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Sharks, Ice Cream, and Sales Talent…?

News Flash! Talent Analytics is a hot trend. Okay, so that’s not new news. But, the number of companies focusing on it might just surprise you. According to Bersin by Deloitte, more than 60% of companies are increasing investment in this area. Why? Because, companies that excel in Talent Analytics have improved their recruiting by 2X, leadership pipeline by 3X, and financial performance as well.

But buyer, beware! Lots of providers claim to have solutions for Talent Analytics, but almost all of them only help define correlation, not causation. Is there a correlation between ice cream sales and shark attacks? Yes; they both increase during the summer months. But just because ice cream sales go up, that does not mean that it causes (causation) more shark attacks.

While there are many different types of data related to sales training and learning, there are three that are critical to measuring business impact/ROI:

  1. Knowledge – understanding of skills, competencies, and tools
  2. Application – an individual’s ability to apply their knowledge
  3. Performance – both leading (pipeline-related) and lagging (business outcomes) indicators

The easiest to capture are knowledge and performance, but these only help define correlation, not causation.

To prove a causation relationship in Talent Analytics, organizations need to capture application-level learning data — essentially, how effectively a learner applies their knowledge. Application is the 70 in the 70/20/10 Model for L&D.

The good news is that it is absolutely possible to capture application data. The key is to have sales and sales management processes that provide managers with application checkpoints, also called observable behaviors. Then, managers can inspect using a variety of methods: CRM, ride-alongs, 180°/360° surveys, and more.

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