How do you measure the effectiveness of your sales enablement program?
If you focus only on inputs, then it’s like riding a bike off a ledge and thinking only about the jump and not the landing.
Yes, the jump is important.
But if you never pay attention to your landing spot, then you’ll end up in the bushes an awful lot.
Because execs care about one thing: the bottom line. If the bottom line isn’t improving, then it won’t matter how many sales reps are enrolling in programs or completing courses.
Sales enablement has to think like sales leaders and focus on outcomes.
They have to tie sales results to their enablement efforts.
Fortunately, numbers are on the slide of sales enablement. CSO Insights reported that just having sales enablement boosts the % of reps hitting quota by 22%.
We’ve talked about how to do this before, particularly in our Outcome-Based Sales Enablement framework. As a quick refresher, here’s how it works:
- Define your outcome
- Set your milestones
- Build your program
- Optimize for results
So today, we’re going to get into the nitty gritty details of how to transition from enablement inputs to sales results and outcomes.
Why bother tying sales enablement to sales results?
This might seem obvious but it’s worth rehashing.
The reason you want to measure sales enablement against the sales results it generates is because that’s what the organization cares the most about. At the highest level, your board of directors / shareholders / owners / don’t care about certifications. They care how much more revenue they’ve closed.
So sales enablement needs to align to those interests.
And that alignment comes with loads of upside:
- Executive buy-in is easier when you’re talking outcomes instead of inputs.
- It increases adoption + engagement because your sales team knows you’re both working towards the same goal.
- Outcomes elevate enablement from “random acts of enablement” to a core business differentiator.
In short, measuring to sales results makes sales enablement indispensable.
Enablement inputs vs sales results and outcomes
Enablemement inputs relate to the efficacy of the programs themselves. For example, how many people are enrolled? How many completed their sales training? How many were certified? What is the average quiz score, average certification scorecard result, average number of attempts on a quiz, etc...
These inputs tell you: ‘are people taking my program?’
Sales results and outcomes are different. They are changes to seller behaviour that can be linked directly to changes in revenue and bookings generated. Potential sales enablement metrics to track include:
- Ramp time: According to a report by The Bridge Group, five months is the average ramp-up time for new hires in a SaaS company. This is significant, especially when you consider that the average tenure of a rep in a SaaS company is around 2.4 years. For example, suppose you have 10 new sales reps each with an annual quota of $1M. You manage to reduce ramp-up time by one month. Then your onboarding program has contributed $0.83M additional revenue each year ($1M/12 months x 10 reps). That’s nearly $2M additional revenue in the average tenure for this batch of reps.
- Quota coverage: Percent of reps that achieve their quota. Only 68% of reps across industries achieve their quota. So there’s an opportunity for sales enablement to do something for the 32% laggards.
- Deal size: how large your average deal is.
- Deal velocity: how fast your average deal goes from created to closed. Madison Logic reports that the sales cycle time in B2B industries has gone up 22% over the last five years. If sales enablement is reducing sales cycle length, then it leaves more time for closing deals.
- Win rate: what percentage of deals you win.
Of course, you could also measure tons of other sales results metrics, including number of products per sale, sale of specific products, gross margin per deal / rep, deals in a specific industry, etc...
mpact on quota achievement and revenue.
1. Work backwards from sales results to create new programs
Watching sales results can help you spot gaps in the sales process, and should inform where you focus your sales enablement.
You can proactively identify where you can have the biggest impact on sales results, and build a program designed specifically to move your selected needle.
For example, one of our customers noticed that their deal size was down due to discounting, so they built multiple sales enablement programs to address it, reducing discounting and raising their ACV by 34%. That targeted approach against specific metrics is only possible if you’re working closely with your ops team to monitor your sales results and process.
2. Bake sales results into your enablement charter
Develop a sales enablement charter to document a formal strategy and establish executive buy-in.
The charter sets clear expectations by explaining your required resources and expected ROI. This will allow you, in conjunction with management, to articulate the organization’s goals and identify the outcomes that impact these goals. In doing so, you will identify which outcomes to measure. However, while just having a charter will increase your win rate by almost 8%, it’s not going to have nearly the impact if could if it doesn’t include sales results.
For your charter, you should include:
- What you’re owning (and what you’re not)
- What projects (high level) you’re going to deliver
- How those are going to impact your sales team
What sales results you can expect at the end
Fig 2: Organizations with a sales enablement charter see better sales results. Source: CSO Insights
3. Involve stakeholders from multiple relevant departments
Sales enablement is not simply a project or a program. That kind of thinking is self-defeating. Rather it is an ongoing process and philosophy for equipping your sales team with the tools and knowledge they need to achieve the desired sales results of your organization.
But it still has to tie to revenue outcomes.
So ask. Get the input of relevant departments (particularly leadership) on which KPIs and sales results matter the most to them. This will give you a broader perspective of what outcomes needs to be tracked, and you can work backwards to build programs to move those specific objectives.
4. Bring your sales enablement and revenue data together
Given the fuzzy nature of the attribution of sales enablement efforts, and all the various points of the sales funnel that enablement touches, it’s very difficult to report on attribution. That’s even harder if you’re trying to wrangle data from multiple systems. (I’m assuming most of you don’t have a dedicated data scientist to help you.)
That’s why your sales enablement tool should live with your revenue data (e.g. in your CRM) to bring all the data together in one place.
If your data all lives on a single platform, you can:
- Accurately correlate enablement programs to a rep’s revenue outcomes in a single view
- Attribute revenue back to specific enablement programs
- Pull together reports for sales managers that surface coaching opportunities
By allowing a single, centralized system to track everything about your sales funnel, you can tie enablement inputs to outcomes accurately and automatically.
For a sales enablement team, measuring outcomes is about providing value for the organization by:
- Aligning yourself with the needs of the business.
- Proving what works and delivers on sales results.
- Optimizing your sales enablement process.
- Identifying gaps in the overall sales process that need to be bridged, then building enablement programs to address those challenges.
If you measure your success on sales results and outcomes instead of inputs, you not only do great work, but move enablement from tactical, to strategic, to key differentiator for the business.
Like the stunt person making a jump, you need to know where you’re going to land before you leave the ground.
Cover image: Pixabay via Pexels