Business bang for training $buck£ spent

Holst faculty members carried out a ROI evaluation on a major programme delivered to high level sales people.

The results were examined  independently by The Work Foundation who commented:

‘This was an exceptional programme design when few can prove, as this programme does, that full evaluation has been designed into the training events up to and including Kirkpatrick’s Level IV.’

Where high level sales skills training such as ‘selling in the board room’,‘coaching’ & ‘mentoring’  etc. are involved and where there is a long sales cycle such evaluation is rarely achieved as in this case.
This particular programme evaluation finally stated that in the opinion of the delegates they were able to say that £25M extra net revenue was generated by their utilisation of the training received.


Both sponsors and suppliers are often locked in to a  ‘kidology’ debate of training return on investment, neither wanting to admit to the other that it just cannot be done.  Once we have maturely reached that point, we can work with a set of open and clear assumptions that do enable us to gain some monetary measure of return, in working with the mindset of the sales and marketing community.

As with a professional investment accountant, risk analysis is somewhat a subjective art form. However, as long as all assumptions are up front, we can all interpret the data appropriately.

Working with the mindset of a sales person i.e.:
‘All my sales are won as a result of my excellent account management skills, those that are lost are because of price!’

With this approach in ones belief in oneself, asking a sales person to give the credit to a training course is a high call. However, our processes of evaluation  will only have relevance where they are designed to meet the specific delegate group, their motivators and their drivers.
(NB: In sales call centres where the environment enables measurement of short cycle single product sales opportunities,  a far less assumptive measure can be achieved)

Prof. Donald Kirkpatrick’s FOUR LEVEL EVALUATION MODEL.

LEVEL I: ‘Happy Sheets’ completed  at the end of the course.

LEVEL II: This is described as Validation and is the Objective Reference Test carried out by the tutor at the end of each session.  This is set at the very outset in the form of Measurable Training .

LEVEL III: This is encapsulated in the assessed workplace assignments which had to be signed off by the delegate’s line manager that sought confirmation that the delegate had indeed made the transfer of the learning to the workplace, hence ‘workplace assignments’.

LEVEL IV: Again, the workplace assignments were key to ensuring what value the training transfer was adding to the individual’s and team’s effectiveness. Effectiveness was interpreted, dependent on the subject being pursued, as bringing in good business or adding to the operation of the sales/marketing organisation.
In the case outlined earlier, delegates & line managers were able to confirm this in the face of challenge from the Industrial Society.
Do this once and you have some hard headed opinion of the training from sales people.
Do it again and you have some historical comparative data.
Do it again and you have a benchmark  that you can boast across the industry!

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