|Bonus Focus - Can Your Post-Training Data Influence Sales Management?|
By Lisa Clark
The Holy Grail of training is to go beyond delivering information and assuring knowledge retention to realizing hard and fast business results. With sales training in particular, managers theoretically should be able to directly correlate training expenditures to added revenue per sales rep, district and region.
Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t happen that way. Business transformation leader Dr. Roy Pollock estimates that 80 percent of the link between training and active application on the job is lost.
In an era of mobile, social, gamification, simulation and the like, managers have wholly new ways to ensure learning transfer. The technology behind these approaches makes it possible to readily document what attendees know – and make that data available, discernible and actionable for sales managers.
Organizations can use this data to gauge how well participants are applying what they know to today’s more complex selling environment. Then, by applying predictive analytics, teams can connect the dots between metrics of sales rep capabilities – including engagement, performance and proficiency – to actual business results. This completes the circle from introducing information and new skills, to showing those skills are internalized and impacting desired business results.
Facilitating the three C’s with your training data – and directly involving sales management in the learning process ¬¬– allows you to close the loop to help manage the best possible outcomes for the business.
In the form of visual displays, it’s also possible to effectively provide the manager with a “dashboard” or “heat map” that highlights coaching opportunities by topic, district or regions. This can make knowledge gaps easy to spot and provide precision to the coaching and training process. Individual performances can be scored as strong, medium and weak, and managers can view this in addition to any other dimensions the organization wishes to tag along with post-training data – for example by product line, employee tenure, direct reporting relationship, even their previous employers. Managers can slice and dice this data for highly granular understanding of sales readiness, and proactive opportunities for improvement.
For example, such a view might alert the sales manager that instead of spending budget for the travel and expense to train the entire sales force, the manager might explore a more focused program for a specific region. Or, the sales manager might spot that all the hires from a particular referral source learn faster and are more proficient – information that’s invaluable to the hiring process.
Conversely, managers can also explore the characteristics of their district or regional successes, and gain insight into other actions the management team can take to grow the business, such as combining teams to leverage strengths across territories.
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