Let’s call it what it is: sales training is not only expensive, it’s hard to know if it’s even working.

Over my 25 year sales career I attended multiple sales trainings, first as a rep, then as a manager, and later as a VP of sales. And while some (ok, most) were downright awful, others left me with one or two nuggets that had a direct impact on my pipeline and career. However as I moved up the ranks, I quickly realized that if you are to calculate the time and money lost in pulling reps off of the phones, a nugget or two doesn’t really cut it.

When it comes to sales training, ROI is key. A day or two off of the sales floor is an expensive risk to take, and if you can’t quantify it– Are you really doing right by your team?

While ROI can often be hard to measure, there are some definitive elements to look at in order to determine the return on your investment . Here are my recommendations for effectively measuring the success of your sales training efforts:

1. Be surgical in your approach.

Firsrt, know exactly what you want to address with training. There is always room for improvement at every stage in the funnel however, it is unreasonable to think that one training is going to move the needle across the board.

Drilling down into one particular stage or activity set will increase the likelihood of success when it comes to training your team. Focusing on one or two key metrics or conversion rates will allow you to better understand the impact of that training rather than looking at the sum of those efforts on the bottom line. So what is it for your team? Call-to-conversation conversion rates? Higher conversion rates off of demos? An increase in win-rate? No matter what the sticking point is, use it to drive training and measure the results.

2. Take track-record into account when setting expectations.

You’re only as strong as your weakest player. There is no exception to that rule when it comes to training. No matter how solid the content is, sales training won’t put your weakest rep on the path to over-performance… But it will help them. Be realistic in your expectations and look at the outcome of the training on an individual basis rather than as a whole.

3. Look for a change in the shape of your pipeline.

Great sales training will often flatten a pipeline. (Don’t be afraid, be excited.)

Reps should be challenged to think about what constitutes a qualified prospect and will start to rethink the deals are actively working on. Post-training, reps should spend time cleaning up their pipeline and refocusing their efforts looking for and working on qualified opportunities. A slimmer pipeline is a great indicator that the reps are taking the concepts and training to heart.

4. Track activities regularly.

In the world of sales, activity matters. In advance of training, determine which metrics you would like to track, # of dials made, # of demos set, # of POs submitted. Following training, look for an uptick in those specific activities. This is a good indicator that your team is practicing what the trainer preached– Increasing the overall likelihood of success.

5. Look for happier reps.

It’s no secret that reps who are happy in their role tend to have greater success. Companies across the globe are pouring money into training and development programs to ensure that their employees have everything they need to be successful. Don’t discount the increased energy and overall buzz you hear following a training. Reps should walk away feeling empowered and motivated. Work with your sales trainer and HR,/ Operations team to create a survey for training attendees to guage their satisfaction with the program and collect their feedback.

And finally, find an experienced trainer who appreciates the resources it takes to make a training happen and makes an effort to understand you, your team, and your business needs. 🙂