"If you can measure it, you can improve it."
In comparison to the common sales KPIs (key performance indicators) that are tracked, tracking sales enablement is a challenge. But nothing that's worthwhile is ever easy.
Before diving into the realm of sales enablement metrics, let's take a quick look at what sales enablement essentially is. Sales enablement is defined as the various strategies and processes that boost the sales process and aid the sales ecosystem, sales enablement can be easily described as steps that help sell (more) effectively.
As you would agree, closing a sale is a complex undertaking that has numerous avenues for underperformance or worse, failure. Tracking sales enablement lets you dive deep into the sales process and smoothen out the rough edges, hence boosting efficiency and increasing revenue.
When you decide to start tracking sales enablement, it is quite possible that you might get lost in a sea of metrics. It is important for us to understand that the intention is not to create more work but to make rational business decisions.
Listed below are 4 sales enablement metrics that will help you get started.
- Closing Rate
- Performance of Marketing Collaterals
- Length of the Sales Cycle
- Leading Indicators
This metric captures the ability of the sales unit to convert leads into paying customers. Should the sales enablement strategies be rightly implemented, there will be an upward trend in the closing rate. A word of caution: closing rates are an indirect measure of sales enablement and there are many variables that influence this metric. Hence this metric should be used primarily as an opportunity to take a closer look at the rep's work.
For example, consider two salesmen, John and Bruce. Both of them are presented with the same number of qualified leads and they are having a similar number of sales conversations. But John is crushing his closing targets but Bruce is lagging behind. It is risky to assume that Bruce is not working hard enough. Instead, inspecting Bruce's method of work and figuring out which aspect of the sales cycle he is slacking in would lead to specific strategies to help him improve.
"Unless you don't know where the injury is, you cannot put a band-aid on it."
Performance of Marketing Collaterals:
Marketing collaterals are instrumental in communicating the key features of a product to the customers. Investing effort into developing the right kind of collateral will have a significant effect on the sales process.
In addition to that, the process of perfecting marketing collateral is not a one-time effort but rather an iterative process. Setting up a constant feedback loop helps track and improve content.
Tools that intelligently understand how prospects engage with content will allow you to execute appropriate sales enablement strategies and drive sales.
Consider a case where John emails a prospect with a document explaining the key features of his company's product. Tracking the document from the point it reaches the prospect and getting data such as click-through rates, page-wise engagement reports would help you understand the impact the collateral had on the prospect.
Length of the Sales Cycle:
Sales cycles vary considerably across products, companies, and industries and no cycle is the same as others. As a sales cycle is divided into distinct sections, it is vital to allocate specific time values to each section and this should be explained to the sales unit. This allows answering important questions like the length of an average sale, who's ahead of the average and what they are doing differently.
As sales enablement strategies are executed a direct impact can be seen in different sections of the sales cycle. Bringing John back into this conversation, consider a case where he emails a prospect with a sales collateral and is awaiting a response. Access to certain sales enablement tools that track collateral engagement, gives John an upper hand while following up with the prospect. This expedites the entire sale cycle and helps John employ the right strategies at appropriate intervals.
It is critical to note that the metrics specified above are rendered after the completion of a sales cycle. This allows for improvement only in consequent cycles. On the other hand, leading indicators allow you to predict future performance.
Example of such a leading indicator is participation in sales training, certification courses. Undergoing training of this kind can increase the quota attainment and prospecting abilities of reps and directly translates into more sales. In addition to that, sales enablement tools that track a rep’s engagement with a sales collateral will help you analyze the value the collateral provides. It will increase the synergy across sales and marketing teams and empower them to succeed.
"Sales is not just a number's game"
Tracking sales enablement means playing the long game. Although realizing certain strategies will provide immediate gratification, a consistent measure-improve-measure system set in place will definitely show positive growth in the sales numbers.