On this episode, SRG's CEO and Managing Director Norman Behar talks about what's the best approach to measuring the effectiveness of a sales training program.
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It could be increased new customer acquisition. I recently saw a poll where that was the number one driver for many sales organizations. It could be selling at higher, more profitable sales margins.
Then you want to focus on what are the specific behaviors that are going to change and drive that result. Going to our example of increased customer acquisition, a lot of that has to do with prospecting activity levels, the quality of the prospecting that's taking place or leveraging referrals.
If you're looking at selling at higher, more profitable margins, then what you want to think about is the whole notion of value and how you map and present your value based on the specific needs you've identified with those customers. Think about the selling skills—that could be selling skills related to prospecting, or selling skills related to selling on value.
Then think about a model where you focus first on the skills. The skills are used from an application standpoint to change behaviors, and then based on those improved behaviors you see improved business results. So, in the short-term I would measure the effectiveness of the program based on behavior change.
Can you listen in and hear improved prospecting going on—in terms of the quality of prospecting? Or measure increased prospecting levels or increase in the number of appointments based on referrals? You could also look for an example of higher margins or go out on a sales call and listen and observe whether they're doing a great job of identifying the customer's needs.
That's the first, most important way to map your value to the customer's specific needs, and then present the unique value you bring, or your solutions bring, probably both, in terms of addressing those specific needs.
So, in the short-term, focus on behavior change. Longer term, that behavior change should be driving business results. That's why you invested in the program. And the time frame for business result changes depends a lot on your sales cycle.
If you have a short sales cycle, that could be as quickly as six months. If you have a longer sales cycle, that could be a year. Keep in mind there are a number of factors like the economy, competition, product release dates, that do affect business results.
But ultimately a model where you focus on training up skills, you see the behavior change, and then that behavior change ties to your results, is the best way to measure the effectiveness of sales training.
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