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August 24, 2017

The Hidden ROI of Sales Training

Second in a series of posts about the ROI of sales training.

We need to close the gap between the tremendous value sales training teams deliver, and the persistent perception that sales training sucks. First, we have to reinvent those aspects of traditional sales training that DO suck – clunky technology, sporadic death-by-PowerPoint training events, poor access to internal expertise, etc. That’s why we built Allego, BTW.

But that’s not all. We must also more rigorously assess the business value that sales training creates. Measuring ROI lets you separate what works from what doesn’t, prove your team’s impact, and be a more effective champion for initiatives and resources.

The first blog post and video in this series described the general state of sales training ROI measurement as, um, let us say “embryonic.” Most sales training teams track business benefit in an ad hoc manner, for example, by capturing anecdotes from the field about specific deals attributed to training or content. Fortunately, more systematic techniques exist for robustly assessing business impact. Control groups, for example, are a straightforward and well understood tool.

Most efforts to measure ROI focus too narrowly. Activity and engagement metrics, while important, aren’t actually any type of “R.” Cost savings, particularly related to travel, is the easiest and most commonly measured type of ROI (here’s a post about it). And it’s “hard” dollars, the kind CFOs love. But if you stop there, you’re selling your team’s impact far too short. You’ll miss entire categories of real business value your team probably already delivers. Specifically:

  • Revenue growth How many CROs invest in sales training content or technology just to save costs? None that I know. Better sales performance is the main goal. But measuring revenue upside is harder than tracking cost savings. So few sales training teams try.
  • Risk reduction Reducing the risk of compliance violations drives a lot of sales training across medical device, financial services, pharmaceutical and other regulated industries. But rarely do teams attempt to quantify any financial value. Furthermore, all industries face business risks that sales training ameliorates, such as execution risk, planning risk, and brand erosion.
  • Employee wellbeing and engagement For us here at Allego, and for most of the sales learning pros who use our software, helping salespeople succeed is intrinsically rewarding. But did you know that having happier, more engaged sellers lowers costs and boosts revenue?

In the upcoming posts, I’ll dive into each of these types of business impact in order to help sales training teams broaden their view of the value they deliver. I’ll focus on the ROI Allego’s sales learning platform provides, but the points apply more broadly to sales training in general.

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