What happens after sales training is just as important as what happens before and during.
In order to get the most out of training, you need to go into it prepared, and come out of it with a clear sense of direction and some measurable goals.
An all-too-common mistake that many businesses make is to view sales training as an isolated event. Many sales managers are under the false impression that it’s enough to send an employee on a sales course, trusting they’ll learn a few tips and come back to work ready to go.
In practice, sales training requires a comprehensive, multi-step approach in order to be effective, starting with a pre-training team-wide evaluation and finishing with ongoing forecasting and reporting.
There are no shortcuts
There are no shortcuts. Your ability to report on your sales training ROI starts at the very beginning, during the evaluation process, before the training has even taken place. The evaluation/initial audit provides you with an opportunity to assess what’s currently working well – and what’s not – so that you have a benchmark to measure post-training performance against.
During the evaluation, assess your sales team’s growth potential and set some clear, realistic goals (based on calculated projections, not gut feeling). Try to make sure your goals are as specific as possible, and that they’re based on facts and figures as opposed to ideologies (numbers don’t lie). It’s about taking a scientific approach, not leaving anything to chance. The more specific the goals, the easier it will be to measure ROI later down the track.
You may be thinking “this sounds like a lot of work. How am I going to find the time to conduct an evaluation, ensure the training aligns with our goals and then monitor my team’s progress for months on end?”
As with most things in life, when it comes to sales training, you get out what you put in. While it would be nice to get great results from sending your staff on a 2-day course with little or no involvement from you, in reality this won’t have a lasting impact. Research shows that most sales training is ineffective. If you can’t spare the time, you might be better off not investing in any training at all – at least you wouldn’t be losing money.
Find a sales training provider that understands ROI
A better solution is to look for a sales training provider that can take care of a lot of the planning and strategising for you, and more importantly, that understands the importance of measuring ROI. Many providers don’t offer evaluations and post-training reporting as part of the training package because it involves so much work. Any seasoned salesperson can roll off a few selling tips and techniques in a classroom environment, but only the experts can prove the lasting impact of their teachings.
Of course, you can’t rely on the training provider alone to wave a magic wand and produce results – it’s a collaborative process, about give and take. You need to provide the training provider with information about your business, and be willing to be guided through their evaluation process, and listen to their advice, in order to them to deliver the training that best aligns with your goals. Yes, it can involve some hard work – and asking yourself some hard questions – but that’s truly the only way to get great results.