By Kendra Lee
The training world continues to be all abuzz about return on investment (ROI), but there’s much discussion about how to effectively and affordably do that. Before you design your training, begin with the end in mind. In other words, determine what your business success looks like before you start. You can do this by getting a multi-level perspective on the situation and then determining the scope, severity, and value to the company.
When you’re called upon to create a new training program, interview not only the requesting manager, but also the sponsoring executive and some target participants. Without a multi-level perspective, you miss a key step in tying the training to business success.
When you’re called upon to create a new training program, interview not only the requesting manager, but also the sponsoring executive and some target participants. We often hear varying needs from different people. The sponsoring executive, who sees the financial forecast and knows the attrition rate, says, “We aren’t generating enough revenue from new clients.” The manager says the problem is that salespeople don’t know how to craft value propositions or manage their prospecting time. The salespeople admit they aren’t great at value propositions, but they also don’t understand how to use the customer relationship management software and waste time navigating it. Without a multi-level perspective, you miss a key step in tying the training to business success.
As you plan for your multi-level interviews, keep in mind you need answers that get to the scope, severity, and value of the training so you can quantify the problem and give value to the solution.
Scope speaks to how widely across the organization the training will be delivered. How many people are impacted? Do other audiences need to be involved? If only one department of 20 needs to be trained, your solution will be very different than when the audience is 2,000.
Severity answers the questions: “How bad is the problem the training will address? And how is it impacting the company?” Something as simple as employees incorrectly or tardily filling out expense reports can be a minor detail—or a major one if many employees turn in inaccurate and late reports, especially during a financially tight quarter. Does the return to the company justify the expense?
Ascertaining the Value will give you an idea of: what the problem is truly costing the company, what your training budget can be, and what your training metrics should be. If the problem is declining revenue, then you know tracking revenue is going to be a key metric. If increased customer satisfaction issues are a problem, then you know you need to track that.
After completing this process, you then can effectively begin answering your first training delivery question: What should your training look like to provide ROI within the scope, severity, and value of the topic?
Taking the time to use this strategy in your analysis phase of design will help ensure that your sponsoring executive feels the training accomplished what he or she envisioned and that the training, indeed, ties into business results.
If you’re unsure how to question to get to the heart of the matter, use the funnel questioning technique. For a job aid on this method, go to www.klagroup.com/resources/articles under Training Organizations.
Kendra Lee is a top IT seller, prospect attraction expert, speaker, author of “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. KLA Group develops custom training programs to help clients to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the small and mid-market business (SMB) segment. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or subscribe to her newsletter, visit
www.klagroup.com or call 303.741.6636.