The best sales organizations invest in creating a culture of continuous learning. But how do you know when you are getting a good return on investment, or ROI, on your sales training?
After all, sales training costs can be expensive, and the results may not show up in the bottom line for several months, quarters – or even years.
Here’s what you need to know about how to track your sales training ROI and ultimately determine your program’s effectiveness.
How Much Do Companies Invest in Sales Training?
Sales training is essential for every company and professional to grow.
Companies invested about $2,020 per salesperson in the 2021 fiscal year for sales training in the last year, according to research by ATD. Why are companies investing that much? Because investing in practical sales training efforts can positively impact your company’s bottom line, including sales growth and employee retention.
Adopting and investing in the right training program also depends on the current trends in the economy and your industry. For example, since the pandemic, virtual selling has become the norm.
How to Measure ROI on Sales Training
Calculating your ROI on sales training is both an art and a science. To measure your ROI on sales training, obtain the data on the change in profits related to the sales training divided by the overall cost of the training.
When calculating your ROI, start with the following formula:
Changes in Profits Related to Training ÷ Cost of Training
When you start to look at the metrics and KPIs that help you measure your ROI, pay particular attention to the average sales cycle length, percentage of successful closed deals, percentage of salespeople meeting their quotas, time to competency, and the total revenue generated. All of these factors will shape your calculations.
5 Keys for Producing Strong ROI on Your Sales Training
As a sales leader and now consultant for high-performing sales teams, I’ve found five essential elements for generating strong ROI on sales training.
Clarify Your Goals Upfront
Start with your team and organization’s goals. Communicate what you expect from each team member—including what your team can expect from you as the leader. Clear expectations are more easily achievable throughout and post-training. Employees will also often embrace the opportunity to help the company evolve while elevating their own skill sets.
Your goals are the baseline to ensuring your training effectiveness. Establishing clear goals is the first step towards getting a solid ROI from sales training.
Customize Your Content
Now it’s time to reflect the same clarity of purpose in your training curriculum. Develop a training plan that aligns with your current sales methodology, practices and sales goals.
This process requires you to perform your due diligence and learn what your team really needs. Decide if you can keep the training in-house or if outsourcing would work best.
Developing a training plan requires research, time, and understanding your company’s long-term objectives. This task can be challenging to complete internally, especially with a small team. While many in-house systems can manage sales training development and skills development, outsourcing sales training may help leaders save time and ensure its effectiveness.
Your curriculum needs to be:
- Up to date. The sales landscape has rapidly changed over the past few years. What worked 10 years ago will fail in today’s fast-paced environment.
- Actionable. Equip your team with skills that can be implemented immediately in the real world rather than concentrating on theory. Sales professionals want to be in the field. Avoid drawn-out training sessions that cut into valuable selling time.
Focus on creating a program that empowers your team to retain the information you present. Keep in mind that, with a traditional training setup, most people only remember about 10% of the data shared after three days versus retention of 60% when they are presented with a visual.
Prepare for Success
You want to set your sales managers and sales reps up for success. To do that, you must determine the areas they would like to or should improve. One of the best ways to identify these areas is through a pre-assessment.
These tools can help team members identify their biggest challenges and pay attention to any gaps preventing them from reaching their potential. Implementing these assessments opens up the opportunity for team members to become more engaged with their training and get the most out of their sessions.
Reinforce Continous Learning
Post-training, your salespeople can start to put what they learned into practice as they get back into the field.
However, we are human. That means we may forget a thing or two, especially when faced with new concepts. Supporting resources after a training program—such as articles, videos, and exercises—can be used as guidance to ensure success when your sales team returns to the field.
In addition to tangible supporting resources, the support of your leadership team is vital while your salespeople are out adapting what they learned in training to real-life scenarios. Sales team members should also look to their leadership teams for more advice and guidance.
Find Ways to Have Fun
Just because you are training to gain new skills doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! The days of sitting down for hours and watching videos hosted by a monotone narrator are no more.
The training sessions your team will remember are the ones that get people to engage and retain content while enjoying the work they are doing—so get creative!
Create challenges for your sales team to solve or mini-competitions where staff members can compete for prizes, trivia, and more. Celebrate their successes and reinforce the material if they get something wrong. Your team is more likely to retain the information that they learn when the training stimulates their minds and creates an experience that encourages active participation.
Your company wants the best from your sales team. A company culture rooted in personal and professional development allows salespeople to challenge themselves and improve their skills every day.
Implementing new ideas and skills into your company’s daily best practices while measuring the impact is ideal to ensure the best possible ROI in sales training.
Ryan Estis & Associates is a training and development organization helping companies, leaders, sales people and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance in the new economy. We offer keynotes, live classroom training and online learning that blends interaction, energy and actionable content designed to elevate performance. Contact us for programming inquiries and assistance determining the curriculum that could best support your learning and development objectives.