The Sales Review

The Direct Correlation Between Learning Behavior And Sales Results

Written by Jamie Shanks | Dec 6, 2017 3:13:20 PM

A passion project of mine has been working with customers to empirically prove that sales professionals who are willing to learn new skills and apply what they’ve learned in the market are most likely to outperform their peers.

Along this journey, we’ve begun combining our learning behavioral information (data gathered from our Learning Management System) against the CRM data of each of our customers. In between the correlation between learning behaviour and revenue is action - also known as digital activity. An example of this action indicator is LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI), content sharing from your employer advocacy tool or the acceleration of new contacts in your CRM per account (drawn from social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter).

One of our customer who is a leading computer software company, shared the exact same vision as I’ve always had.

Does Learning = Revenue?

Their sales enablement team decided to put this thesis to the test “does learning = revenue?”

What they did is utilize our Social Selling MasteryⓇ certification as a behavioural litmus test. They correlated all 3,000 sellers ability to finish the program, become certificated, versus the unfortunate inevitability of sellers quitting halfway through the program and not applying new skills in the market.

The results speak for themselves. Those sellers that became certified, within 6 months, created 38% more revenue (and 55% more pipeline) than those that did not become certified.

Here’s the kicker, I don’t believe it necessarily has anything to do with social selling. I believe that strong sales enablement teams understand that learning behavior is the leading indicator you need for change management to take root. This change management can come in any form, such as the adoption of your new CRM, a new sales playbook or a sales motion.

I want you to think about this in the context of high school students in a classroom environment. A teacher has an end goal which is to have everyone pass their final exams and move to post-secondary education. This is a lagging indicator. What do teachers use as their leading indicators? Day in and day out, I get asked from sales enablement leaders about how to measure social selling and what is the single unit of measurement I can use for social selling? Some sales enablement later leaders have been using the LinkedIn SSI scores as their single unit of measurement.

Using the high school analogy, the LinkedIn SSI is exactly like using a spelling bee, a pop quiz or a book report, as your single measurement to school success. This is only one indicator (current indicator) not a leading indicator. So, if the student fails the spelling bee then you as the teacher, need to go back and understand what hasn’t been absorbed or lost in translation.

The Highest Probability For Success

You need a leading indicator. Learning new skills are single greatest leading indicator to change management, regardless of what that change management is. The message here for every enablement is that you must create a mechanism to capture and identify those sellers that are willing to learn new skills, and will provide you the highest probability for future success.