It’s no secret that sales training practices have undergone a massive shift in recent years, with many organizations recognizing the value that modern technologies such as mobile and video can bring. However, justifying the additional spend required to implement new training regimes can be a hard sell – especially because sales training ROI can be hard to quantify. Anecdotally, we know the value is there, but how do track and measure it?
With the State of the Union address scheduled for this week, it brought to mind some questions about the current state of sales training, and how business are measuring ROI. As a sales trainer, I’ve recognized a few standard metrics that can help sales trainers champion the benefits of new tools and training techniques. Keep reading to discover the ROI insights we’ve gathered that deliver the most bang for the buck when it comes to more thoroughly capturing and measuring the business impact of sales learning investments
The New Standard in Sales Training ROI
Teams looking to implement new training programs have the potential to revolutionize the way they measure ROI – but it’s all about getting the right systems in place so employee feedback and performance can be easily tracked.
Increased revenue comes from faster proficiency with new sales content, boosting sellers’ competency, and providing better, faster access to relevant content. To put a dollar value on this, sales organizations can capture specific deal impact, before and after metrics upon implementing a new tool, and use A/B testing and control groups to measure against different regions or sales groups.
For the financial industry, where a single deal can bring in millions of dollars, tracking the impact of new training techniques on a specific deal can demonstrate ROI. This can be done by putting a robust win reporting program in place, where teams can more easily capture how that deal was won and identify the knowledge and training that went into it, such as how a specific objection was handled. Concrete examples such as this, when collected on a large scale, can paint a picture of true ROI for a specific training tool or practice.
Another way to track ROI is to identify a specific metric and then track improvements to that metric over time – called lift. Focusing on improvements among low to mid-level performers before and after a specific tool or technique is implemented can be especially telling. For example, a medical device company we work with looked at quota attainment before and after a new training tool was introduced. Region by region, they divided reps into high, mid-level, and low performers and, year-over-year, looked at performance after changes were made to their training programs for insight into how their new training program was performing. Other metrics to measure lift on include pipeline growth, sales productivity, win rate growth and ability to hit quota.
To further confirm that these year-over-year metrics are not inflated by an external influence (for example, industry changes or the closing of a competitor company), a new training tool can be rolled out to a specific group while training in a control group remains the same. This type of ROI tracking is the gold standard for measuring lift and can provide sales organizations with the most conclusive evidence that a training program is (or isn’t) effective. These metrics demonstrate improvement because a certain action was taken, a more meaningful metric than simply tracking anecdotal deal closings or quota attainment.
Hard cost savings provide the most concrete and easy to quantify ROI for sales learning technology. But we hire sales reps to bring home the bacon, not save on the beans! By more rigorously assessing the business value that sales training creates, sales trainers can separate what works from what doesn’t, prove their team’s impact, be a more effective champion for initiatives and win additional resources.
Additionally, when teams sell successfully, they feel more fulfilled and engaged – and having happier, more engaged sellers lowers costs and further boosts revenue. In fact, higher employee engagement within sales, or any other organization, spells greater productivity and better retention – studies show that engaged reps are up to 87% less likely to leave the organization.
Clearly pointing to positive impact lets training and enablement teams more effectively advocate for the tools that will make a real difference. And upon a closer examination, teams may realize they’re delivering even more ROI than they thought!