Reviewing Sales Training from the outside. I have been asked to externally review Sales Training for many major and many other smaller Companies. External Validation is one of the things I do; I talk about it a lot so people ask me to do it for them. I have to say one Firm was the most fun, as I reviewed in 2008, Sales Training I used to delivered 20 years earlier. “Life on Mars”. Apparently nothing has changed in 20 years!
- EXTERNAL VALIDATION is what happened AFTER the training, just as
- INTERNAL VALIDATION is what happens DURING the training.
External validation must be external and independent
from both the training provider and the training sponsor.
It is a Training Audit. Its purpose is to establish:
‘Did the Training, through its practical application, have the intended result?’
We start the Audit Trail with the Training Needs Analysis and Training Objectives with the Sponsor, this can often be long after the event! Then External validation has to measure the Knowledge Gained and Retained from the course, the Skills increased since the training .
Then, best of all the knowledge and skill transferred to Practical Application ‘on the job’.
It has taken me years to develop the skills needed to do these audits; the knowledge base of measurement techniques and studies continues to grow, taking a quantum leap in the past 10 years.
Here are some general comments from about 100 evaluations.
- Apparent Knowledge ‘Gain’ is about 70%
i.e. at the end of an event in a closed book Test environment,
the mean score is 70%.
- The same Test Paper given before the training even produces a median of 40%
So the real knowledge gain is 30%,
- after six weeks there is a 60% knowledge loss,
when the test is retaken the mean is now 50%.
- The range at this point is between 30% to 70%.
If you do a bang for the buck analysis,
you are getting 10¢ on the $1, a 10% knowledge gain.
Add to that 70% of that which was taught has NO impact on sales performance
and your return drops to 3¢ on each training dollar spent a poor ROI.
Measuring and Validating Skills is much more difficult.
I measured skills during the first or entry ‘role-play’,
and before training had taken place,
and in the field with customers in field observation.
Typical scores at this point is a mean of 40%.
Demonstrating skills of:
- Dealing with Objections,
- Handling Questions,
- Asking Questions to uncover needs,
- Making Value or Benefit statements to fulfil needs.
End of training measurement showed a 60% mean, but six weeks later, it had dropped to pre-training levels.
No skill gain,
Sales Training does not deliver Selling Skills is the rational conclusion.
However, I constantly found skill improvements,
a score would move from 30% to 80% over 6 to 12 months post-training. These improvements always occurred in Clusters.
At the centre of every cluster was a Manager/Coach! Sport has known this for years.
Sales Centres of Excellence.
- Have you measured the External Validation of your Training?
- Are you getting 3¢ on the dollar?
- Is coaching an integral part of sales training?
- Do you train Sales Managers to Lead and to Coach or are they just promoted Sales People?
BMAC has constructed a Sales Training Validation Model,
based on best practice to enable Sales performance,
using Managers as Coaches to produce sales centres of excellence.