How do you work out the difference that training makes to your bottom line? Measuring ROI (Return On Investment) helps evaluate any business spending, but when you’re considering training, you need to look beyond the balance sheet.
Training can help increase sales
This might be the most obvious reason to train your staff, but the results are rarely obvious until you compare a full quarter’s sales with a similar period from a previous year. For a more immediate indication, look instead at how well your staff are upselling.
Are you seeing a move from cheaper products to premium lines? Are you running low on accessories, like cases sold alongside cameras, or cables with set-top boxes?
Learning to upsell can be the backbone of Accelerator, our scenario based training product, and results like these are an early indication of money well spent.
Training builds brand ambassadors
An educated salesforce can better promote your products, services and brand. Only by understanding your aims can staff buy into the company ethos. This chimes with the customer, who might otherwise pick up subtle hints that your staff aren’t fully convinced that what they are saying isn’t just spin.
Writing a guest blog for Sheffield Hallam University, Sue Blight, head of learning and development for Dairy Crest, highlighted how ‘it isn’t always the financial side that senior management see as the biggest win from these [training] programmes’. She went on to describe how senior managers at Britain’s biggest dairy could see that its investment in training had paid for itself, not because of the financial return, but because ‘the increased confidence in the team… was giving [them] the biggest buzz.’
Training develops new opportunities
Encouraging staff to think in new ways, and even to fail in a safe simulated environment, can spark fresh ideas and new ways of working. Learning how to overcome customer objections and understanding why they might arise in the first place encourages staff to think of new and more effective ways to interact with clients.
Over time, and through natural osmosis, these skills will be adopted across the sales floor, multiplying the effect of your initial investment.
Training helps you retain staff
Recruitment takes time and money, and can outweigh the cost and effort of training existing staff. Employees feel valued when their employer invests in their future, and are more likely to stay with the company longer, thus repaying your investment many times over through increased sales and reductions in the expense of hiring and retraining.
Multiply the buy-in by eliciting feedback about both the training itself and the broader company. As Virgin boss Richard Branson put it,
‘Train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough so they don’t want to.’Richard Branson
When times are tight and you may need to make cuts. Trimming your training budget could be the biggest mistake of all. The benefits of investing in your staff are many and varied, and go beyond the purely financial.
By all means, consider the bottom line, but don’t overlook your company’s overall health and its ability to meet challenges head on. It’s often these that reveal the most indicative upside of investing in your staff.