Meeting the ROI Challenge

By Heather Baldwin

In this era of corporate financial hypervigilance, every penny counts. Which is why more and more companies are looking to quantify their return on investment on everything from company cars to coffee filters. That’s why Nick Payne, director of North American training for Dade Behring, recently employed Knowledge Anywhere’s Meeting Maximizer (www.knowledgeanywhere.com), a tool that helps calculate ROI for meetings.

Dade Behring, one of the largest clinical diagnostics companies in the world, holds an annual national training meeting attended by roughly 800 employees. In the past, Payne says he has relied on senior managers to tell him where their sales reps need training. This year, Payne forewent the anecdotal feedback in favor of empirical data. “We’re doing an electronic survey that tests knowledge of features and benefits, pricing, consultative selling and other areas,” says Payne. “Our sales force is divided into different categories based on sections of the laboratory and we have an assessment for each product line. After we get the feedback, we’ll design training around where we’ve identified gaps.” For instance, if 50 percent of the sales team misses questions on pricing, “then we know we need to do pricing training,” Payne explains.

Payne has used surveys before, but he says the electronic format provided by Meeting Maximizer “gives you a very pure methodology to analyze the data.” Not only that, it saved Payne roughly a week’s worth of work by eliminating the analysis that previously had to be done by hand. The format also helps salespeople by giving them instant feedback regarding the questions they missed and why.

ROI will be derived from a better-targeted training curriculum, says Payne. “When you can direct training to the specific topics that are needed, you get an immediate ROI,” he says. “We’ve got 250 reps in the field. If we did eight hours of unnecessary training, that’s 4,000 hours total, which is like having two sales reps out of the field for the whole year.”