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Hey Training Pros: Are you confusing operational and results metrics?

Written by Julia Borgini

Published on November 3, 2016

Part of the process of creating customer education programs is to know what happens after participants take the training. Metrics are a good way of analyzing how the program is doing. You can look at the number of participants, the number of completions, the feedback you received, product usage, customer outcomes, and more.

But is that all you want to know? Just the straight numbers about it?

This where comparing the operational and results metrics of your training programs comes in. You want to know not only the plain numbers of your program, but also how the program ties in to business outcomes and results for it. In short, it's the difference between metrics and KPIs, or key performance indicators. Before we dive any deeper, let's take a look at a few basic definitions.

Definitions of metrics and KPIs, according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

  • Metrics typically refers to measurements of a business activity. In terms of training, this could be how many customers signed up, how many attended the training, how many finished, etc.

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) refer to measurements of a business activity's progress towards the business goals it is trying to achieve.

Start here: Gather your training program metrics

In order to develop any KPIs for your training programs, you must first see what kind of metrics you have available right now. Gather all of the data you have and do a gap analysis of what you may need to help going forward.

That means finding all of the spreadsheets, online surveys, feedback sheets, and whatever raw data your training department may already have. Your existing data will help you set up the baseline metrics for the KPI targets you will create and assign next. In order to get started and establish a rhythm, it is best to start with metrics for which you already have data, rather than with metrics for which you have no data. It is best to start with what you have and the iterate.

Finish here: Set up KPIs to measure your training program success

Executive teams typically wants to see KPIs for most of their business units because it helps them chart overall business success, which is what they're after. Customer education pros use (or should use) KPIs to help develop training programs to support the overall business success of the company. They develop a better understanding of how their work supports the business goals, which helps them create programs that are valuable to employees.

You should work collaboratively with management and selected employees to set the targets they will work towards. Then assign the KPIs that help them measure their success in attaining that target. Here are five suggested targets for corporate training programs:

  • Achievement: Training helps employees reach or exceed the target. Exceeding the target is a nice-to-have, but the minimum status is the reach this target. For example, customer satisfaction, product use, or renewal rates.

  • Reduction: Training helps customers equal the target or come in under the target. Coming in under the target is preferable, but not required. For example, reducing the number of calls to customer/technical support or reducing the number of days in a buying cycle.

  • Absolute: Training helps customers equal the target exactly. Anything above or below the target is a concern. For example, customers achieve a particular adoption rate after participating in training.

  • Minimum/Maximum: Training helps customers achieve a performance within a range of values. Anything above or below the target is a concern. For example, going outside a "call waiting time" for customer/technical support agents.

  • Zero: Training helps customers achieve a zero rating in their performance. For example, no technical support calls about a particular issue.

Metrics + KPIs = True measurement of training success

In business, numbers and targets cannot exist apart. They need to work together to give the true value and success of your business. That goes for customer education teams, as well. As part of your process for developing training programs, analysis is critical to see how you're doing. Analyzing your training with a results-oriented lens will help you keep your programs on target and relevant for your business.


To dig further into this topic, we hosted a webinar on Tuesday, October 25 called Demonstrate the Value of Customer Education with Salesforce. This webinar aimed to further our ability to make the connection between customer training activity and account performance, so that we can show management how customer education improves some or all of the metrics the business cares about most. We showed examples of how this can be done in Salesforce, if your LMS and Salesforce are integrated the right way. 

We recorded the webinar so you can watch it whenever you like. Click on the button below to view the recording.

Register Here