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May 14, 2019

Capturing the ROI of Sales Training

Effective training is critical to the success of your salespeople, so it’s important to understand whether you’re getting the kind of return you expect from your training efforts.

But assessing the ROI of sales training is often a challenge because the “R” (return)  part is hard to measure. It’s easy to figure out the “I” because the investment is a tangible dollar amount that is budgeted and spent. 

That may be why many companies don’t bother to track the return on their training investments. They know it’s a good idea because they know that a highly skilled workforce is more productive, and that training is how to improve productivity–especially in today’s fast-paced world.

The challenge is that ROI means different things to different people. So how do you measure the ROI of your sales training efforts?  There are many options, several of which are outlined below. Whatever you do, however, it’s critical to decide on a way to evaluate training effectiveness or you’re likely to repeat processes that don’t move the needle.

Training Event-specific ROI

Some ROI numbers are easier to obtain, particularly as they pertain to on-site meetings. For these, you can factor in hard numbers like travel, facilities and materials costs, external subject-matter expert fees, etc.  However, you should also include softer numbers like the opportunity cost of lost selling time, and you’ll have a reliable number for an ROI baseline. For example, Finastra saved over $170,000 in training expenses.

Results-focused ROI

There are other ways to measure the impact of sales training that are less about ROI on training itself and more about the impact of training–increased productivity and results. These can include:

  • Call-to-meeting ratios
  • Number of meetings
  • Duration of opportunities in sales cycle stages
  • Time to first deal
  • Win rates
  • Number of new customers
  • Average deal size
  • Overall revenue impact
  • Market share

For example, Apptio improved their time to first deal significantly by changing their training approach.

Non-financial Metrics

Some organizations measure training effectiveness by asking for feedback. While feedback is important, it may be misleading as the only metric, especially if your training forces people out of their comfort zones. And not all organizations keep track of participants’ feedback about training programs.

It may be easier to measure on return on expectations (ROE), which looks at whether sales reps are doing what they have learned. The idea here is to use sales objectives you already have in place and measure whether what your reps are doing is getting documented results.

You can take this a step further by asking trainees to commit to a tactical change post-training.

Although geared at tech training, sales organizations can also benefit from the approach of one former CIO, who asked a series of questions:

  • Did the training solved specific issues that couldn’t be solved before?
  • Did it deliver hands-on skills staff could put to use immediately?
  • Were reps more informed about new technologies and solutions that might benefit the company in the future?

Others find they achieve better return on their investment when their sales training reflects current, real-world applications that reps can relate to, instead of the theoretical.

Start With a Positive Approach

Whatever approach you decide to take to measure the ROI of your sales training, it’s critical to decide how you’ll measure the impact of training before you start.  Why? Because it’s much harder to measure impact if you haven’t figured out how beforehand. fact.

You’re also certain to get better results by creating a receptive mindset for training before it begins and providing a supportive environment once it’s done.

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