Charles Darwin said it’s not the strongest or smartest species that survives, but rather the species that’s the most adaptable to change.
Chuck might as well have been talking about sales enablement. Sales reps’ tactics often need to change to meet the required revenue goals set by leadership. And no matter how clever you think your programs are, leadership won’t care if they don’t get you closer to your revenue goals. And the only way you’re going to do that is to change seller behaviour.
So the question is: are you even changing how reps do their jobs. And, more importantly, are you measuring that seller behaviour change? Too many times, sales enablement managers make the mistake of measuring enablement effectiveness by measuring how much professional sales training happened, and MAYBE revenue outcomes.
But it’s missing the step in the middle.
To get a complete picture of your sales enablement funnel, from program consumption to revenue impact, you need to measure every stage, not just the start and the end. This means looking at:
In this post, I’m going to take you through the three pieces of the new sales enablement funnel, what metrics need to be measured for each piece, and how an outcome-based enablement tool is going to be a massive help.
In short, it goes like this:
Program happens -> Seller Behaviour changes-> Revenue outcome is achieved
All three pieces are important and interconnected, so you need to measure all of them.
For this whole thing to work together, you can’t start with the program. Instead, turn the whole thing upside down and start with the outcome:
Revenue outcome -> Seller Behaviour -> Program
Figure out where you want to go first, then work out the behaviours and skills for sales you need to change to get there. Finally, design a program specifically targeting those precise behaviours.
This approach has a couple of perks:
Next, to make this whole thing work, you’re going to need some tools and technologies in your sales tech stack to:
Now let’s dive further into each of these pieces.
Remember, start with the revenue outcome.Key metrics: Use the sales velocity equation to break down revenue into four key components: average deal size, number of opportunities, win rate, and sales cycle length. (there are others, but these four are the big ones). First, you need to pick your metric. So go talk to your sales team and find out what metric they’re struggling with. What metric is going to stop them hitting their objective?
Pro tip: As you go through this exercise, it’s going to be tempting to be pulled into a discussion of how. Keep the conversation focused on the what metric and leave the how you’re going to get there for another conversation.
Qualitative aspects require performance to be reviewed over a longer period of time. It’s not so much about whether the activity happened, but more about going into the activity and seeing how well it was performed. It allows you to truly answer the question: did the training change seller behaviour? Take the following examples.
Here’s a real-life example of this:
TouchBistro, an iPad restaurant POS system, leveraged the LevelJump + Gong partnership to run programs, track seller behaviour change, and tie enablement to the ultimate outcomes.
TouchBistro wasn’t hitting revenue goals because of small deal sizes, which was a result of heavy discounting. So to increase deal size, they changed their sales approach from discount-based to value-based.
They refined their messaging to focus restaurant pain-points, and using LevelJump, they rolled out micro-enablement programs for each message.
Then, with Gong, they monitored reps’ calls to measure if reps were using the new messaging post-training, and if so, what revenue impact it had.
The tools showed a 175% increase in value-based selling and a 34% increase in deal size. The program was a monumental success.
Key metrics: Program completion rates, enablement content consumed, quiz scores, certification rates, etc.
At this stage, you are designing programs to change seller behaviour. The key metrics to track are consumption metrics – did people actually do the training? And assessment metrics – did they absorb the training they just did?
This is pretty straightforward. If sellers aren’t taking your training or aren’t remembering much, then it’s unlikely to have any effect down the line.
For example, let’s suppose in this quarter the desired outcome is to decrease how long it takes a deal to close. Ideally, you would meet with sales leaders to first agree that decreasing the sales cycle is a valid objective, and second, figure out what behaviours need to change to meet this outcome. Suppose you agree on the following:
From this list, you will understand what programs need to be run.
“But Spencer!” you cry. “I have no idea what behavior leads to faster sales cycles!”
Never fear, my friend. That’s where a call or revenue intelligence tool like Gong can help. Go back and find your 10 shortest and 10 longest sales cycles, and listen to the calls. What are the fast closers doing differently? How are they building urgency and driving the cycle? Once you know those behaviours, you can start cloning them with enablement programs.
Behaviour change is hard. To change seller behaviour, it takes time and patience and a lot of diligence. Sales managers often end up stuck because they know it’s a good idea, but are focused on the short term objectives in front of them.
And who can blame them? Sales is a time-sensitive function. Given infinite time, even a room full of monkeys can hit revenue goals (or is it “produce the works of William Shakespeare”?).
In any case, modern sales enablement is far more evolved than a room full of monkeys.
But since sales managers are under constant pressure, it is perhaps doubly important to constantly measure metrics across all three pieces of the new sales enablement funnel.
More pertinently, enablement managers need to benchmark seller behaviour and outcomes before and after programs, and measure the same at regular intervals to show sales managers the trend of change.
To wrap it up, here’s what you need to do and measure to effectively ride the new sales enablement workflow:
In the end, you’ll have a solid set of data to show the extent to which your programs were taken and understood, the change in seller behaviour they caused, and revenue outcomes they drove.
Ultimately, enablement needs to help the sales team do their job: make more money for the business. If sellers are not adapting to the need of the hour, then no amount of training is going to do any good. Enablement needs to change seller behaviour to reach revenue goals. Natural selection won’t be kind to organizations that fail to do this.
Image credit: Scott Graham via Unsplash
Spencer is the product marketing manager at LevelJump. He comes from the world of content and loves helping B2B SaaS companies find exactly the right people who love a product, and figuring out exactly how to tell that product story so it resonates and compels action. You can find him on LinkedIn.