How to measure the impact of sales training and enablement

You’re probably introducing a sales methodology and undertaking sales training and enablement because you want to grow sales or shift your revenue model. It’s a pretty clear financial metric.

But, in our view, it’s worth looking a little deeper if you want to make sure that you’re on the right track from the start and to ensure you’ve made a lasting and sustainable change not a temporary blip.

The Kirkpatrick model of training evaluation is a well-used method, although most companies only seem to measure the first 2 of the 4 stages (did the participants like the training and did they learn something?), rather than monitoring evidence of behavioural change and business impact.

We complement the Kirkpatrick model with the Brinkerhoff High Performance Learning Journey Performance Success Path (PSP) - below. Through this, we build measurement in from the start.

By focusing on and linking business outcomes, the supporting performance outcomes and the behaviours (the on-the-job actions), we can both embed learning and measure the impact it’s having in a more efficient and integrated way.

In other words, a more immediate correlation between training and enablement activities, sales actions and behaviours and the outcomes you’re seeing. It also tells you quickly if things are not progressing as expected so you can act sooner.

Brinkerhoff High performance learning journeys

Five steps to measure your sales enablement ROI

1. Decide what to measure. Begin with end in mind. Be clear about the business outcomes and associated performance outcomes. Track these back to the behaviours and on the job actions you need to see. The PSP above will help with this.

Don’t pick too many measures or metrics. Make sure the ones you choose are tightly aligned to your goals and that you can actually measure them.

2. Define your starting point. In our experience many clients have some baselines, usually pulled from sales figures and the forecast / CRM, but don’t currently measure many of the performance or behavioural elements.

Some of this you can gather from sales staff surveys and assessments but the point here is to be pragmatic about defining baselines and choose just enough meaningful indicators. Sometimes, the first metric to aim for is simply having a means of measurement in place.

3. Gather evidence along the way. Capture examples from your sales team at regular points so you build up evidence of what’s working and what isn’t.

This can be gained through e.g. one-to-one coaching, standard reporting, personal Performance Success Paths and win-loss reports. Have a consistent, standardised way of capturing the examples.

4. Have specific checkpoints. This should include a more formal post-programme evaluation of ongoing outcomes. It shouldn't be heavy on admin, particularly if you’ve been tracking progress along the way.

Correlate sales feedback with the hard metrics in terms of revenue change / growth.

5. Strengthen for the future. By now, you should have a good ROI message for the business but that shouldn’t be your end point. The real value of this process is picking out your key success factors and what your top performers are doing differently or more of. You can then further develop and extend capability across the business.

It’s also your structure for further strengthening your sales framework and the capability in your team. It’s your blueprint for recruiting, onboarding, developing and promoting your team members.

Shared responsibility

Measuring progress and outcomes should, in our view, be a joint responsibility between training partner and company. Results come from truly embedding what’s been delivered and both parties should be clear about roles in this from the start.

Ready to measure

Next steps

Following these principles will help you to implement training and enablement programmes that can be measured in ways that are directly relevant to your goals.

If you’d like some help implementing and measuring a sales enablement programme for your business – or you’d like to improve how to measure something you’ve already implemented – please get in touch to talk through your goals.