When it comes to measuring the right metrics for sales readiness, are you tracking the best indicators possible? How do you know if your training efforts are really making a difference?
If you shook your head no or quietly murmured, “I don’t know,” under your breath, you aren’t alone. Sales leaders have a plethora of data available, but oftentimes it’s difficult to decide where to start, what information is actually useful, and how it relates back to your overall training efforts.
To help leaders tackle all things enablement metrics, we chatted with Director of Enterprise Enablement, Meganne Brezina, Nina LaRouche, Director of Sales Enablement at Salesforce and April Terry, Learning and Enablement Manager at Planview, to discuss some of the top ways sales experts look at training metric data.
Let’s just say we learned a lot, but here’s a recap of some of the greatest takeaways when it comes to tracking your sales readiness efforts.
The Kirkpatrick Model is still relevant for sales teams
When it comes to evaluating training, Meganne, Nina, and April used the Kirkpatrick Model to frame their conversation. If you aren’t familiar with this model, it was created back in the 1950s by Donald Kirkpatrick and updated in 2010 to stay relevant for today’s organizations. The Kirkpatrick Model outlines a four-level process that helps educators and training professionals alike evaluate the effectiveness of their training programs. The four levels include:
- Reaction: What do learners think of training?
- Learning: What did they learn? Did information actually stick?
- Behavior: What changes resulted because of training?
- Results: What are the tangible benefits or business outcomes of training?
After April provided a great rundown on the Kirkpatrick Model, Nina pointed out that some sales leaders may even find themselves at “Level 0” which she labels “Consumption.” And while it technically isn’t part of the Kirkpatrick Model, it’s definitely a foundational measure for any enablement program. At this level, sales leaders track training attendance and who consumes training content in-person or on-demand.
Learner reaction is a good indicator of future success
Once you’re measuring who is engaging and consuming training content, it’s time to ask learners what they thought about the training. This is when we measure the relevance and engagement of attendees and ask questions around their satisfaction. And chances are, if someone likes the training content, they probably were engaged too. But, if they didn’t like the content, then they probably weren’t engaged and didn’t learn a whole lot. This initial reaction is a good signal and indicator that training worked. When it comes to measuring reactions, April suggested using surveys, GIFs, and even reaction emojis during Zoom training sessions.
Learning is an experience
Level 2 is really where we can begin to measure the actual acquisition of knowledge and skills. As Nina put it, “This is where enablement practitioners can really shine.” When it comes to training, a lot of people think about it as a simple transfer of knowledge, but that’s just the first step. A truly great learning experience weaves in complexity and focuses on higher levels of learning instead of just remembering or understanding pieces of information. In fact, when it comes to writing learning objectives for any enablement and training session, Nina suggests avoiding the word “understand.” Instead, she references Bloom’s Taxonomy which helps her write better learning objectives that have clear and measurable behaviors.
Learning should drive behavior change
At the end of the day, we deliver sales enablement and training programs because we want to see a change in rep behavior. So, during Level 4, it’s time to start assessing rep and team performance. This can be done in a few different ways, and one example that April provided was to look at CRM metrics. For example, if you train reps on a skill around emails, then you can look at metrics around emails to see if there has been an increase in sent emails or not. Another method is to perform a skill-gap analysis that includes self-assessments from both reps and their managers.
It will take time to see the benefits
Tying your enablement program to tangible business outcomes is essential in proving the value of your efforts. Nina reminded us that rep activities and performance metrics in this level usually include lagging indicators, so it might take a bit of time for you to see the true results of a new enablement initiative. For this reason, we often use metrics that focus on more strategic or long-term training programs. These metrics can include things like pipeline or opportunities generated, sales attainment, quicker ramp time, and lower attrition rates.