Improve ROI on Sales Training Using Performance Analytics
Sales Training is an Investment
Data from ATD State of Sales Training Research Shows That the Average Annual Sales Training Spending Per Person Has Reached $2,326
Earning a return on this investment requires measurement reflecting the full spectrum of a sales training initiative. Simply put: What gets measured, gets managed.
Consider research published by the Harvard Business Review that shows sales leaders using measurement outperform those who don’t on quota attainment by 12%. As a result, metric-driven initiatives “increase profitability by as much as 25% over sustained periods,” according to McKinsey.
Analytics, however, are more than a way to verify outcomes at the end of training. Effective measurement guides the training process as it unfolds. Sales professionals discover where they need to focus their attention and where their blind spots reside. Measurement is for the learner as much as it’s for the leadership.
Despite these benefits, many selling organizations fail to generate and measure data. Often, the data sits in disparate systems. This separation makes it difficult to connect the data to business impacts. Moreover, the available data represents different levels of accuracy, forcing the user to qualify the analytics first. Even after meeting these challenges, it is difficult to know what to measure.
Here, we simplify the process by segmenting measurement into what we call the E3 of learning metrics. These three sections are:
Engagement: How are learners progressing through training?
Experience: How memorable is training, and how excited are learners to participate?
Effect: How has training improved business outcomes and skill adoption?
The engagement level of sales training measurement is critical because learning is no longer an event. It is an ongoing journey. The question, however, is how an organization accurately measures engagement.
A company can get an overview of engagement by looking at the percentage of the addressable population that is enrolled in training. Leaders can build on this measurement by examining activation, which is expressed as a percentage of enrollment. This figure shows how many participants are using the training platform. These two data points work together because a high engagement offers no value without a strong activation rate. Organizations can go even further by looking at completion to determine how far trainees have moved through training.
Enrollment, activation, and completion are all valuable metrics when measuring engagement. However, leaders today have the option to examine more granular-level metrics. At Richardson, we’re helping companies perform more research and visualization around:
Progression measurement goes beyond simply tracking if a participant has completed a course or not. Instead, its about tracking the percentage of completion toward a milestone and pace of completion.
This detail is important as participants engage in training that extends over several months. At Richardson, our digital training platform asks participants for 10 minutes of their time each day. Therefore, our progression measurement shows if the learner is on track and moving at the right pace through these daily increments. With this information, leaders can course-correct in real-time, when it matters.
Frequency measurement indicates a participant’s general level of activity by showing the average session time when they were last logged in, and the number of days between activities.
Channel metrics visualize how many learners are logged on via desktop vs. mobile. This information matters because leaders within a highly distributed field sales organization are likely to seek more mobile engagement given that sales professionals are traveling. In contrast, leaders at inside sales organizations may want to see more desktop usage.
A good learner experience matters because it drives skill adoption and ultimately better outcomes. Therefore, experience measurements should not be “one and done.” Leaders need to understand the learner’s long-term satisfaction with the training program.
Experiential measurements can include metrics like net promoter score, commitment to change, course rating, qualitative sentiment, and confidence. Each of these measurements provides timely info for managers who want to ensure skills will survive into selling situations.
For example, confidence is a good predictor of how likely a sales professional is to use a skill in front of a customer. For this reason, we have built-in an ongoing confidence rating throughout training. Additionally, qualitative sentiment offers feedback in the form of free response text from sales professionals in the field. This data allows managers to analyze and interpret the data. If an organization sees its net promoter score falling, it can turn to qualitative sentiment for the detail revealing why the figure is low.
There are several ways to measure effect. This is an area in which the traditional Kirkpatrick training evaluation model is strong. The Kirkpatrick model evaluates training effectiveness across four levels: engagement, knowledge retention, behavior change, and business results. We often think of effect as the business impact. However, the Kirkpatrick model reminds us that we only reach business impact when we have a high degree of confidence in the other three levels of data.
At Richardson, we bring together several measurements like baseline assessment, knowledge retention, formative in-process assessments, summative assessments, and, finally, business impact data.
Learn more about effective sales training measurement by downloading the complimentary ebook: A Guide to Measuring Sales Training Effectiveness
For example, we equip organizations to measure knowledge retention by comparing the average number of
correct responses to a question on the first attempt with the average number
of correct answers on the following attempts. We also show behavior change by
comparing learners’ baseline assessments to their final checks. Questions like
these go beyond traditional multiple-choice responses. Instead, learners are
exposed to scenario-based questions that gauge their instincts about how to
respond to selling situations.
Sales Performance Analytics
Our analytics solution does more than simply capture learning data, we offer a connected approach that lines up, normalizes, and makes sense of data from various sources to tell the whole story.Learn More
The challenge with using data to expose learning impact is that the metrics often live in different sources. Tracking each of them is labor-intensive. Querying each system, then attempting to line up the data over time, demands too much time.
At Richardson, we strongly recommend visualizing the data to make it more actionable. Doing so allows leaders to query and coalesce the information so they can use it to make informed business decisions. Our Power BI dashboard clearly and concisely presents data revealing the effectiveness of learning on our Accelerate digital learning platform.
These dashboards provide answers to three key questions:
- What is the level of engagement among learners?
- What experiences are learners having?
- What impact and effectiveness is learning providing?
At Richardson, we’ve used these three key measurement categories of engagement, experience, and effect to empower both learners and managers to track and refine training.
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