A well-designed and executed sales enablement strategy should have a measurable impact on sales results and revenue. Often the challenge is identifying and implementing the right elements, metrics and priorities.
Key actions are to:
- Align performance expectations with business stakeholders to choose the most meaningful measurements.
- Establish performance milestones (say, every month, two months, six months and so on) and clarify how you plan to measure and report progress against these.
- Make sure everyone, from managers to new hires, are on the same page.
It’s wise to concentrate on a small amount of metrics initially - the key ones will be linked in existing fields in your CRM.
You can add others of your own later on as needed, but avoid overwhelming yourself with so much data that you don’t have time to actually analyze it or act on the insights they give you. You don’t need to measure something just because you have access to the data.
You need to measure the inputs as well as the outputs in SE, and we’ll go into more depth in this article. We'll also focus on:
These cover everything that leads up to closing a sale, and which tell you how well your sales enablement inputs are impacting performance. These include:
- Time to productivity
- Available selling time
- Content usage
- Sales confidence
These measurements cover the outputs, ie, the actual results. For example, win/close rates - which we’ll concentrate on further down. This is arguably more of a ‘sales’ metric than a sales enablement metric, but it’s still useful as an indirect measure of where sales reps could be struggling along the buyer’s journey.
Time to productivity
This is the time it takes to onboard and ramp new sales reps to full productivity - and is a measure of the effectiveness of your enablement programs in getting them up to speed.
Onboarding is your process for engaging new hires, and setting expectations from the outset (yours and theirs). Ramping is the coaching and training you give to get them ready for selling. Both processes are designed to set your new team member up for success and help them to be as productive as possible, as soon as possible - getting this right can lead to higher job satisfaction, lower turnover and higher performance.
Cutting down this ‘time to productivity’ is one of the primary metrics that can help prove the effectiveness of your training and coaching programs. Decreasing ramp times for new employees indicate sales enablement efforts are improving.
Why this metric matters
The more effectively you onboard your new sales hires, the faster they will ramp; the faster they ramp, the sooner they start generating revenue. According to revenue intelligence platform, Gong.io, an employee who ramps in five months can bring in more than $80K annual revenue than one that takes seven:
Available selling time
Great enablement programs empower reps by providing all the tools they need to sell, when they need them. The more time they spend on the phone actually selling, the more deals they can close.
Something that commonly eats into this time is having to search for buyer guides, customer stories, presentations, training materials and any other content they need to move the sale along. The best sales enablement strategies empower salespeople by providing them with all the tools they need to sell in one, simple and easy-to-navigate location, using apps such as Highspot and Seismic.
To ensure success, measure the percentage of each rep’s time spent on actual sales and attainment. You could do this by:
- Monitoring the actual time sales reps spend on the phone each day, week or month.
- Using your CRM to track how many calls reps are able to get through in a set timeframe.
Why this metric matters
When you enable reps with greater focus and fewer interruptions, they can concentrate on increasing revenue.
Content usage and customization
Following on from the point above, ensuring reps have easy access to content is an essential part of sales enablement. But there’s no point creating content that doesn’t actually get used.
So, look at how often a sales rep opens, views or downloads a piece of content you’ve created - the more views it gets, the more effective it’s being. If your reps are regularly using your battlecard, let’s say, odds are it’s doing a good job.
If, on the other hand, no one’s touched your competitor comparison chart in a while that could be a sign that they either don’t know how to use it, which would indicate extra training is required, or that when they have used it, but it hasn’t helped them.
There are tools that can help you not only track numbers like views, but also enable your sales reps to give your content a star rating which is another way to measure its effectiveness. As well as using these quantitative metrics, we’d also recommend pairing it with some qualitative research, so asking your sales reps what about those assets they find most useful, which situations they usually use them in, what kind of responses they get from prospects when using them, and so on.
Tools like Docsend, Showpad and Domo can help you do that.
Why this metric matters
Content is a powerful tool for helping frontline salespeople engage with customers - but only if it’s relevant and actually useful. Identifying what is and what isn’t working allows you to feedback to whoever’s creating the content, and brief them on the kinds of material that would be most useful to reps so they can adapt their approach.
Product knowledge alone isn’t enough to convince someone to buy your product. Potential customers need to sense self-assurance, so reps must be able to talk to them with conviction and sincerity about your product and how it could help them.
This one’s simply a case of surveying your sales guys and understanding how enabled and prepared they feel when heading into a pitch.
You can do this with a simple survey, but make sure you ask the right questions, like:
- “How confident do you feel when pitching our product?”
- “How equipped do you feel to beat the competition?”
- “How would you rate the sale assets you have available to you?”
Just remember not to launch your survey near the end of a sales cycle; your participation rate won’t be great as everyone will be too busy chasing targets.
Why this metric matters
A core part of sales enablement is to equip reps with all the tools and support they need to feel self-assured and assertive when they pick up the phone, turn on their video or (when the opportunity allows) walk into a meeting. If this isn’t happening, it’s your job to fix it.
You can have hundreds of leads, dozens of opportunities, and sales forecasts with big numbers, but it all really comes down to how many sales are actually closed.
You can measure this in two ways:
- The ratio of sales won. This is the number of opportunities won divided by the number you had the potential to win ( wins / total opportunities.). For example, if, say, out of 20 opportunities, five are won, then the win rate is 0.25%.
- The revenue achieved for each closed sale. For this, you look at the revenue estimate from all of your opportunities versus the actual revenue achieved when the sales are closed. So if those 20 opportunities totalled an estimated £500,000 dollars revenue, and the five that closed actually brought in £75,000, then the win rate is 0.15% (£75,000 divided by £500,000).
As you can see, there's a big difference with these percentages, so it's valuable to track the ratio of measurements using both formulas.
There are obviously a lot of factors that can affect this one, like the number and quality of leads in the first place, for example, but the value of the coaching and training provided by sales enablement needs to be taken into account and requires some qualitative digging. Are you reps following each step of the sales cadence correctly? Do they know the techniques for overcoming objections?
Regardless, this lead-to-conversion measurement is important for sales enablement to keep an eye on; positive trends indirectly indicate sales enablement efforts are having the desired impact!
What to do with the insights
Obviously, the stories these metrics tell you need to feed back into your ongoing enablement initiatives.
You could try A/B testing. As you respond to feedback by making adjustments to your approach, test your changes with pilot groups and look at the differences before implementing them on a broader scale.
Finally, numbers are important, but fostering a culture of support and transparency have a huge impact on performance expectations. Make sure you are facilitating employee connections, reinforcing your culture, and pairing the new hires with mentors who they can approach for advice.
When you combine thoughtful conversation with good, accurate data about their work, it shows reps that you care about helping them succeed, and that's the most rewarding part of the sales enablement role.