Understanding the ROI of Virtual Training

Training The importance of maintaining momentum is evident in research from Boston Consulting Group. The organization discovered that adaptability is increasingly important as failure occurs faster than in previous years. The data shows that “only 44% of today’s industry leaders have held their position for at least five years, down from 77% a half-century ago.” The takeaway: in a world of accelerating change, the hesitant business unravels faster than ever before. Elevated selling capabilities are needed now so that they can be applied to the intensified selling challenges of today.


As novelist Victor Hugo once wrote, “Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.” VILT is an idea that has found its time amid the heightened scrutiny of ROI metrics. Here, we break down the three key factors supporting the ROI of VILT.

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The Absence of Travel Expenses

Total spending on business travel by domestic and international travelers reached $334.2 billion in 2019, according to data from the U.S. Travel Association. The percentage of employees who travel for business in a typical month ranges from 11.6% to 18.4%, according to additional data from J.P.Morgan.

These figures illustrate the financial implications of joining disparate sales professionals in one location. A VILT approach avoids these costs and represents a significant savings to businesses seeking ways to drive selling skills within a budget.

These savings are needed now as businesses look to aggressively cut budgets without impairing operations. The absence of travel expenses means that for many businesses, a VILT approach requires only two-thirds the cost of a traditional instructor-led training solution.

This savings in travel means that companies will avoid allocating dollars to costs that offer no improvement to the business or the skill of the sales force. Put simply: in a changed economy, businesses need to invest in themselves rather than allocate spending to expenses that do nothing to drive productivity improvements.

VILT also allows leaders to leverage existing technical resources in a more meaningful way because VILT solutions only require lightweight tech platforms whose costs are usually absorbed by the third-party training provider. There are rarely any new IT costs associated with VILT.

A Greater Impact on the Sales Organization

With the substantial savings from travel-related expenses, organizations can redeploy the capital to include more sales professionals in the training initiative. Driving meaningful improvements in sales means equipping the entire organization with the right skills.

Developing change with this inclusive approach to sales training is an idea that is not only intuitive, it is imperative. A McKinsey survey of more than 2,000 executives in 900 companies across various industries found that “the greatest impact on a major change effort’s outcome comes from ownership of and commitment to change.” In their discussions with leaders, the researchers discovered that approximately two-thirds of respondents cited that the single most important factor in driving a successful transformation is a united commitment to change.

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A More Productive Use of Time

Sales professionals need every opportunity they can get to learn about the customer’s challenges. A VILT program recognizes this reality by engaging the sales professional in a way that minimizes time out of market thereby avoiding the lost opportunity cost associated with travel. Sales professional productivity is more important today than ever before. As selling challenges grow, leaders are becoming even more attuned to the value of keeping their team in front of customers and engaged in selling rather than travel.

The impact of opportunity cost becomes even more clear when considering the cost of delaying a VILT program. With each month that a leader chooses to wait, they experience a magnified opportunity cost as additional revenue generated per representative goes unrealized. Avoiding this result means overcoming the “wait and see” approach that is pervasive in an uncertain economy. To do so, leaders need to look beyond near-term challenges. They must consider the downstream effect that inaction today will have on future outcomes.

Inaction is More Expensive than it has Ever Been

The expense associated with waiting is so impactful that it has entered the modern business lexicon as “COI” — the cost of inaction. This cost is more than an abstract concept. It represents dollars that can be isolated on a budget.

The world has proven it can change overnight, and successful businesses are not waiting for the next upheaval to determine their fates. They are responding to far reaching changes with equally far-reaching initiatives that will equip their sales teams with the skills to connect with customers in any environment.