The Kirkpatrick Training Evaluation Model provides the core framework for a data-driven approach to sales training — one of the primary pillars of Enablement.
We will cover the basics of the model, tying it back to sales training for each element.
Reaction covers the leading indicators of Enablement in terms of its impact on the individual receiving the training.
In other words, the direct outcomes that result from the training you provide. Reactions include:
- Rating of the training session, venue, and trainer
- Feedback on the value of the training
- Feedback on if this will help you in customer conversations
In other words, what does the student feel/think/believe about the training?
These Reactions are entirely subjective, of course, and provide little insight into the actual value of what was delivered.
We are still dealing with leading indicators at this stage of the model but are shifting from subjective feedback to objective measurement.
At this stage, you are identifying if the students retained the information from the session.
For example, if you provided sales training around a new pricing model, you could quiz sales reps to determine if they remember the various options.
If you know me at all, you know that I’ll bring up the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve as a reminder. You cannot evaluate knowledge once, nor can you be successful in delivering it only once.
People forget — quickly.
Use reinforcement techniques to ensure sellers remember core information.
While this provides a richer understanding of the value of your sales training than the earlier stage of Reaction, it still falls short.
Why do you teach anything?
If your purpose is rote memorization, you are missing the mark.
The reason for sales training is to create behavioral changes in our teams.
We teach them how to have discovery calls, not to have them memorize and repeat back responses.
We teach them to internalize the insights and leverage them in their own words at the right time. The goal is to help them sell more by assisting prospects in overcoming their concerns.
Behavior change is always the goal.
In the Behavior stage, we look to understand if the sales reps are using the skills and competencies they are learning.
Are they putting it into action?
We have several solutions to measure this:
- Coaching sessions
- Roll playing
- Call tracking technology like Chorus or Gong
At this stage of the Kirkpatrick Model of Training, it is essential to remember that the sales training team may not be responsible for validation, at least not entirely. This stage succeeds when a partnership between sales managers and sales trainers (or Enablement teams) exists.
Repeat after me.
Lagging indicators are the actual test of your effectiveness.
In the Results stage, we take one step further back.
The ultimate reason for teaching anything is to deliver a business outcome.
For example, we want to sell more, and we will focus on increasing deal win rates.
To do this, we determine that our sales teams need to get better at objection handling.
To get better at objection handling, we create a training session and supporting content (like a sales playbook) to educate sellers on handling common objections.
Yes, we also put sales coaching support and a variety of other actions.
In the Results stage of the Kirkpatrick Training Evaluation Model, we now focus on the big question: did win rates increase?
A final thought on the Kirkpatrick Training Evaluation Model
No model is perfect.
The Kirkpatrick model, however, provides us with a solid framework for thinking about our Enablement efforts.
When you look at your programs, at what stage of evaluation are you currently?
The Kirkpatrick Model of Training provides the core framework for a data-driven approach to sales training — one of the primary pillars of Enablement.
The Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model provides a lens through which to evaluate the impact of your training programs and activities. It includes Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results.
The Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation provides a lens through which to evaluate the impact of your training programs and activities. It includes Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results.