June 7, 2019

Tips for Sales Effectiveness: Sales Enablement Defined

Increasing sales effectiveness is seemingly a perennial priority for sales leaders. But what does sales effectiveness actually mean?

The definition of effective selling can be a bit hazy, but it roughly equates to the efficiency with which a sales rep moves from identifying a sales opportunity to closing the deal. This process encompasses many functions of sales enablement, from providing the right training and coaching to allowing reps to access personalized sales content on-demand.

As part of our “Sales Enablement Defined” series, we’ll discuss the importance of sales effectiveness within your business and where to focus your energy in order to optimize, measure and drive sales effectiveness.

A definition of sales effectiveness

Let’s first establish a baseline understanding of effectiveness in sales: Sales effectiveness refers to the average performance and output of each sales rep.

Depending on your organization’s overall strategy and goals, output can refer to revenue or lead generation, or sales of a specific product. Sales efficiency — which is a closely related concept — also impacts other goals, such as win rates across the team and customer satisfaction.

Ultimately, sales effectiveness is decided by how deftly your reps can navigate the sales process and produce a successful result. There are multiple stages throughout the sales cycle, and each will require something different from salespeople. To meet the task and drive efficiency, your reps need to have a robust skill set and access to sales assets.

In that sense, your organizational level of sales enablement determines the level of sales team effectiveness. Sales enablement is relevant in all aspects of sales effectiveness:

  • Reps need updated marketing content and collateral to engage leads and convert them to buyers.
  • Sales managers and coaches need insight into performance so they can remedy inefficient behaviors.
  • Sales staff need training on new products or markets in order to effectively sell and secure revenue for the business.

Sales effectiveness is chiefly supported by sales enablement, and your organization’s approach to each will need to take this relationship into account in order to drive success. As such, sales effectiveness is not only the duty of the sales manager, but also the sales leader and sales executive. Your company needs to generate buy-in across the sales operation to bring about true sales effectiveness and efficiency.

Measuring sales effectiveness

How can you determine the output and effectiveness of every sales representative? Firstly, consider the goals of your company and the sales team as a whole. Even if a seller is producing  fantastic numbers, they might not be effective if their work isn’t impacting the larger goal.

Let’s look at an example. 

Your company has introduced a new product, Product Z. The Q1 goal for the company is selling a certain monetary value of Product Z. One of your salespeople is closing multiple deals a month selling Product Y and putting up huge numbers. However, while he or she is selling technically successfully, the rep is not effectively selling since there is no movement in Product Z. 

On the other hand, if your company’s objective is simply to generate more overall revenue, the salesperson does have high sales effectiveness.

Depending on your organizational goals, potential metrics for sales effectiveness include:

  • Quota attainment
  • Average deal size
  • Average on-target earnings
  • Average length of sales cycle
  • Sales preparedness

Based on these KPIs, you can get a sense of sales effectiveness on a variety of levels, such as:

  • Per product
  • Newer reps vs. more experienced reps
  • For buyers are different stages
  • Individual vs. group average

Viewing where effectiveness lags and excels reveals which initiatives sales leaders and managers should direct their attention and energy. Of course, you’ll need software that can give you this peek under the hood — something that Showpad can do by being your all-in-one platform for sales enablement and effectiveness.

With Showpad, a sales leader or manager can easily sort through data and metrics to home in on the state of effective selling in your organization. Not only that, but they can seamlessly share insights and use the intelligence to develop a sales enablement program that delivers tools, practices and sales training on effectiveness.

How to improve sales effectiveness

The most impactful way to boost effectiveness is by enhancing your sales processes. It might seem like your current sales playbook is working just fine, but by making assumptions and not working to make things better you may be limiting yourself and your sales representatives. 

Every sales operation needs to evaluate itself from time to time, so assess your current process and determine which of the following categories you fall into:

  • Random: Sales reps are using their own processes and methodologies; no collaboration.
  • Informal: There are established processes, but not all sales reps are following it; no basis for knowledge sharing exists.
  • Formal: Sales reps integrate established processes into their own activities; best practices are recognized and shared across the team.
  • Dynamic: Sales reps rely on established processes for activities and performance benchmarks; CRM functions are aligned across teams.

One step to consider taking is hiring a sales effectiveness manager, or creating the role and filling it internally. A sales effectiveness manager is a bit of a new role within the world of sales enablement.

Essentially, an employee with this title would take ownership of tracking and measuring sales performance, and then analyzing it in terms of effectiveness. The manager could then collaborate with other stakeholders to develop specific training or coaching modules that will improve the efficiency of sales staff, and which can be deployed in onboarding.

Use Showpad to drive sales effectiveness

Determining where your sales team falls will help you focus on what you need to do to achieve a dynamic process. Leveraging technology, establishing consistency and promoting collaboration as a built-in element of your sales enablement strategy will increase effectiveness across sales staff.

Sales effectiveness is dependent on processes you set for every member of your team, as well as ongoing measurement of performance on a group and individual level. The approach upon which you decide to move forward should take these performance metrics into account, as well as collaboration amongst the team and sharing of best practices for better sales enablement.

With Showpad’s platform in your corner, the entire sales operation will benefit from a comprehensive solution that streamlines, automates and facilitates various enablement tasks and responsibilities. These advantages are invaluable in the quest to drive sales effectiveness and organizational success.

Want to gauge your sales team’s effectiveness? Download our Sales Transformation Maturity Model eBook.

The Showpad Sales Transformation Maturity Model

The Showpad Sales Transformation Maturity Model