January 21, 2021

Boosting the ROI of Your Sales Training Process

Take a moment to consider the sales training program your organization currently has in place. How long does it take your newly onboarded reps to complete? How comprehensive is it — do you largely stick to key skills, or do you factor in some of the more wild-card situations that sellers may encounter? Do you train each new sales agent in one-on-one settings or as groups? Are seasoned sellers on the team involved, or do you oversee training on your own as its manager? And perhaps most importantly, how are you gauging the return on investment for these efforts?

Because it’s critical that onboarding contributes to bottom-line ROI, sales training must be treated as a major sales enablement priority. Let’s examine the key performance indicators that factor into training ROI and how you can boost them.

Establish a rubric

To gauge the success of sales training, you need to set up expectations properly, looking at the KPIs that might pertain to new reps’ understanding of the lessons they’re learning in their orientation sessions.

Some of these data points will come from the activities of early training phases: These might include scores on quizzes testing their knowledge of the orientation curriculum, the results of assessments on their familiarity with your sales enablement software or data detailing their engagement with other training. Other KPIs will not be available right when onboarding starts but have major value later on — lead conversion rate, quota attainment, average purchase value, time directly dedicated to sales tasks and so on.

eLearning Industry pointed out that it can also be valuable to track anecdotal information, such as reps’ adherence to sales scripts or the way they overcome objections. These points aren’t as easy to quantify as conversions, but they can add critical nuance when assessing sales training ROI on a rep-by-rep basis.

Consider real-world applications of training

When examining your programs in the context of sales training ROI, you should be evaluating every technique you teach sellers — and every piece of training content you use — in terms of its concrete real-world value. According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), management (either you or your predecessor) will ideally have already established value for each process or tactic. But depending on the circumstances of your organization or its industry, there’s no guarantee that all of that information is still relevant.

If you can’t correlate every sales technique in your training materials to consistent results, you’ll have to cut out each outdated lesson. This may require a subsequent deep dive into the practices that are trending now, including competitor research to see where they’re succeeding and you aren’t. 

Lean on senior reps and other personnel

Unless you belong to a small organization with an equally small sales team, it’s probably unrealistic for managers to be the only company leaders or employees involved in training new reps. Think of it this way: Your more tenured sales associates have already proven that they can close deals and bring in revenue. It would only be logical to bring them into the onboarding process and share their individual experiences — successes and failures alike — with new hires. It can also be beneficial for rookies to shadow your seasoned reps and get a sense of the day-to-day sales grind. A separate study by the ATD bore this out, finding that salespeople had the best chance of learning when they asked questions of peers and observed them at work.

Additionally, senior sales reps aren’t the only members of the organization who can advise new hires. Employees in other departments that frequently work with sales, such as lead generation, marketing and account management, may have plenty of their own pointers regarding client outreach, attainment and retention.

Look at the math

It’s true that raw financial numbers aren’t the only way to assess the ROI of your sales training program. But at a certain point, you will have to look at how much it costs to maintain whatever initiatives you have in place, and compare that to the generated revenue that you can reasonably attribute to those training efforts. 

Start by looking at the cost of training over the course of a year and the gross revenue during the same period, dividing the latter by the former. Say revenue was $750,000, up 1% from the previous year, and it cost $6,500 to train your newest reps in those 12 months using software and other resources you’ve newly implemented. According to The Retail Doctor, something like that is significant evidence of ROI in itself. If you looked at KPIs such as average sales per new rep or the mean revenue per deal over that same year and saw they were greater than what they were in years past, when you were using different training methods and tools, that’s even further proof of meaningful ROI. 

Understand the value of technology

While the operational changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic don’t mean that in-person sales are definitively obsolete, remote sales — and remote sales training — are immensely important now. It’s reasonable to project they’ll remain vital for the foreseeable future. It’s essential to maximize your use of software and other tech tools that are ideal for remote sales training and enablement.

Showpad’s sales enablement platform offers a comprehensive suite of resources for streamlining and improving your training and selling processes, no matter how physically far apart you and your team members are from one another. Leveraging our solution could be the boost your sales training ROI needs.

Contact us today to learn more about Showpad or request a free demo.