Sales enablement has many meanings. Different teams, with different priorities, believe sales enablement means different things - but no matter what disparities exist, the ultimate goal is simple: to help sales teams drive more revenue with the right skills and resources.
What does the industry think lies in store for this crucial function in 2021, especially in the age of COVID and the rise of remote selling? We compiled 30 stats to help understand where enablement is in 2021 and maybe get a peek at where it’s going.
The Challenges Sales Organizations Face
2020 was the year of remote selling - but not always by choice. The pandemic forced sales professionals to face the challenges of virtual selling, challenges that aren’t going away. These obstacles - getting to decision makers, ensuring engagement, and understanding the buyer - will take more innovation and adaptation to overcome in 2021.
- "Building a case for change" was the number one selling challenge identified by sales leaders (HubSpot)
- 40% of surveyed companies said they would miss revenue goals for 2020 (HubSpot Research Global Sales Enablement Survey)
- When it comes to improving low performers, only 30% of sales managers surveyed rate their sales training as "effective" (Sales Management Association)
- 62% of sales teams underachieve when it comes to their expectations of CRM adoption (Sales Management Association)
- 46% of managers surveyed cite "achieving/maintaining sufficient engagement" is the main challenge with remote sale straining (State of Sales Enablement 2021, Regalix)
- Nearly 70% of remote sales reps believe virtual selling isn't as effective as in-person selling (Virtual Reality Check, Corporate Visions)
- 71% of reps said the most challenging aspect of engaging with customers remotely is reaching and engaging key stakeholders and decision-makers (Blue Ridge Partners)
- 56% of companies say they are performing at or below average when it comes to delivering buyer insights to sales and marketing teams - and only 42% of companies plan to increase spending in this area over the next 12 months (Sales Enablement Outlook 2021, MarketBridge)
- The most significant hurdle to filling pipeline with new business is prospecting in a virtual setting (Richardson Sales Performance)
- The average CRM user spends 5.5 hours per week - almost 14% of a work week - on data entry (Introhive)
Opportunities for Sales Process Improvement
Enabling sales teams offers opportunity for companies who embrace strategies and adopt processes and tools. These range from higher sales productivity to more deals and increased top-line revenue.
- Leaders who made the transition to remote sales in 2020 were 28% more likely to meet or exceed revenue targets than those who didn't make the transition (HubSpot Research Global Sales Enablement Survey)
- 65% of over-performing sales teams had a dedicated sales enablement person/team; only 53% of underperforming sales teams did the same (HubSpot Research Global Sales Enablement Survey)
- Companies with a sales onboarding tool/platform enjoy 7% higher win rates than those that do not (State of Sales Enablement 2020, Highspot)
- 80% of B2B buyers and sellers surveyed predict a "sustained increase" in virtual selling after the pandemic (Bain & Company)
- Sales teams supported by sales enablement have a 15% higher win rate on forecasted deals than those without (CSO Insights)
- 50% of sales organizations say "improved cost effectiveness" is the top benefit of going remote with sales training (State of Sales Enablement 2021, Regalix)
- 76% of organizations with a sales enablement function see an increase of sales between 6% to 20% (State of Sales Enablement 2021, Regalix)
Sales Enablement Solutions in 2021
What resources and tools are sales teams adopting in 2021 to overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities? Methods vary, although certain key solutions are developing a consensus for how important they are to overall success.
- Training adoption (69%), role-play/pitch assessment scores (68%), and coaching journey completion (51%) are the top three metrics used to evaluate sales readiness (State of Sales Enablement 2021, Regalix)
- 57% of sales teams expect to increase sales enablement budgets in 2021; only 13% expect to decrease their budget (State of Sales Enablement 2020, Highspot)
- 65% of high-performing sales teams automate generating quotes/proposals; only 37% of underperforming sales teams do (State of Sales Fourth Edition, Salesforce)
- When it comes to making decisions about which actions to take on a customer account, 63% of high-performing sales teams automate the process; only 27% of underperforming teams do (State of Sales Fourth Edition, Salesforce)
- The use of AI in sales enablement has increased by 76% over the past 12 months, with high performers being 2.8 times more likely than underperformers to make use of AI (State of Sales Fourth Edition, Salesforce)
- 54% more salespeople used sales intelligence tools in 2019 than 2018 (LinkedIn)
- The CRM feature that the highest number of companies surveyed - 32% - said they intend to start using over the next 12 months is a solution to "improve collaboration across sales, marketing, and customer success" (2020 State of Sales Enablement, Prolifiq.ai)
- Next to buyer insights (74%), sellers surveyed said content development (71%) and custom messaging (69%) are the most important sales enablement functions to prioritize in 2021 (Sales Enablement Outlook 2021, MarketBridge)
- The three most common types of sales enablement materials created for sales teams are email templates (53% of teams), call scripts (39%), and pre-call checklists (37%) (HubSpot Research Global Sales Enablement Survey)
- 47% of sales leaders think video conferencing systems are the most important tool for a remote team, followed by a CRM (14%) and sales intelligence (8%) (HubSpot Research Global Sales Enablement Survey)
- 55.5% of sales enablement leaders say optimizing value messaging is their top priority, followed by optimizing sales processes (33.5%) and optimizing sales coaching (32.9%) (Mediafly)
- Just 56% of sales reps surveyed said they use a data-based prospecting approach to find new customers (LinkedIn)
- Less than half - 49% - of sales reps use data to target the best industries for their products/services (LinkedIn)
The data is clear: bringing more resources to bear this year should be a top priority for sales leaders. Sales orgs who make smart and purposeful decisions about enablement will have a competitive advantage over those that don’t - and in a zero-sum game, every advantage counts.
Want to learn about the five most important sales enablement metrics companies need to track in 2021? Check out our on-demand webinar. Also, be sure to download our exhaustive guide on managing sales enablement transformation and powering up your productivity.