Professional Development Reimbursement

Do you have reps? Are they all awesome? Do you ever wonder about the ROI of outside help vs. internal training? Have you ever been asked to contribute to professional development? Have you dug into real life examples?

First, me. In the early 80's, after a decade in sales, I decided to take advantage fo my employer's tuition reimbursement benefit and get my degree. They reimbursed 50% for a C, 75% for a B and 100% for an A. I finished in 3 years while working full time, got all A's and moved on a few months after getting my degree. I thought it was a cool benefit and was surprised at how many people did not partake.

Around that same time, I signed up for and paid for Sandler Sales Training. I did not get reimbursed and in hindsight realize that it may have been the best investment in myself that I ever made. Those of us that paid for our training used to make fun of the people who had been 'sent'. i.e. their company was paying. We thought that we were more committed because we were paying. (Maybe.)

When I started as a sales consultant, I catered to salespeople and businesspeople that invested in themeselves rather than getting their company to pay.. My early clients were a mix.

This guy (and his partner) paid for themselves.

Pete paid, Jeetu got reimbursed.

This guy got TOTALLY reimbursed. What an ROI!

OK. So, if you're a rep, how do you get reimbursed if it's not already there?

And if you're an executive, how do you assure a good ROI?

Rep: First of all, if you're not looking to up your total comp by six figures in the next year, go back to the drawing board. If you are, go to your boss and say, "I want to up my game, significantly and double my income. I'm considering outside help at a cost of $12-$25K. If I could double or triple my sales in the next year, would you be willing to reimburse me for the $12-25K? Then, agree to what you need to do the get reimbursed. 50% for a C. 75% for a B. 100% for an A.

Sales Exec: A few years ago, a founder who hired me told me that I wasn't everybody's cup of tea, but he was trying to acquire the taste. Nobody (not even me) can fix everybody. So, if one of your reps comes to you asking for you to help with outside help, don't get your panties in a twist. Figure out what they would need to do to make it make financial sense and keep in mind that changes don't disappear as soon as you get an ROI. So count on multiple years. Try 50% for 150%. 75% for 175%. 100% for 200%.

If you're a rep or a VP and you want to talk to me about this, let me know.

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