There’s such a thing as bad a sales enablement solution.
Sales enablement is fundamentally about getting more money into your pockets from the right kinds of customers, faster and more efficiently than before.
And each of those is fairly measurable.
If your sales enablement solution isn’t tied to one of those, it’s probably not a very good sales enablement solution for actually enabling sales.
And yet, a recurring challenge we see for enablers is around measurement.
There’s little to no consensus between the C-Suite, sales leadership, and various enablers (L&D, Enablement, Marketing, etc) on which metrics are important.
And there are lots of culprits to this problem. But one big one is, ironically, the sheer volume of information we can now track. We can track everything, which means that it can be difficult to understand what you’re supposed to track.
There’s so much out there, it’s hard to know what’s important. To ruthlessly plagiarize Nate Silver, it’s really hard to tell the signal from the noise.
Today, we’re going to talk through a model to help you think about a sales enablement solution so that you know you’re tracking the right stuff.
The Sales Enablement Solution Bridge
Imagine sales enablement is a one-way information bridge.
On one side, you have inputs from various processes.
These can come in different formats (sales enablement assets, marketing collateral, sales coaching/training, communication) from many groups, like sales leadership, sales operations, sales enablement, marketing teams, legal teams, L&D, etc.
In the middle of the bridge, you have reps running the process.
And on the other side, you have outputs. CRM metrics like meetings booked, pipeline created, deals closed, and quotas achieved.
When the sales enablement bridge is intact, the information flows seamlessly, and everybody wins.
But this typically isn’t the case for most organizations.
The Broken Bridge
Most sales organizations have a broken bridge and a broken sales enablement solution. If your digital sales enablement tools worked perfectly, you wouldn’t see any declines in quota achievement. But that’s not the case, as you can see in this graph from CSO insights.
This bridge is a surprisingly delicate thing, and frankly is prone to breaking down. But by far the most common breakage is right around the middle where the bridge is weakest.
The most common break of all is when the rest of the sales org doesn’t know what the reps are doing day today.
This leads to missing information when making decisions about how to improve your sales process, including your sales enablement efforts, which can be very dangerous:
- You might make a prediction to your board that’s based on faulty pipeline numbers
- You might think that reps will get a lot more pipe and deals based on logged activities, not realizing that most activities aren’t being logged
- You might plan a whole marketing strategy that doesn’t match what the reps are hearing on the phones
- You might design a product the customer has no interest in buying
By ignoring or being unaware of what is going on with the reps is a recipe for disaster.
A sales enablement solution: fix the bridge
So how do you fix the bridge?
First establish a single source of truth: your CRM. The more things you can plug into a single tool, the better off you’ll be.
If you have a sales enablement solution that plugs into your CRM data, you create reports with metrics and data from your CRM to make strategic business decisions. You can present these reports to your executives and the board of directors on how the sales organization is performing in a language they understand.
Being built natively on top of a major CRM (like MS Dynamics, Oracle, HubSpot or – ahem – Salesforce) offers a huge advantage over API connection.
Put simply, when you have an API integration, your CRM and your sales enablement solution can pass data back and forth, but are fundamentally built on different data sets. It’s like have two spreadsheets side by side – it’s a great start, but quickly reaches breaking point.
In contrast, when a sales enablement solution is built natively on a CRM, it’s all part of the same data set, which makes simple relationship extremely easy to see and understand, and makes it possible to uncover more complex effects within the data.
It’s also a lot easier with everything wrapped up on a single platform because it’s always up to date, the integration never breaks, reports are easy to pull and it’s usually a lot easier to use.
Plus, your ops team will love it.
The point is, the best way to fix the bridge is to tie both sides together with more than just the reps. The goal is to tie the two sides of the bridge together using technology, and while APIs might offer a nice lifeline, for true connectivity you need the big steel cables of a sales enablement solution built natively on a CRM platform.
Forward-looking sales organizations are already making data-driven decisions. They’re looking to consolidate information into a single source of truth, which is typically done in the CRM.
Bringing in all sales applications, marketing collateral, sales enablement assets, and sales training/coaching inside the CRM will allow the best sales teams to make strategic decisions about their sales enablement strategy because there will be no gaps in data.
Cover image: Matthew Henry via Unsplash