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October 3, 2019

5 Ways to Boost the ROI of Your Sales Training

Every organization seeks a healthy return on its investments, but when it comes to boosting or even measuring the ROI of sales training, things can get tricky.

For one thing, it’s not easy to predictively align activities such as training exercises and learning retention with tangible outcomes such as productivity and revenue. Even when this is accomplished, it can be difficult to prove causation instead of mere correlation – e.g., that a newly taught objection-handling response is responsible for closing more deals, rather just the innate talent of your latest batch of new hires.

Still, there’s a solid body of evidence that the following 5 “fundamentals” will help improve the ROI of your sales training efforts:

  1. Choose training that’s proven to work in the field. A common–and often valid–complaint among reps is that a particular sales training course, technique or tip simply doesn’t work in the real world. Ideas that work in the classroom don’t always work in the field, so you should use training content and methods with demonstrated results for your reps, competitors’ reps, or reps from similar organizations in another industry.
  2. Calculate the anticipated ROI. Choosing training with a proven track record should also enable you to roughly calculate the anticipated value. Before you invest, say, a quarter-million dollars in a new-product messaging event, see if you can correlate the investment to a proven outcome–once again, perhaps looking at how competitors or comparable sales teams in different industries have performed under similar circumstances. If the value is likely to produce an additional $100K in sales on a $250K investment, then the training obviously makes little sense.
  3. Enlist the support of managers. Before rolling out a new training initiative, be sure to cultivate the support of sales managers. There are two main reasons for this: first, sales managers will be chiefly responsible for creating the opportunities for reps to practice what they just learned; and second, they will also play a leading role in coaching the reps to ensure that new knowledge is reinforced and applied properly. Ultimately, it’s the sales managers who will either facilitate or block reps’ efforts to apply new learning.
  4. Link specific training activities with specific outcomes. Focus on linking one or two training activities with specific–and adjacent–productivity goals. For example, if you train reps on a new cold-calling script, link that activity to top-of-funnel activities like call-to-conversation conversion rates, not close rates, which is at the bottom. Without identifying a causal relationship between training and specific outcomes, you’re likely to identify dubious relationships that will inhibit your ability to measure true ROI.
  5. Pluck the low-hanging fruit first. For example, there are few easier ways to identify the ROI of sales training than to focus on decreasing time-to-productivity after onboarding or new product launch. Just be sure to establish a baseline before rolling out a new or expanded program so the measurements are accurate. The faster your reps start closing deals, the higher the ROI you’ll see from your onboarding and launch training programs.

Following these five fundamentals should not only increase the ROI from sales training, but also make it easier for you to justify future spending on these programs. Ready to take the next step? Get your copy of the “4 Ways to Quantify The ROI of Sales Training Technology” eBook.

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