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Measuring Training Return on Investment

Measuring Training Return on Investment


Your company has made a commitment in time and money for training and one of the most difficult questions is how do you measure the return on this investment?

In traditional sales training, a large volume of information is transferred in as short a period as possible – between the trainer and the audience. Industry research on ‘retention rates’ shows that unless this information is quickly applied in the workplace, retention drops below 70% after 30 days and thereafter, the audience loses confidence in using the remaining information – ergo the value of training is diminished. 

Research also shows that, in the main, participants “learn more by doing” – more so in a highly challenging and intense environment – reinforcing understanding of the learning and making it easier for participants to apply their learning quickly in real life.

Experience has shown that organisations get the greatest value from training programmes when the following elements are in place:

  • Leadership Team Engagement: training programmes work best as part of an explicit sales improvement programme – where sales management have created a vision of how success will be achieved, established the ‘steps of the journey’ , have gained commitment at all levels to the change programme and are visible in the training delivery activity
  • Coaching: attention from sales leaders to individuals through encouragement, feedback and coaching can add over 50% to the value of the programmes
  • Customer Success Stories: publicised internally, participants who have applied the learning and delivered success indicate the value that they have created for their individual customers and your organisation’s unique capabilities that made the success possible. 

Research suggests the following pattern of adoption will be evident:

  • Rapid Adopter: ±30% of participants become highly energised, even liberated, by the programme, apply the learning very quickly to existing opportunities to win more business. Most of the sales team’s revenue improvement in the first 12 months comes from this group. This group goes on to expand penetration and build further pipeline
  • Pragmatic: ±50% of participants internalise the learning more carefully and use it mainly to develop new sales opportunities. This expanded demand creation builds pipeline in the first 12 months, leading to additional revenues in the second 12 months
  • Inflexible: 0-20% of participants will find it very difficult to apply the new ways of working. Time and coaching may enable change in some participants but otherwise it becomes clear that some participants need to be in a different role, if the client is to achieve its sales goals.


We have not found a definitive answer to the question “what is the return on investment on a training programme”, (especially when selling to the ‘C’ level) but we do have some ideas on what can be done to cement the training in place, which will have a positive impact on your performance.

Here we describe how we at Youd Andrews would help you measure the ROI, depending on which of the three main stakeholders you are:

  • Programme Sponsor
  • Line Manager
  • Participant.

Programme Sponsor

For the Sponsor of a programme, we will provide:

  • A face-to-face meeting, to explore the feedback further and agree any follow-up activity, such as:
    • Using Distance Learning to have a ‘live’ interactive session with an Executive
    • Encouraging the Sales Managers to adopt the ideas in the previous section
  • Suggestions on:
    • Creating an Alumni site using your own ‘collaboration’ tool, so that experiences post programme – good and bad – can be shared
    • Using an internal ‘newsletter’ to generate wider interest in this personal development programme
    • The option to plagiarise our ‘Tips from the Top’ material and create your own branded documents to reinforce content and learning
    • How to make sure that your Managers are disciplined and coach their teams on the techniques highlighted in the feedback
  • Ideas on how to measure the Return on your investment by using the following techniques:
    • Measuring the number of ‘C’ levels meeting before and after the programme
    • Comparing the ‘C’ level role being seen now, against what it was previously, i.e. Business people versus IT people
    • Measuring the number of 2nd and 3rd meetings to the same ‘C’ level over the next 6 months
    • Quality of the pipeline before and after
    • Asking your Customers to rate your sales people before the training programme (using a simple questionnaire, which we can provide) and again 3 – 6 months after the programme. You should see quantifiable progress. 

Line Manager

For Managers of participants, we will provide:

  • An executive summary of the programme across all participants, to highlight:
    • Where the team/Individuals needs help in improving their ‘C’ level approach
    • Where generic strengths exist in the team
    • The commitments made at the close of the programme, which need to be actioned
  • Suggestions on:
    • Content for internal sales meetings to reinforce topics such as:
      • Personal Elevator Pitch
      • Company Elevator Pitch
      • Success Stories that pass the CxO test
    • A process around ‘C’ level selling:
      • What works?
      • What does not work?
      • What is still a mystery?
    • An Account Review process to make sure the ‘C’ level ‘Context’ is fully understood, whilst matching your Capability and Credentials back to the Context
    • Using a Youd Andrews guest speaker at one of your sales meetings to reinforce the messages
    • Using a CxO to provide guidance on a key deal within your team, prior to your final proposal.


For Participants, we will provide:

  • A Personal Development Report generated out of the feedback given verbally during the programme
    • the participant should share it with his/her manager and agree on a course of action
  • The relevant ‘Tips from the Top’, created from CxO research, which provides further relevant detail for you to review and action, i.e.
    • Standing in the Shoes of the Customer
    • Selling your Value Proposition
    • Company & Personal Elevator Pitch
    • Success Stories
  • Access to the Programme Leader to discuss any further feedback points
  • Access via ‘collaboration tools’ to a ‘C’ level interactive session (with one of the CxOs), some weeks after their programme, to discuss:
    • What is working?
    • What still needs to be improved?
  • Access to further Distance Learning modules (as appropriate) for follow-up.

We hope you find this paper insightful and you are welcome to challenge us on the content or share your views/experience with us.

The views expressed here are based on input from our network of European Senior Executives and our own customer experiences over the last 25 years.