One of the most common questions around supporting inside sales, field sales, or enterprise sales teams is, “How much should I budget for the sales stack?”

Here are some thoughts in no particular order.

  1. Be sure you define your stack specifically based on what your desired outcomes for each tool will be. Be sure to reference (First post) on how to choose the right tools.
  2. Don’t let executives “blame” the sales team for being expensive. My response is simply “no S— sherlock, ain’t nothin free” and so is engineering (especially in the Bay Area)

But since we can’t really say that out loud here is how I would try to couch it.

  1. Pre-Communication Tools & Hardware

    1. Should not be solely seen as a “sales expense”, they are overheard like a desk, chair, etc.
      1. Nobody will believe you, but that is not the point. The point makes them aware there are things that simply have to exist or the company will not succeed just like headsets, computers, etc.
    2. Data resources (sources, tools, etc) Zoominfo, even Navigator again these are like chairs and desks.
    3. Data Entry – Sales reps should not be doing initial data research and entry.
  2. Communication Tools

    1. These are the actual tools in the stack that let the rep do their job.
    2. Outreach, SalesLoft, Gmail, SFDC
  3. Training

    – should be in the budget I often call it a communications tools since that’s what it really is. But it may be wiser to pull this out separately as a line item

Why I separate Pre-Communications and Communications tools are simply this:

Pre Communication Tools are a requirement, heck all of this is a requirement but when people “complain” about the cost of data, they often “blame the sales rep”. It is not the reps fault that Zoominfo and team are geniuses and figured out how to make money. The same for Outreach, Salesloft, Salesforce, and Gainsight

At each of your companies if your CEO’s CFO’s didn’t do the same thing, then they WOULD BE FIRED!

Tell your exec team to stop acting like you are a non-profit while building a sales team but thinking they are Gordon Gecko when approaching the market.

Don’t let people blame reps for their own false belief systems that sales is simple, and easy.

From a budgeting perspective, annually its probably close to 12%-14%. Ask for that, settle for 10%, but don’t show them this article.