Does sales training really work? Can you figure out an ROI on the investment? Rapid Learning Institute CEO Stephen Meyer says in Forbes you might as well have asked "to prove unicorns don't exist."
Among other credentials, I have a technical diploma in Operations Management...the discipline that trains you on how to develop Key Performance Indicators, ROI calculations and performance measures of all kinds. And as Meyers shares in his Forbes article, even *I* can't tell you how to mathematically figure out whether the investment in sales training is worth it in dollars spent vs dollars earned terms. Sure, I could do some fancy statistics work and get an 'r' factor to separate correlation from causation...but we still wouldn't really know if sales improved or declined because the economy had a hiccup, or the sales training had a fast impact, or another element came into play.
Prove It! Does Sales Training Really Work?
The Forbes article points out some scary stats on how companies go about determining the effectiveness of sales training. Look at how the interest level declines in management's attempt to find out "Does sales training really work?":
1. Nearly every time, management asks how the sales employee feels about the training program.
2. Just over a third of the time, they try to find out whether the salesperson learned something.
3. Less than one time in six(!) do they check if the sales staff are doing the behaviors they learned in the program!
4. And a whopping 97% of the time they cannot map the training to a positive result.
You might react to these numbers by saying, "I'll never get sales training again!" But that would be a mistake. The error lies not in the training, but in management's inability to quantify something that may not be directly quantifiable.
Meyer's real killer question about sales training is: "Do you want a salesforce that consistently deploys selling best-practices that lead to strong results, or an untrained salesforce that lapses in to bad habits that lead to mediocre results?"
And with that, I agree in the strongest possible terms. An untrained salesforce lacks a consistent sales process. 'To manage we must measure'--this is an Operations Management maxim. Without consistency, we cannot measure...or improve. If each member of your sales team is doing their own thing...following their own set of steps or lack thereof...stressing different aspects or techniques and ignoring others...you don't have any consistency. And so you cannot manage. The net results are purely accidental.
Ways To Help Answer "Does Sales Training Really Work"
Australian trainer Sue Barrett says online video training is a great option. I agree: it's effective, cost-saving, frees the student up to learn on their own time, can be easily added to with new content, and makes ongoing reinforcement consistent.
Richard Ruff recently reiterated: "Stop viewing training as an episodic event and start viewing it as an ongoing process." Change is the only consistent factor in the new world of selling, and a one-time attempt at improvement is not going to do the trick. Ruff also supports the idea of video training as an expert way to train new hires.
While quantifying a distinct ROI for sales training may be tough, the fact is without a consistent sales process your team will be conducting scattered, confused and uneven behaviors...leading to scattered, confused and uneven results. The answer to "Does sales training really work?" is the investment in sales training does pay off, with a process you can measure and manage.
>>Jason Kanigan helps companies position themselves with the right Price to gain Power in the marketplace, with which to maximize their Profit. Questions about the value of investing in sales training? Comment below to let us know! And please Like or Share to get this content in front of someone who needs it!<<