NetPlus Academy: Ways to Measure ROI with Tooling U’s eLearning Platform

Training for sales representatives or agents typically falls into four categories: technology and application fundamentals, product specific information, sales skills, and organizational awareness.

If salespeople don’t have general knowledge about the industry, applications and processes, they will struggle with differentiating their company’s products from those of competitors or how to sell new items in the product line.

Considering that this type of knowledge is necessary for a competitive advantage, why does it frequently fall to the bottom of the sales training priority list?

The importance is often lost in translation. While sales managers may recognize the dangers of substandard sales training, many struggle with communicating the value of investing in human capital to higher-level decision makers.

If this sounds familiar, follow the lead of world-class companies that have learned to speak the language of leadership and make a business case for sales training as a tool to boost employee retention, build long-term customer relationships and increase sales.

Tooling U-SME through the NetPlus Academy provides examples of how to measure return on investment (ROI), showing the positive impact of learning and development in addressing four business pains:

  1. Increase sales through improved cross selling (existing salespeople)

    Salespeople tend to sell what they know. A fundamental understanding of the highly technical products, services and applications in manufacturing is critical for industrial salespeople. Through enhanced technical training, reps can build the confidence they need to sell each product in a wide portfolio. This training helps salespeople improve sales call effectiveness, reduce missed opportunities, improve cross selling and increase their sales volume by selling more to existing customers. An added advantage is that reps will have the knowledge to sell on technical value, not just price alone.

  2. Accelerate on-boarding (new hires)

    A faster ramp up for new salespeople is a competitive advantage, helping generate sales more quickly. Incorporating Tooling U-SME in a more formalized on-boarding program can accelerate on-boarding so employees gain confidence, reduce time to competency and start adding value sooner. This is especially important for distributors that experience high turnover.

  3. Reduce turnover (existing salespeople)

    Sales departments face high annual turnover for both inside (26.9 percent) and outside (25.7 percent) roles. This comes at a high cost: the average cost per turnover is $97,690. Implementing a formal training program is one way to help with retention as people often cite the lack of professional development as a reason for leaving their jobs. For instance, a recent survey showed nearly one in three people left their previous job due to lack of skills development. A strong training program assures employees that a company is investing time and money in their development, which boosts morale and productivity. The end result is a better ROI from retaining a sales rep. After all, turnover also has a negative impact on customers.

  4. Eliminate travel costs and keep reps in the field (existing salespeople) 

    According to ATD, companies spend an annual average of nearly $1,500 per person for training. By changing the way salespeople are trained – moving from traditional offsite training for fundamental and product training to a blended training model incorporating online training can reduce travel expense and keep reps in their territories and in front of customers. When live training does occur, the trainees get the greatest value out of their live sessions having fulfilled the prerequisites.

“A salesperson might be an expert in abrasives but not in cutting tools. E-learning is very helpful for salespeople so they feel comfortable having conversations with customers. It gives them a confidence boost.” – Mendee Hopper, Director of Human Resources, Hoffman Group USA

The bottom line is that poor customer service and lack of industry knowledge via improperly trained salespeople leads to lost business. It’s really difficult to grow sales when you are losing customers.

The antidote? An investment in training, including efficient and cost-effective eLearning, gives employees the confidence to drive better discussions, cross-sell, handle issues, and build customer loyalty.


All NetPlus members will have access to three introductory classes:

  • Cutting Processes 111 from Metal Cutting
  • Introduction to OSHA 101 from Safety Integrating Additive Manufacturing with Traditional
  • Manufacturing 221 from Additive Manufacturing

In addition to these introductory classes, members will have access to premium courses in categories of their choice. The categories include but are not limited to:

  • MRO
  • Safety
  • Metalworking
  • Contractor supplies

How it works:

  • NetPlus members will be given login credentials for an ‘admin’ page
  • Through the ‘admin’ page, NetPlus members can subscribe an unlimited number of ‘students’ to the introductory courses mentioned above (*please note that subscriptions are limited for the premium courses and that the number of subscriptions you have for these are based on your Points Plus status)
  • ‘Students’ login to the student’s portal to access their subscribed courses and begin learning