Your executive team tells you that the sales reps you manage needs soft skills training. They are unhappy after last quarter’s sales results and this quarter’s pipeline is equally disappointing.

Everyone agrees that something isn’t working. But you aren’t so sure that soft skills training will fix the whole problem. What if training isn’t the problem at all? What other outside forces might be impacting your reps’ performance?

Before you start contacting vendors or designing the training yourself, what questions would you ask to make sure you know what the real problem is?

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Interested in learning more about analysis? Watch our recorded webinar: Measure Twice, Cut Once: How Analysis Impacts Business Results.

The Importance of Analysis

Many of our long term clients begin their relationship with us with an analysis project. They are aware of a performance issue in their organization and they may already have a specific solution type in mind that they think they want. But sometimes when we dig deeper, we find that the original solution the organization wanted will not achieve their desired result.

Analysis is tempting to overlook or skip because it adds cost to training design and development. It can also add anywhere from a few days to several months of upfront time to a project… and this is simply not feasible for many timelines. We often find that organizations benefit from some type of analysis before jumping right to design, but budget and timeline condense the actual time available for analysis to just a few days.

This means project managers and learning designers must choose the right types of analysis to conduct with surgical precision.

What Type of Analysis Do I Need?

We decide what types of analysis to conduct for each client depending on the business need.

Needs Analysis: Needs analysis is essential when the problem state is unclear and the organization has not yet identified what is preventing them from achieving their desired outcome. The performance outcome itself might still be up for debate and various stakeholders may have differences of opinion. No needs analysis is exactly like the other, but simple tools like our training needs analysis worksheet are great ways to get started.

Audience Analysis: Audience analysis is often done when the recipients are often customers or other “non-employees.” It is also used with large groups of employees to learn about how their education level, job experience and current knowledge impact their performance. Audience analysis usually involves identifying a group of “peak performers”, analyzing their performance, and determining what it is that makes this performance preferable to the rest of the audience.

Task Analysis: Task analysis is essential when looking at a specific role or job function. It usually involves activities like job shadowing and interviewing to find out what a specific job function is really like and and identify the frequency, importance or difficulty of various tasks. We often use a task analysis worksheet to show the order of tasks performed and measure their importance.

How Is Data Gathered for Each Analysis Type?

Knowing what type of analysis to conduct is just the beginning. Depending on the type of analysis needed, you will need to conduct interviews, surveys, focus groups, job shadows and more to gather the right data. And then, of course, you must take all of the information gathered, figure out what’s important, and draw your conclusions!

And then you can get to work designing the actual training!

Tools to Get Started With Analysis

I’ll be sharing more information on how to conduct an analysis that informs and improves your training design over the coming months. We’ve also turned some of our favorite analysis tools into downloadable resources you can put to work immediately:

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TiER1 Performance Indy

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