Get More Out of Sales Training in 2017

Sales Gauge is excited to share the following blog post from our guest blogger, Matt Haller. As a sales finance analyst for AdRoll, Matt is an expert in the measurement of sales effectiveness and compensation.

Sales and Operations leaders are given an annual budget to spend on sales effectiveness programs. Most often these programs revolve around sales training and other sales enablement programs, yet fail to realize the expected revenue growth from these investments.

What is the root cause of failed ROI? Is it the market? Do we have a talent issue? Certainly, it can’t be the training program we invested in?

The fact is that training programs are only as effective as the preparation activities companies complete before training occurs. Make no mistake that these programs play an incredibly important function in refreshing sales skills and motivating reps at the start of a new fiscal year, but training efficacy requires focus and alignment across two key areas to be successful:

Figure 1: Align your roles, responsibilities and compensation program to identify key training areas for your sales force.

1.     Job Role Clarification

On an annual basis, it is recommended that companies assess their go-to-market model to confirm that the sales force is working to penetrate accounts the way it was designed. Are the roles completing the activities they are supposed to? Are overlay roles engaging with primary quota carriers appropriately? These questions serve as the foundation of every enablement activity in which leaders invest. Without clearly defined roles and responsibilities that reps follow, there is no way the business can support an effective compensation and training program, the next pillars of sales enablement.

2.     Sales Compensation Alignment

Once job roles are defined, it is important to codify the responsibilities of each role using a Job Role & Responsibility Matrix. These tools are utilized not only to initiate compensation design cadences, but also to confirm that one role is not burdened with too many responsibilities in the sales cycle. An added benefit of this tool is to ensure that responsibilities are complementary, and the business is not overpaying for misaligned measures across the sales force.

Figure 2: Complete a Job Role & Responsibility Matrix to confirm the roles and responsibilities of each of your sales functions.

Once responsibilities are codified, sales leaders have a starting point to understand where reps may need additional training. For example, Account Managers (i.e. Farming Reps) are responsible to retain and penetrate accounts through cross-sell and upsell motions. They are often paid on revenue from their assigned accounts, but may also have a new product quota as well. After assessing the talent of the account management organization and the number of reps who are hitting their new product quota, sales organizations may decide to invest in cross-selling training – teaching reps how to identify additional opportunity areas and up-level conversations to buyers with access to larger budgets – an investment that maximizes the ROI of the training program.

Without job role clarity and a complementary sales compensation program, training becomes less of an exercise in refining the sales team and equipping them with the tools necessary to be successful in the field, instead “throwing spaghetti at the wall” to see what sticks.

Have you invested in a sales training program for 2017 and want to be sure you get the maximum value from it? We’re happy to assist you in evaluating and leveraging your investments. Connect with us at or call us at: 1-781-910-0077.