Every organization seems to have its own definition of the term “sales enablement.” Tamara Schenk, Research Direction at MHI Research Institute attempts to consolidate the many interpretations into one all-inclusive definition of sales enablement: “a strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training and coaching services for salespeople and frontline sales managers along the customer’s entire journey, powered by technology.” The common denominator all of definitions is that the term describes various ways in which sales reps can use resources, tools, training initiatives and strategy to be more successful.
But how do you know if what you are providing is effective? Measuring sales enablement can be difficult but critical. You need to know if you are offering the right sales tools and sales training to increase sales productivity. Revenue can be used but given the variety and length of sales cycles, it could be months before you see any return on the investment. So what do you do?
According to Salesforce.com, 40% of companies reported using some type of metric to measure sales enablement success. Sales enablement can include the following:
Training. 48% of the reported metric fell into this category, including number of training hours, number of trainings and amount of training investment, among others.
Equipping. As the next most popular category (19%), sales enablement was measured through percentage of users logging into CRMs, percentage of sales reps using the provided tools and reporting.
Coaching. The topics measured in this category include volume of coaching, percent of time spent coaching and frequency.
Assessing, Organization and Recruiting. These three categories balanced out the report, measuring percent of performance appraisals completed, number of sales staff per manager and the recruiting spend per full time employee (FTE).
Recruiting and hiring is the foundation of a strong sales enablement program. The right people with the right training can go a long way into developing and maintaining sales enablement tactics succeed. That is why the number of people hired and the number of those people obtaining 100% of sales training are among the first measurements that come to mind.
Another metric to use in conjunction with personnel is ramp up time or speed to first sale. Gartner’s Hank Barnes suggests measuring how long it takes to get to full sales productivity. In other words, how long does it take a new sales rep to obtain quota for the first time? The shorter the time, the more effective your sales enablement program is and the quicker you will see returns. In 2014, DialogTech took this metric to heart, requiring newly hired sales reps to become Google Adwords Certified. The initiative turned around their sales department, moving from 10% to 90% Google Adwords certified and those new hires made their first sale 30% faster than those hired and trained under their old system.
Sales enablement, however, is not just about the sales people. It also includes marketing and the content provided to the sales people. Today’s sales world is social media, content and smartphone surfing. While most marketers know the value of high quality original content, engaging posts and mobile friendly applications, these are not always evaluated from a sales enablement perspective. Use existing ROI metrics with a twist to determine if the content is working in tandem with every element of your sales strategy.
You will never get away from producing hard copy brochures and case studies or developing PowerPoint slides for use in sales. But what content you can put online, put online. Choose a wise means of delivery as well. While you want to make it easy for sales reps to access to share with their leads or customers, you also want to do it in such a way so you can measure it.
No matter what metric you choose to measure your organization’s success with sales enablement, be sure that it’s measuring effectiveness and not efficiency. Making a sales rep’s job easier is not the same as making him or her better at their job and sell more. A high level of effectiveness will have a positive impact on efficiency, making sales enablement an all around win for your company. What metrics are you using?