Sales Training Success: Your organization just poured big money into a sales training program and now you want to see how much it moved the needle. When it comes to measuring the success of sales training, looking at sales results immediately following a training program is short-sighted. In this installment of SmarterSelling TV, we take a look at what you really need to think about when evaluating the success of sales training.
What does it mean to say that your training program was successful? I bet if you asked most managers what it means to have a successful training program, they would say that success comes when they see a clear swing in financial performance after reps complete a training program. But is this really realistic? I mean, how long will it take before the training begins to pay off? This is an important question because it might take months or even years to really pay off in a rep's sales numbers. So looking at immediate sales results following a training program is a bit short-sighted when it comes to measuring training program success. Let’s talk about other ways that success can be measured. First, let’s think of all the different benefits training can provide to the company and to the sales people themselves. Of course, as we just mentioned, good sales training should have some impact on financial results. But sales training does other things for the sales force as well.
Good sales training raises sales force morale
For example, good sales training raises the moral of the sales force. It sends a message that “we care about you and your development” to your reps. It also allows reps to come together to share stories of success and failure. Ultimately, reps feel more confident because training helps them realize that others in the company are struggling with similar issues but that there is away to get better at them. Because of this increased moral, turnover is reduced and the company is able to grow young reps into high-performing veterans.
Good sales training teaches basic knowledge
Good sales training teaches basic knowledge. Sometimes the goal of training programs is to simply get the reps up-to-speed on new products or services. Of course, reps are not going to go out sell millions of dollars of these new products right away; it takes time. But the important thing is that reps know the in’s and out’s of these new products.
Good sales training helps change behaviors
Other times, the goal of training is to get reps to change the way they sell. In other words, maybe you want to get your reps to build stronger relationships with customers through increased entertainment. Or, maybe you want the reps to start using the CRM system in a new way so that better information about each customer is captured. The point is that good training is often about changing behaviors that will lead to results in the future.
4 questions to ask when measuring sales training success
With these benefits in mind, managers should ask themselves four questions in measuring the success of sales training programs. These questions are…
1. Did the sales training improve the attitudes of the reps that went through the program?
2. Did the sales training improve the basic knowledge my reps have about customers, products, the industry, etc.?
3. Did the sales training change the way my reps go about their day to day activities? Did it change behaviors?
4. And yes, managers should ask, Can we see higher performance in our sales reps due to completion of our training program?
We believe the best sales training is customized to the audience. To learn more about our sales training methodology, find out what it takes to make sales training effective.
About The Author
Researcher, consultant, and sales leader, Brian uses a data-driven approach to drive sales effectiveness. His clients include leading sales organizations in financial services, technology, healthcare, and professional services. Using insight from academics and change management, Brian helps senior leaders and sales enablement teams understand and succeed in today’s more demanding market. His research has been published in Harvard Business Review and other outlets.