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How Effective are Your Sales Training Programs?

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eileen-krantzrichardson-comMarch 8, 2016Blog

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We measure almost everything in our lives. Starting at birth, a baby’s height, weight, and length are measured. Parents count fingers and toes. They count age by weeks and months and, finally, years. In school, learning is measured by written tests and fitness levels by activity tests.

In sports, we keep score and statistics. Moneyball analysis has become a widely used strategy in evaluating baseball players. When we travel, we measure distance traveled and time to destination using maps and GPS. We wear Fitbits, keep food diaries, and use apps to track calorie intake.

The point is that we track just about everything. Measurement is an integral part of our lives. How can it not be an element of especially when so much is at stake, considering both dollars spent and the potential for performance improvement?

According to recent data, more than 55% of companies spend in excess of $2,000 per employee on training each year (CSO Insights). reported that, for 2013, the most recent numbers published, companies in North America spent approximately $142 billion dollars on training; globally, the investment in training was approximately $307 billion.

These are significant numbers. So, when someone asks me why they should have a strategy for measuring training effectiveness, my short answer is, “Why wouldn’t you?” How could any organization not grab the opportunity to measure progress made, or the lack of results, when committing big dollars to implement sales training programs for their people?

To start, and before implementing sales training programs, you need a baseline. This helps to establish where you’re at now and to make sure that you get to your ultimate destination, with all employees improving their skills and adopting the desired behaviors.

Consider this truism: what gets measured gets done. Measurement shines a light on what is important. Just knowing that management is observing, monitoring, or assessing behavior will change it. Measuring training effectiveness provides an additional value to the learning for individuals; they know that proficiency matters.

Again, let’s look at recent data. studied strategies for sustaining the impact of sales training programs:

  • Organizations that were “ineffective” or “somewhat effective” at sustainment put nearly half of their budget into delivery of the training, at 46%. The other half was split between planning, at 27%; evaluation, 14%; and sustainment, 13%.
  • Organizations that were “effective” or “very effective” at sustainment allocated their funds differently. Delivery of a sales training program consumed just 31% of budget. Planning was another 31%. That left more than a third of the budget for evaluation, at 17%, and sustainment, at 21%.
What these numbers reveal is a serious misperception among the first group of companies — that the delivery of sales training programs is the most important part of the learning process. Maybe these companies decide not to focus as much on measurement because they know (or fear) that a month after sales training programs begin, the majority of what was taught may be forgotten.

What we at Richardson Sales Performance know about learning and adoption of knowledge and behavior change is that training will not stick unless it’s put into practice immediately, reinforced regularly, and made part of the daily routine. True change and transformation take a thoughtful approach, discipline, buy-in, and a regular cadence of communication and training reinforcement to achieve results.

How will you know you’ve achieved this desired state unless you measure?

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