What if you could tie training data directly to sales revenue? Would the ROI of training increase? Would interest in completing training increase if it you could show that certain types of training enabled more sales? Most likely. People are more likely to take training courses if doing so will lead to a highly desired result.
With the enterprise level integrations, you can tie training data to bottom-line results and demonstrate a clear ROI. The key is to determine your target training audience and your training agenda, based on the sales results you want to achieve.
Who’s Your Training Audience, and How Will You Help Them?
When using training to increase sales, your training audience could be:
- Your customers or prospects
- Your partners, resellers and/or vendors
- Your employees (including the sales teams and other employees)
What information do these audiences need in order to help further sales? The list is only limited by the sales results you are aiming to achieve. As a start to generate ideas, consider the following types of training programs:
- Product Launches: Need a reason to get a meeting at a target account? Create a training module that weaves in a new product launch. Get customers to see the direct value of a new product to their business, and they just might be knocking on the sales teams’ doors to set up a meeting, rather than the other way around.
- Reduce Support Calls: Comb through the list of frequently asked questions by customers, partners and even internal employees, and create training content that addresses all these questions. Provide clear instructions on who to call and when, how to escalate issues, and where to find needed information.
- Improve Sales Skills Quarter-over-Quarter: While most organizations do provide initial training for their sales force, only 44% of organizations use post-training reinforcement to provide long term support for their sales teams. Specifically, those firms which use post-training reinforcement report significant bottom-line results, such as 79% of sales team attainment of quota, versus 69% for all others.
Part of the value-add of online training is the ability to reuse content. Chances are that a significant portion of your online training for internal employees can be repurposed for your external contacts (customers, prospects, partners, resellers and vendors), and vice versa. If you’ve created excellent training content with a clear ROI for one audience, maximize your benefits by repurposing that content for other audiences.
Sales Targets & Training: Real business impact
Once you’ve launched your training programs targeted towards increasing sales revenue, start reviewing training data and revenue numbers and analyze the correlation. A good place to start is to view course completion data versus revenue. Can you tie revenue increases in those areas where learners have successfully completed training? As you start to see patterns between training and revenue, you may want to tweak your training program to achieve better revenue results quarter-over-quarter.
As an example, Bluebeam Software created an online learning program for their resellers that was segmented across three levels of expertise. Tier 1 training included basic knowledge related to selling the product. Tier 2 training provided in-depth training on how to use the software. Tier 3 training delivered information on applying the Bluebeam software to distinct verticals. The result? Of 2800 external salespeople who completed the Tier 1 training, on average each reseller doubled their sales. Resellers that completed all training through Tier 3 showed a remarkable 400% business growth.
Often, training is seen to be important on an intuitive level. However, the having the ability to tie training to revenue makes learning discussions real, valuable, and of immediate importance.
Gauri Reyes is a talent developer and learning leader with extensive experience in roles ranging from software management to managing the learning function in organizations. She is Principal Learning Strategist and CEO at Triple Point Advisors and Founder of the YOUth LEAD program. Follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.