As a result of the new e-learning program, the number of hours spent in training were cut from 105 hours to 49 hours per sales associate. Annual earnings show a revenue increase of approximately 13 percent. One-year tracking showed the following: Within a week after attending the sales academy, sales associates were contacting 10 new prospects and conducting needs assessment 80 percent of the time; the number of sales proposals that the sales associates generated based on those analyses within 30 days increased 22 percent; the number of new accounts opened increased 32 percent; and the number of customers retained increased 8 percent.

Intangible benefits included improved customer satisfaction and retention. There was also a notable increase of motivation among the sales associates (Table 9-2).

Table 9-2. Level 4 Results of the Sales Academy Program

Level 4 Evaluation Item


Hours reduced in training per sales associate

56-hour reduction

Annual revenue

13 percent increase

New prospects contacted

10 per week

Needs assessment conducted

80 percent of the time

Number of sales proposals generated based on those analyses within 30 days

22 percent increase

Number of new accounts opened

32 percent increase

Number of customers retained

8 percent increase

Dollars earned from new accounts

19 percent increase ($20,000,000 to $23,800,000)

Dollars earned from cross-selling


The amount of dollars earned from new account sales increased 19 percent, from

$20,000,000 to $23,800,000. Participants and their managers estimated that the revised sales academy contributed to 70 percent of the new account sales with a confidence level of 65 percent. The amount gained from cross-selling was $120,000,000. The participants and their managers estimated that the revised sales academy contributed to 45 percent of the cross-selling earnings with a confidence level of 25 percent. The two revenue figures were converted to profit margin using a 30 percent margin rate, according to the financial averages of the company (Table 9-3).

Table 9-3. Benefits Adjusted for Isolation and Confidence Estimates

Hours Reduced in Training

Amount Saved

Isolation Adjustments

Final Result



70% Estimate

65% Confidence


Amount of increased dollars generated from new account sales

$3,800,000 ($23,800,000 –


70% Estimate

65% Confidence

30% Profit margin


Amount of increased dollars earned from cross-selling


45% Estimate

25% Confidence

30% Profit margin




An ROI of 19.9 percent means that for every $1 invested in the program, there is a return of $1.20 in net benefits, after costs are covered. These benefits are representative of annual benefit, showing the amount saved or earned for one year following the launch of the e-learning sales academy program. The benefits will continue after the first year and are likely to increase in the case of this program. Although the impact sometimes decreases in traditional learning settings after the first year, this is not always true for e-learning programs. Given the up-front technology and development expenses in e-learning, the benefits may increase significantly after year one.

This case study shows annual benefits, but ROI practitioners should consider the multiyear impact of e-learning programs. Accountants frequently use depreciation and amortization to spread out the costs of assets during the years a company intends to use the assets. Companies often use a conventional straight-line method of depreciation, which depreciates the same amount of cost each year rather than depreciating more during the first few years after the purchase of a major asset. Overall, the straight-line method results in lower expenses, and, consequently, higher profits in the first few years after the purchase. Another method—particularly for technology investments—is the accelerated method. It is strongly recommended to partner with the financial analyst to follow the preferred method of depreciation. When considering long-term impact, the shelf life of the e-learning program in its current format must be determined.

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