ROI is one of the only true and accurate ways you can judge a project’s success, but how you measure it varies from client-to-client and project-to-project.

When Hotelplan tasked us with rolling out a Learning Management System (LMS) and eLearning content, the criteria for judging success was simple. It wanted to help agents sell more holidays by retaining the knowledge they had learned about HotelPlan’s holidays – and it worked:

  • Hotelplan saw a £10 return for every pound it invested.
  • Those agents selling skiing breaks generated 9% more revenue than they had over the same timeframe in the previous year.
  • Agents selling customers a trip to the Italian lakes had done even better, increasing revenue by 10%.
  • While across the board, 21 agents who hadn’t made any bookings with Hotelplan by the same time in the previous year, had made one or more sales.

In total, the prediction of return looked set to reach half a million pounds. When we did the analysis, it kept coming back to the success of the LMS and ORCKID’s content.

ROI is bespoke – and so is good training

When we speak with new clients, we often find they have no idea where their ROI sits. Our job is to help them work out their current position, and what they want to achieve.

Eventually, we will find things like investment returns and comparisons of net profit, but to get to that data, there are other factors that need to be considered.

When we rolled out eLearning for Prudential, which helped educate the staff on how GDPR specifically affected their business, it was crucial that the staff retained what it had learned. The consequences of getting it wrong would be expensive, and a PR nightmare.

But how do you measure that kind of return? Do you count how many people haven’t slipped up after training, or do you test them in six months’ time to see who recalls the content?

Whether it be Google, O2, Cambridge Audio or Hotelplan; each client measures a project’s ROI using a different scale, which is why we believe off-the-shelf products simply don’t deliver.

Off-the-shelf training can help with basic soft skills training, like handling complaints and improving fundamental communication skills, but only bespoke eLearning, built to meet a defined brief, can deliver the kind of double-digit ROI that our clients expect and receive.

You need to consider who is undertaking the training, their demographics, whether they are technophobes or tech connoisseurs, how they use language, and in the case of Hotelplan, how they book holidays and how best the learner would remember what they have been taught.

How metrics can help

Of course, ROI can only ever be gauged in retrospect, but by using the LMS to gather multiple metrics datasets, we can help our clients measure eLearning’s impact on their business in close-to-real-time.

The Hotelplan platform was the first to replicate the information in holiday brochures, with the specific aim of helping staff retain that information more effectively.

In an agency where half the walls are covered in brochures, reps will flick through a few of them, remember what they can, and keep selling the ones that stick in their mind. We helped Hotelplan’s retailers learn more – about the locations, resorts and holiday packages in context – and we made it engaging. Sales staff were far more inclined to come back and refresh their knowledge from our content than picking up a brochure they had already looked through once.

For me, this is particularly pertinent. Research has shown that the human mind forgets 80% of what it learns in a fortnight or less, so if eLearning can help staff keep that knowledge for just one week longer, it could increase sell-through by up to 50%.

By gathering metrics, we can see if people come back and relearn a module, which makes a huge difference to retention. Looking at how they work, what their scores are, whether we can tweak the module itself or update the roadmap in response… all of that helps ROI going forward.

Indeed you can even expect the RO to increase in the short- to medium-term.

Once the cost of the LMS and initial content has been accounted for, we just need to update the content each year. At that point, Hotelplan would expect to see its ROI increase, since its income will be sustained despite a reduction in its ongoing investment.