10 Success Metrics for Sales Enablement Programmes
In a post featured on the salesforce.com blog, Peter Mollins suggests there are “4 ways to measure sales enablement success”. We believe there are a few more indicators you should monitor closely.
In the article, he comments that Gartner analyst Hank Barnes (when asked what B2B marketers should do if they had an extra $1 million in budget) suggests investing it in sales enablement.
But what exactly do we mean by sales enablement? Essentially, it’s the mix of technology, processes and content that enables sales teams to sell more efficiently to prospects.
When done correctly, it dramatically improves the performance and productivity of the sales team. Effective sales enablement can also deliver a higher rate of prospect & customer satisfaction. The real result? An increase in revenue.
Mollins further states that ‘according to a survey by Vantage Point, only 40% of sales enablement programmes are ever measured’.
In the metric-driven world of sales that is utterly bizarre. Unless we measure the results of our enablement efforts how will we ever know the impact they are having. We will also struggle to understand how our programme might be improved.
The 10 Measures of Sales Enablement Success
Let’s take a look at 10 strong metrics we believe uncover the true performance of any sales enablement endeavours.
Before we get started, there’s a simple equation that is often used in sales to highlight the levers that directly affect revenue. It’s worth just dwelling on this for a moment as 3 of these are areas where sales enablement can have an immediate and direct impact.
This provides a useful (albeit simple) starting point for our thinking:
1. Quota Attainment
Number one on the list surely has to be quota attainment. After all, if the goal of sales enablement is to create a more efficient and effective sales machine then quota attainment seems like a pretty good place to start.
It also goes without saying that any uplift in quota attainment will have a significant impact on revenue.
This is a number that can be easily measured across a number of dimensions. Those that are typically tracked include:
- Rep – are we improving individual attainment levels?
- Manager – have we improved attainment at an aggregated level?
- Region – did we manage to create an uplift in attainment at a regional level?
- Product – do we have product issues that are potentially holding reps back?
Quota attainment falls into the category of a simple metric to track. It is well aligned to the core business goals that are already being measured and monitored.
2. Distribution of Quota Attainment
This is what we like to call ‘moving the middle’.
The Sales Executive Council suggest that:
“A 5% shift in performance of the core performers yields over 70% more revenue when compared to a 5% shift in high performers productivity.”
In other words, we should be focusing our enablement efforts on the core sales performers. This is where the greatest impact can be made. Top performers will always find a way to exceed quota. These ‘A’ players should be left to their own devices. Instead, sales enablement efforts should focus on the ‘B’ and ‘C’ brigade. Ultimately, this is where the biggest return is available.
Driving this metric also creates less of a reliance on a few stellar performers that carry the team home. It serves to de-risk attainment at the team level.
As a variant of the first metric and for the same reasons, ‘distribution of quota attainment’ falls into the category of a simple metric for us to track.
3. Win Rate
This is where the first element from the revenue equation we discussed above comes into play. It isn’t hard to fathom that if we beat the competition more often we will have a positive impact on revenue.
This metric again can be viewed across a number of dimensions:
- Rep – are we helping individual reps to beat the competitors relevant in their patch?
- Team – are we managing to beat the competition at an aggregated level?
- Competitor – which competitors do we struggle against and should this impact our sales strategy? (i.e. by qualifying out at an early)
Calculating the win rate (and conversely the loss rate) is a straightforward process. Often expressed as a percentage, simply divide your total number of wins by the total number of deals for the period.
Win rate is a metric that is valuable beyond sales enablement. For example, Marketing will track this metric as input to their demand generation models. It will drive their thinking around the lead volumes required to hit the desired target.
Much like the first two metrics, this one can be considered as straightforward to track.
4. Average Deal Size
Onwards to the second of the elements in our revenue equation that can be influenced by sales enablement. That of average deal size. It certainly doesn’t require rocket science to understand that if we make all our deals bigger, we’ll have a positive impact on revenue.
There are many sales enablement tricks and tips that can be deployed to help sales reps build a much stronger value proposition with their prospects. With a stronger value prop, comes bigger deal values and far less discounting. A double whammy.
Accessible across multiple dimensions (rep, manager, region etc.) this metric is simple to calculate and easy to track.
5. Average Deal Length
Finally, we get to the last of the elements in the revenue equation where sales enablement can move the needle. If we shift deals through the pipeline at a faster rate, it stands to reason that we will increase revenue.
