The Kirkpatrick Model: Measuring the Impact of Sales Training

Aug 17, 2017

One of the most common questions that our customers ask us is how to measure the impact of their sales training. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, the Kirkpatrick Model is a benchmark framework that has been used for over 60 years across many disciplines to measure the impact of sales training. In this post, I’ll outline the Kirkpatrick Model and how it applies to sales training.

The Four levels of the Kirkpatrick Model

Level 1: Reaction

This considers whether your reps found the sales training useful, engaging and relevant to their role. It also looks at whether your reps were actively involved in the learning and whether they will be able to apply this learning on the job.

Questions to ask:

  • Did your reps enjoy the sales training?
  • Was it a good use of your reps’ time?
  • Was the length of the training appropriate?
  • Did your reps feel comfortable participating?

How to measure it:

  • Surveys and polls for feedback
  • Learning completion rates
  • Gamification to measure engagement
  • Grading reps with quizzes
  • Feedback on subsequent performance by their managers

When to do it:

Much of this can be measured during and immediately after the training has been completed. Specific time periods can also be determined to measure that the learning has been both adopted and retained.

Level 2: Learning

This measures how much the rep knowledge and selling skill increased as a result of training.

Questions to ask:

  • Have your reps learned what they needed to?
  • Have reps skills improved in the way that was intended?
  • How much have the reps skills improved as a result of the training?

How to measure it:

  • Knowledge certification
  • Sales skill certification
  • Program certification
  • Demo role play certification

When to do it:

Some of these can be measured during the training or immediately afterward. Others may require additional time to give reps time to absorb and practice selling skills.

Level 3: Behavior

This measures how reps use what they have learned in their roles. It includes measuring behavioral change.

Questions to ask:

  • Are reps using the knowledge and skills they learned in their role?
  • How has performance changed as a result of the learning?
  • Have sales increased?
  • Did it help them improve their selling skills?
  • Will it help them sell more?
  • Has time to productivity reduced? (for sales onboarding)
  • Are your sales reps aware that their sales skills have improved?

How to measure it:

  • Manager-driven evaluations
  • Identifying and closing gaps
  • Reviewing sales performance by cohort or individual reps over time

When to do it:

Some can be measured immediately, but many will require performance to be reviewed over a longer period of time, for example periodically measuring improvements in sales performance.

Level 4: Results

This measures business outcomes and performance as a result of the training.

Indicators to measure:

  • Sales and revenue
  • Turnover of sales reps
  • Impact on specific stages of sales funnel (for example demo conversions)
  • Number of calls/meetings held
  • Number of opportunities added to pipeline / CRM
  • Number of proposals/quotes submitted
  • % of leads converted to opportunities
  • % Opportunities converted to close
  • Average deal size per rep
  • Time from the pipeline to quota
  • % forecast achieved

The Kirkpatrick Model also defines when this should be done. You can measure these indicators depending on the lag time for the relevant ones. Some can be measured almost instantly (like a number of certifications) while others will have a longer lag time (like % of forecast achieved).