Can you prove that a sales training program actually delivers on its promise of improvements in skills and knowledge?

I can.

As I have explained in previous editions of eCoach, my company, The Sales Board, has been using a validated instrument to reliably measure factors pertaining to Action Selling training since 1995. Those factors include how much knowledge a salesperson has about each of the five Critical Selling Skills that Action Selling teaches; how much that knowledge level improves after training; and how well the person is able to use the knowledge on the job.

That last point—measuring the application of skills and knowledge on the job—has always been the missing link in proving a direct connection between sales training and a subsequent increase in sales revenue.

Today, 21 years later, we have compiled data on 400,000 salespeople from more than 3,500 companies in a broad range of industries. Our SQL relational database contains about 78 million data points. We have so much “big data” on the impact of sales training that we can report results not only for the whole “universe” of salespeople, but for salespeople within particular industries.

Let’s look at the professional-services industry, for instance. “Professional services” includes fields such as architecture, accounting, engineering, medicine, law, IT services, management consulting, and others. How do salespeople in the professional services industry compare to the broader universe in terms of the tangible benefits they gain from sales training?