There is a lot of value in measuring the success of any sales training. You can measure the reaction, knowledge, application, business impact and even ROI. It’s an important way of evaluating your training and its effectiveness. Does it move the needle?
Many training programmes, however, end with the completion of a short survey. Some folks call it a “happy sheet”. In recent years, I have seen the use of NPS (Net Promoter Score) becoming more and more popular. It’s a happy sheet in disguise!
The only thing these type of evaluation surveys measure is the reaction to the programme! Choose an amazing location, have great catering will help to drive a posited reaction. The problem is it doesn’t tell you anything about how or if participants have learned anything or will apply what they have learned let alone measure any business impact. I believe, that this is still the most used form of training measurement beside the number of training hours!
There are, of course, more sophisticated ways of measuring training impact, e.g. the Kirkpatrick model or the Phillips ROI methodology.
But, if you are just doing a “level 1” survey which only looks at the reaction you should at least include the following two questions in your survey.
What will help you in applying what you have learned? This question will allow you to identify any potential drivers that help to change behaviour.
For example, when rolling out a new sales methodology you expect that the salespeople actually start using the methodology once they have attended the training. Asking this question gets the participants to think about what helps with adoption of the methodology. And you can use this information in order to help with adoption.
In the example mentioned above, the sales methodology training programme, deal coaching came up as top response to this question. This highlighted the importance of any deal coaching to be based on that methodology. This can be a challenge if you have sales managers that have learned other sales methodologies as well!
Therefore, one of the key drivers to help embed this new sales methodology was that the sales managers actually coach based on the new methodology during deal reviews. I conducted a specific manager training session covering deal coaching using the sales methodology process and terminology.
The other questions that is very important to include is about barriers.
What will stop you from applying what you learned? This question aims to identify any barriers to using and applying what participants learned during the training.
In the example above we participants identified that one barrier to using the new sales methodology was the CRM system.
While the sales methodology terminology was implemented in the CRM system (which was a great plus!) it was too complicated, required too many fields to be filled out and the consequence was that the sales reps did not use it consistently.
The negative consequence was that sales managers when reviewing opportunities in the CRM were not able to tell if the sales methodology was fully used and how well opportunities were qualified by the sales reps.
We worked with the CRM vendor to update and simplify the CRM system fields in order to make it a lot easier for the sales reps to use the CRM in relation to the new sales methodology. The CRM then started to act as reinforcement tool while reducing the amount of admin work the sales reps had to do. And this also helped the sales managers during deal coaching because they could now find the information needed in the CRM. Well, in most cases!
Action: In your next sales training survey include these two questions and watch out for any surprises in terms of drivers and barriers to application of the new gained knowledge, skills or process change.
Now, these two questions about drivers and barriers are even more powerful if you include these in a 90-day survey that focuses on application and business impact. This is when the sales reps had a chance to apply what the learned for three months!