Given that U.S. companies spend approximately $20 billion per year on sales training initiatives, it’s no wonder why leadership teams expect to see tangible results from these programs. While it’s certainly possible to evaluate sales training effectiveness strictly from a financial ROI perspective, uncovering the holistic value of inside sales training requires a more thorough assessment. There are several benchmarks you can examine to give you a clearer picture of how well your training processes are preparing your inside sales team for success.
Evaluate the quality of phone conversations
Tracking inside sales activity metrics such as time spent selling and lead response time are vital to the ongoing success of the organization, because more time spent on core activities is one of the key drivers in improving results. However it’s just as important to pay attention to the quality of your reps’ phone calls with prospects, as this gives you an idea of how well your sales professionals are internalizing the training they have received.
Call monitoring is an important practice for any inside sales unit, but the idea of being recorded can initially make some sales reps nervous. However, if you clearly and honestly explain the reasons, procedures, and expectations of the program, you can set the reps’ minds at ease, help them improve their own performance, and add value to the company all at the same time.
Track your customer lifetime value
The ultimate goal of training your inside sales reps isn’t to teach them to maximize revenue at each possible moment, regardless of the context in question; it’s to give them the information they need to prove to their prospects your company can be a valuable partner for their business in multiple ways.
When you’re consistently accomplishing this with your training, it ultimately bears fruit in the form of customer lifetime value (CLV). Maintaining a roster of buyers with a high CLV is one indication your company is performing well on executing the overall customer experience — which, of course, rests on the shoulders of every member of the organization — but it’s also a sign your customers trust your sales reps and view them as a source of ongoing value. Considering that executing the customer experience is the most important priority for the vast majority of B2B leaders in this decade, this strategy will help you get a leg up on the competition.
Institute a ramping quota
To determine how quickly your sales professionals are able to produce reliable results following their training period, some experts recommend applying a ramping quota. Even new hires who have extensive sales experience are going to need ramping time as they adjust to the specifics of your company and internalize customer data and market realities. But it’s still important for these reps to achieve wins early in the process, and not have to wait until the end of the year to demonstrate their capacity.
Watch the consistency of your team’s work ethic
People with certain personality traits may gravitate towards an inside sales career, but all of your sales reps are still unique individuals who will respond to your training programs differently. That’s why you need to focus on their attitudes as a unit, instead of just looking at individual performance for your evaluation.
Are certain events or situations causing your team’s performance to wax or wane from normal levels? Are employees becoming more lackadaisical about tasks like entering CRM data or prospecting? Thorough, effective training programs generally result in workforces that are dedicated to delivering your value proposition to the right buyers and consistently reaching new heights. If there is an absence of a consistent work ethic across the team, it could be a sign that rebuilding the training process is necessary.
Survey your sales reps
One of the simplest ways to ascertain whether or not your training program is effective is to ask the people who are living it. As a responsible sales leader, you no doubt want to examine your training procedures with a fine-tooth comb to ensure it will position your best hires to reach their full potential, but the reps who go through the training program and put its lessons in practice are going to have insights you, as a manager, aren’t privy to.
If you don’t solicit these insights and use them to refine your approach, you’re neglecting an important resource that is readily available. Create an open and honest dialogue about the general trajectory and specific components of your inside sales training initiatives, and you’ll be surprised at how helpful your colleagues will be.
Examine the accuracy of your forecasts
It might sound strange to suggest that your forecasting has a direct link to your inside sales training program, but your forecasts can yield crucial perceptions across a variety of your core competencies. If you have a nuanced understanding of your sales team and the market, and your sales reps have the training they need to routinely hit their targets, then it’s likely you’re going to excel at forecasting. One thing accurate forecasting demonstrates is that the inside sales reps know their prospects well, understand which product configurations fit their needs, and can deliver long-term value.