It might be cliché to point out that the buyer experience has changed, but it’s certainly worth revisiting from time to time. Why? Because even though the vast majority of marketers understand that their customer is now looking for custom content, surf social media sites and shop with their mobile phones, far too many haven’t extended content, social and mobile strategies across their entire organizations, and particularly to their salespeople. That’s what sales enablement is all about.
What Is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is not a new concept, but its definition varies widely depending on the type of business involved or who you ask. There is, however, a common denominator: sales enablement means giving salespeople the tools they need to close sales. It’s important to determine the extent to which those tools are effective by obtaining key metrics. Successful sales enablement programs have the power to increase sales and profits, but marketers and sellers need to identify what success looks like and recognize if and when enablement goals have been achieved.
Are We There Yet?
Because every business is different, what success looks like varies from one company to another. And much like the definition of sales enablement varies, so do the metrics to measure success. However, earlier this year, Gartner’s Hank Barnes identified several metrics that organizations should collect to ensure their programs are working. Below we’ve identified and paraphrased what those metrics can look like.
Metrics to test the effectiveness of your sales enablement strategy:
1. Content usage: Persuasive content is among the most effective tools for salespeople, but there is so much content for sellers to use! For this reason, it’s important to measure how well content is working. Those responsible for optimizing sales enablement programs should utilize a range of metrics to measure content effectiveness, from unique visits to geographical reach to bounce rates and the amount of time prospective customers spend with each piece of content.
2. Quota attainment: We recently talked about the “Lifetime Value of a Sales Rep” and bringing sellers to peak performance. To optimize sales enablement efforts, it’s necessary to measure the effectiveness of every salesperson and how it relates to their onboarding and ramping. One of the best ways to do this is to monitor how long it takes for new salespeople to achieve established sales quotas. For example, if a salesperson is hired in June and achieves 100% of quota in October, their ramp up time is 5 months. Long ramp times suggest that training should be revisited. Decreasing ramp times indicate sales enablement efforts are improving. Aberdeen Research believes that companies that adopt sales enablement best practices across their sales teams double the quota attainment of their peers.
3. Actual Selling Time: The more time salespeople spend looking for leads, creating sales presentations and doing research, the less time they have for sales calls, and the less likely they’ll achieve quota. By providing sales reps with all the tools they need to sell, when they need them – from leads to content and presentations to references – the more time they’ll have to actually sell and close more deals. To ensure success, create a metric for the percentage of each rep’s time spent on direct sales and measure its attainment. With greater focus and fewer interruptions, increasing revenue is likely. Think about how quickly a few extra hours a week add up and can correlate to potential revenue.
Sales enablement solutions are as varied as the businesses which implement them, as are the metrics used to measure sales productivity. Those listed here are a good start, but there are others. We encourage you to let us know about the metrics you use, as well as the enablement strategies which have been successful for your business.
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