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Financial Training for Sales

This week I slipped in a quick trip to New York for some training at LinkedIn. This was the second version of a new program we are working with LinkedIn training their sales group. Yes, that’s right finance and sales training. Not your typical match. Over the years, BLI has worked with several sales groups. It turns out that a sales representative calling on large public companies can greatly enhance their success by better understanding their financials. Once a good sale rep understands the financials better in a business, they are better equipped to partner with their client as a business partner rather than a sales person.

Over the years I have done several keynote and conference sessions for sales teams. LinkedIn has decided to really focus on better Financial Intelligence by spending two days getting conversant in finance. It turns out that sales executives are much like all the executives we work with; they don’t know how to read financial statements as well as they should. The idea is after a solid two-day foundation the LinkedIn sales leaders will be able to apply their learning to their clients.

I really enjoyed this session. The New York group was right with me the whole way. In my experiences with LinkedIn I find the class attendees to be very bright and inquisitive. This group was great that way.

Income Statement, Profit & Loss, P&L StatementOne of the key things I taught this time around was what I call the Big 5 on Wall Street and with investors. I figure if a sales rep can master and track the Big 5 for a public client then that is a good start to understanding how they are doing financially and with their investors. This class really bought into that concept and looked at those numbers for their clients.

Oh by the way, the big five (in no particular order) are:

  1. Revenue and revenue growth
  2. Earnings per share or EPS
  3. EBITDA or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization
  4. Free Cash Flow
  5. Return on Equity (ROE) usually for low debt tech businesses and banks or Return on Total Capital (ROTC)/Return on Net Assets (RONA) for manufacturing and most other businesses


The idea is when all of these numbers look good and are growing, the company is strong and the stock should do great. One the other hand, when these numbers look bad the company may be in trouble and have a decline in its stock. Certainly a sales rep could benefit from knowing their client’s financial situation when working with them.

Jordan, our new sales rep for the new BLI online training product, came with me on this trip. First, so he could see me train and second, to reinforce some of these concepts. I think this trip hit well on both.

Being in New York we hit the usual favorite Thai Select in Hell’s Kitchen. Always consistently good. We also tried a newer place BarBacon, good but not as good as the first visit. If you go, the fish tacos and all of the bacon infused deserts are great. Finally, we were able to hit Les Misérables one night. It turned out to be a surprisingly great rendition of the Broadway classic. Having seen that play a few times on Broadway and on the West End in London, this was one of the best. Great set, great acting and singing. Now it’s time for a well needed break. Be back at it in mid-August in Singapore. Until then be happy and be good.

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