one-off mobile applications that don’t need a lot of re-use or integration.
2. In-house development.
Your IT team is already burdened with application and security requests; odds are, they aren’t going to be happy with another one. Certainly present this as a potential cost-saving option, but be sure to have your IT team provide a realistic calculation of the time they’d need to spend building and maintaining your mobile app.
When presenting your software option to executives, make sure that you point out how it addresses security concerns, calculates content ROI, and provides a user-friendly, intuitive interface for your training team. Additionally, help your audience understand how your chosen software company will specifically understand and address your needs, and continue to invest in their platform to solve ongoing problems.
The bottom line:
As you’re well aware, ending your presentation well is key to sealing the deal. Here’s what I recommend: tell your executives that, if they can tie just one new deal back to mobile training, any money spent has been well worth the cost. It will more than pay for itself. And odds are, you’ll be able to prove much more than that. Along with more revenue, add to that happier, more engaged employees, and you have a winning solution.
If you’d like us to put together a customized business case for your own company, request a demo from our sales team.