This measure is a little bit of a double-edge sword however. We need to be careful that in our desire to speed up the sales process we do not adversely affect deal quality. Reps that try and rush deals through the stages will most likely miss vital milestones. Any sales enablement efforts in this area need to balance deal velocity with deal quality.
Conversely, insight into where deals get stuck is extremely valuable to our enablement efforts. This helps uncover any friction points in the sales process that may require attention.
Much like the last metric, this is extremely valuable to other functions as well. For example, Sales Operations will monitor this metric closely as an input to the sales forecast.
This metric is slightly trickier to track than the others, often requiring data extraction to achieve it. Especially given it should be measured and monitored by individual sales stage as well as overall deal length.
6. Sales Onboarding Time
Often also referred to as ramp-to-revenue, this refers to the time it takes for sales reps to fully ramp and start contributing revenue.
As with the other metrics, it isn’t hard to understand why driving this number down will deliver more revenue.
However, you will most certainly need to establish clarity on the definition of this one. For some it’s the time taken for a rep to achieve quota. Others define it as the time taken to get to the first deal or reach a certain percentage of quota.
Given the high cost-of-hire for sales reps, this is a really important metric to track. However, it is clearly focused on new hires and does nothing to improve revenue contribution from tenured reps.
Regardless of your final definition for ‘sales onboarding time’, this metric should be fairly straightforward to track.
7. Adherence to the Sales Process
It’s of critical importance that reps, new or old, follow the sales process. Only by doing so can we be sure we are driving healthy deals.
Start by breaking the sales process down into the set of leading indicators (or ‘sales behaviours’) you would expect to occur during each sales stage. Drive your reps to follow these behaviours religiously. Ideally don’t let deals advance unless all expected actions have occurred.
Tracking these behaviours will help you to understand where reps are skipping important selling actions. It will also help identify any friction points.
This metric is harder to track as CRM systems are not designed to track sales behaviours. This is where plug-in apps like SuMo really play a big part.
8. Leading KPI (or Sales Behaviour) Attainment
Drive the right level of sales cadence by giving reps a leading sales indicator (sales behaviour) target along with their revenue target.
Let’s take a simple example:
Sales Activity: I log a sales call.
High Value Sales Behaviour: I log a sales call, it lasted more than 20 mins, it was to a decision maker who is attached to an opportunity that is due to close this quarter.
It’s easy to see why the latter is far more likely to drive successful sales outcomes.
This metric ensures reps are keeping up the right levels and the right kind of sales activity. It ensures they are exhibiting the high-value sales behaviours that ultimately lead to healthy deals.
9. Careless Sales Behaviour Tracking
Don’t just track positive sales behaviours. Make sure you also track the careless sales behaviours that you know will de-rail deals.
What do we mean by careless sales behaviours? Here are some typical examples:
- Deals where the sales stage has moved backwards numerous times
- Forecasted deals that have had their close date in the past multiple times
- Deals created in late stage forecast categories
- Late stage deals where the deal amount changes numerous times
- Late stage deals with new competitors added
Tracking careless sales behaviours provides insight into the true health of deals. It also uncovers specific coaching opportunities for reps.
We also have this quick blog which includes a list of 33 careless behaviours to look out for
10. Sales Enablement Survey Score
We have dealt so far in hard metrics that we can glean from business results. However, that doesn’t mean we should ignore slightly softer metrics, even those of a qualitative nature.
A regular survey of reps can be used to gather further sentiment about the impact of sales enablement. Think of this survey as delivering you a customer satisfaction score.
This approach is also a useful way to get sentiment about which enablement areas are weakest or even missing. Never forget that the sales team are your customer, treat them as such.
Start increasing the performance of your sales team today!
In conclusion, it is only with a clear understanding of the metrics that really matter can we be better prepared to have data driven conversations that drive our sales enablement strategies and tactics.
These 10 metrics are not necessarily applicable to all companies. But they are certainly a good starting point.
There are many more secrets to getting the most from your existing sales team. If you’re hungry for a little more sales performance inspiration, we’ve got this eBook with 6 sure-fire ways to increase the output of your sales team. Simply fill out that form above to get your free copy!
SuMo increases sales performance by monitoring & coaching the high-value sales behaviours that deliver sales success.
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- a clean & healthy sales pipeline
- improved forecast accuracy
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SuMo is in use by blue-chip organisations globally such as UBM, Vodafone, Roche, SIG, G4S, and Qlik.