Analytics, which can also be referred to as data science, is best described as the formal process of discovering and illustrating the patterns that can be found in data. (The word is also sometimes interchangeably used with “big data,” but to be clear, analytics involves reviewing and drawing actionable conclusions from information, whereas the former is just the info.)
In recent years, analytics has found widespread adoption in numerous businesses across all areas of operations, including Sales and Marketing. As such, it makes sense that use of the method could also apply to subsets of those major categories, such as the Sales enablement process. Tracking specific Sales enablement metrics – ranging from conversion percentages and quota attainment to other less conventional but still valuable statistics – can help your business boost its chances of fostering and maintaining success throughout the Sales process.
Anatomy of a Transaction: Analytics Usage in the Sales Cycle
As we pointed out in a previous blog, information is a key “coin of the realm” in Sales operations. A Sales rep will benefit considerably from knowing as much as possible about a particular prospect – and they should ideally have that information well in advance of the actual meeting or call with the lead in question.
Information that can be valuable in this context includes details of the prospect’s occupation, industry, specific business needs, and history of prior interactions with your company. (The latter of which should encompass everything from downloading an ebook prepared by your content Marketing team or following one of the organization’s social media pages, to past Sales and the revenue those transactions brought in.)
Then you have the various nuggets of information that stem from the Sales process itself: The dollar amount of the closed deal, of course, but also the duration of the successful call or meeting leading to the sale, and how long each phase of the conversation took (e.g., the initial greeting and small talk versus the value proposition and “ask” segments of the Sales pitch).
Depending on how advanced a particular business’s analytics tools are – and if they were recording the interaction somehow, by phone or on video – firms can run data on even more granular details ranging from word choice and repetition to body language and overall demeanor.
Whatever data a business is able to gather from the Sales cycle of a particular transaction, it can then store and use as background from which to derive actionable insights, which in turn can be applied to future Marketing and Sales efforts. And it doesn’t matter if the deal was a success or not for the analytics of it to be valuable – after all, what better way for a Sales rep to determine what not to do than pore over info regarding a situation that culminated in failure?
Going Broad to Quantify Sales Enablement
To develop a genuinely meaningful assessment of your Sales process, you can’t rely on data from one sale, or even a handful of them. The sample size is just too small. At the bare minimum, you’ll need data on a week’s worth of Sales to draw any substantial conclusions about how your team performs, and using monthly, quarterly, or yearly data will be much more effective.
Some of the metrics that can help most soundly inform your Sales enablement strategy include:
- Pure Sales data: Along with the basic number of how much your Sales team brought in for a given period, you can look at Sales growth or contraction between now and some point in the past, the Sales target you intended to hit for the period, transactions closed by each Sales rep, and Sales by region (whether you measure your reach in neighborhoods or nations).
- Product performance: Quantity and dollar value of Sales broken down item by item.
- Cannibalization rate: The degree to which new product Sales are adversely affecting the sale of the old standbys in your product catalog. A high cannibalization rate is disfavorable because it means you aren’t keeping customers interested in your established offerings, thus causing total Sales to vary wildly between feast and famine.
- Lead conversion rate: The percentage measurement of how many leads are ultimately converted into completed Sales.
- Quote-to-close: A ratio that stacks up how many would-be Sales conversations get as far as a quoted price offer against how many closed deals actually go through.
- Opportunities: Basically, the measurement of a prospective sale’s value vis a vis how likely it is that the deal can be done; i.e., whether it’s in the negotiation stage or you’ve sent a quote that’s being considered.
- Average purchase value: How much revenue the average closed sale brings in.
Some of the key performance indicators detailed above take us back to sale-by-sale data – which, as we noted, can be dicey to use as a measurement of historical trends – or can be a little tricky to master. (Opportunities, in particular, is tough, because there can be a lot of room for interpretation when assessing how probable or improbable it is that one prospect will go through with a sale.) Nevertheless, each of these KPIs can lead to valuable insights when gathered with a reputable Sales enablement platform and carefully, critically examined by team leadership.
How Sales KPIs Become Sales Enablement Solutions
Seeing as it’s not only feasible but necessary to use metrics such as those detailed here to measure the efficacy and bottom-line value of your organization’s Sales process, it stands to reason that you can and should do the same for Sales enablement. To put it simply: The quality of your Sales enablement program – onboarding and training, coaching efforts, team-wide feedback initiatives, interdepartmental cooperation with Marketing and account management, et. al. – will ultimately determine the value of your Sales team to the organization. As a result, it’s critical that you properly evaluate it.
Some of the ways you go about doing that are one and the same with measuring actual Sales, like individual conversion percentages and Sales for each member of your team, their quote-to-close ratios, and so on. These KPIs tie into enablement once you cross-reference them with, say, the results of various skills assessments you can assign your Sales reps to complete from time to time, so that they remain on their toes.
Perhaps you’ll find out that some members of the team who are having a run of good luck and look like Sales leaders are actually anything but – their success is more a matter of chance breaking their way. Meanwhile, you may also be able to determine that another one of your reps who is having a rough start actually has a great deal of untapped potential. It is really all a matter of looking comprehensively at the right information in the proper context and applying it correctly.
Arguably, the process of Sales onboarding – though it can differ in various ways between different organizations – may be one of the best ways to put the KPIs we’ve been discussing to good use as Sales enablement tools. Using the training interfaces available on the Showpad Coach platform, you can provide your novice reps with a wide range of training exercises. This will help them learn in real time address the incredibly broad spectrum of hypothetical situations that might come up on the Sales calls they will soon be handling for real. Tracking the progress of your team’s newest members in real time and assigning them scores according to appropriate KPIs is a breeze with Showpad’s AI-driven platform.
Contact us today to learn more or request a demo.