How Can You Measure Sales Enablement Success?
There’s no shortage of radically different ideas and perspectives when it comes to Sales.
To define and measure your Sales enablement process, all you need is evidence – sound data differentiated into metrics that make the most sense for your business’s line of work.
Determining exactly what that data is may not be an easy, instantaneous process. Measuring the strength of the Sales enablement process is a lot more nuanced than gauging the dollars-and-cents value of transactions that take place within the Sales cycle. However, it’s not impossible by any means, as long as you have the full participation of the Sales rep and Marketing departments. Methods for achieving this necessary measurement most efficiently include using the most pertinent key performance indicators and leveraging the proper tools – such as a robust Sales enablement solution.
Determining ideal Sales enablement metrics to track
Before you get into the nitty-gritty details of exactly which metrics you aim to use in your exploration of Sales enablement strategy and its levels of success, it will first be necessary to nail down what you’re hoping to assess. Is it just the monetary value brought in by the efforts of each Sales rep, and the ways in which your Sales enablement strategy affected it? Or is it something more complex?
If it’s the former, that will appear easy enough – at least in theory: You would compare the dollar figures brought in by particular Sales people with the levels of training they received on an individual basis from managers and/or coaches, as well as anything they might have learned from training modules within Sales enablement software platforms.
But what does that really tell you when push comes to shove?
There will undoubtedly be Sales agents whose skills are largely innate and can’t definitively be traced back to any training they underwent on your team or in your organization. Or they might have learned a great deal from your coaching but succeeded in their most lucrative Sales calls for ultimately unrelated reasons – excellent support from the Marketing team, for example. Perhaps it was really nothing more than the most cosmically random bit of dumb luck – which is one of the few metrics that can’t (and, for obvious reasons, shouldn’t) be quantified.
Striking a balance between concrete and abstract metrics
Any Sales metric focused on things that can be contradicted through the assorted vagaries of the Sales process are not worth focusing on. Instead, look at concrete details – number of emails sent, pieces of Sales enablement content shared, lead-to-conversion rate, close rate, length of Sales calls, quota attainment and so on.
Not all of these metrics will have clear effects on the success of either Sales enablement or the overall Sales cycle, but in the instances that they do affect it positively, it’ll be easier to map how it happened with such tangible details. From there, you can create a template or formula that can be followed by other members of the Sales and Marketing teams in the foreseeable future – and perhaps even be incorporated within training and onboarding programs for new sellers.
Last but not least, you will also want to consider quantifying your organization’s Sales efficiency, which, while slightly more on the abstract side than nuts-and-bolts metrics such as conversion rate, can serve as a solidly effective barometer of your Sales enablement’s level of success.
Complete this equation by taking the annualized recurring revenue from a given quarter (the current one), and then dividing it by the sum total of everything you spent on Marketing and Sales operations during the previous quarter. (While you should have certain other metrics at your disposal as you go about this process – particularly the previous quarter’s ARR – for comparative purposes, it won’t factor into the ratio calculation itself.)
So if your organization brought in $200,000 worth of revenue at an annualized rate in the most recent quarter (let’s say Q3 for purposes of this example), after having spent $200,000 on all of the necessary aspects of Sales and Marketing, your Sales efficiency ratio would be 1.
This is a good thing.
You don’t want it to be too much higher, as this may mean that you’re investing too little in Sales, Marketing or both.
At the same time, you should definitely strive to have a score no lower than 0.5 according to this set of metrics, because that is often indicative of a business with an unsustainable model for investable growth. Falling between 0.5 and 1 is considered reasonable, and somewhere within the range of 1.1 to 1.5 should be looked on favorably.
Positive metrics arrived at using the math described above (as well as alternative methods of gauging Sales efficiency like the Bessemer CAC Ratio or Payback Period formulas) can reasonably indicate the success of Sales enablement. After all, if your Sales efficiency is favorable, your organization is most likely doing something right in terms of enabling its success.
Different Sales enablement measurements for different types of businesses
It should be noted that the statistical measurements and tools you can employ in the pursuit of measuring the Sales enablement success of your organization won’t necessarily be the same as those of every other business – at least not in terms of the specific value of each one.
For example, a more insular organization in the B2B sphere will clearly have different Sales goals than one that was strictly B2C, even if their size, relatively speaking, is about the same.
The former company will rely far less on direct marketing tools like social media and direct mail than the latter, focusing instead on trade shows, industry conventions, and similar networking opportunities to promote its products or services.
B2B organizations working in niche or esoteric fields are also, not realistically, going to be focused on hitting the same Sales and Marketing targets as B2C companies (even smaller ones).
At the very least, they would care less about the number of Sales transactions and more about the dollar figures of individual deals.
B2C businesses require high Sales volume to keep their name in the marketplace amid clear and present competition, whereas a handful of new, big contracts with a large enterprise can keep a B2B services firm afloat for several quarters if new Sales diminish during that span of time.
This difference also applies to measuring Sales enablement success: Strong coaching that imbues Sales reps with the sort of conversational and empathetic skills essential to forming solid bonds with prospects will be especially important in the B2B sphere, so such an organization would want to regularly assess the efficacy of its coaching in terms of how well sellers are developing those specific communicative abilities.
Meanwhile, in a more fast-paced B2C environment, economic necessity dictates that you pay attention to how well your enablement strategies are preparing Sales reps to close deals at a more brisk pace (ideally without making the customer feel as if they’re being rushed along or unduly manipulated, of course).
How do you figure out the perfect KPIs for measuring your Sales enablement success?
There are considerable risks that can arise if you are not assessing the quality of your Sales – and Sales enablement – processes in ways that make the most sense for your organization.
Perhaps most notably, if you do not measure the effectiveness of your Sales enablement strategy in the manner most appropriate for your organization, you ultimately won’t know if your overall Sales strategy is really working or not. And if you don’t know that, you won’t know what you should and shouldn’t be doing in this regard, which can lead to making bad decisions down the line – mistakes that can lead your business down a dangerous path toward failure.
The agile, multifaceted Sales enablement platform from Showpad could be just what you need to determine the best metrics for assessing Sales enablement success for the unique situation your organization operates in.
Through a seamless merger of Sales enablement content and coaching functionality that integrates easily with CRM tools from associated departments like Marketing and Account Management, Showpad’s solution allows all personnel associated with bringing in new business to be on the same page regarding how success is gauged and quantified, creating a unity of purpose that will serve the organization’s bottom line well going forward.