Unfortunately, many sales enablement programs have difficulty succeeding because they fail to track and measure the effectiveness of the program. Why? Because if you cannot prove the value and the return on investment of your enablement program, it will likely be very difficult to gain budgetary support from your C-suite that will allow you to garner the headcount and tools you need.
And if you aren’t measuring the metrics that matter, you won’t know how to improve or what levers to turn when something isn’t working. You may hear from your head of sales that the program isn’t up to snuff, but you may be uncertain what needs to change in order to meet expectations.
You are doing so much to help your sales organization — the activities of your program are plentiful. But to prove the value of your program, you must align the outcomes of your program to the objectives and key results (OKRs) of your organization so you can show a meaningful impact on your business.
So what are the metrics that matter when it comes to the success of your sales enablement program?
Making the transition from being reactive to strategic
As Nick Lawrence (follow Nick here), curriculum design manager at Snowflake, shared recently in a LinkedIn post, there are two types of sales enablement professionals out there: those that demonstrate their value and those that prove their value. What is the difference, you might wonder?
Those that demonstrate are highly responsive, actively crossing things off the to-do list. Demonstrators are important because they are getting things done and ensuring the team feels supported. However, at the end of the year, it will likely be difficult for a demonstrator to prove the value of their activities — which means that it will be difficult to gain buy-in for additional resources for the program.
Those that prove are less concerned about the volume of activity; instead, they are focused on one thing: sales productivity. And they track the outcomes that support sales productivity through metrics.
Nick is clear to point out that a successful enablement team requires both of these people. However, if you are living in the “demonstrate” category and seeking to begin proving how your program is making an impact on sales productivity, you will need to make a shift from being reactive to proactive.
In a recent podcast with the Sales Enablement Society, Kristen McCrae McMullan (follow Kristen here), global sales enablement & readiness leader at Amazon Web Services, speaks to exactly this. She talks about all the success she was achieving with her sales enablement program, until one day when a company executive asked her, “But how do you know you’re making an impact?”
This question changed the way Kristen worked. She made a shift and sought to create an enablement charter that aligned her program’s focus areas to business outcomes — with sales enablement metrics that showed how her program was moving the needle for those outcomes.
Qualitative vs. quantitative sales enablement metrics
As you begin to identify which metrics you will measure to show your alignment to business outcomes like sales productivity, there is an abundance of metrics to consider. You’ll want to consider which qualitative and quantitative elements align with your enablement charter.
Qualitative data is information that you can observe, but not compute. Quantitative data focuses on numbers that can easily be calculated and computed — something you can represent in a spreadsheet, dashboard, or visualization. Of course, you’ll want to select quantitative metrics that you can report on slides to your leadership team. But you may also want to consider some qualitative metrics that will help you keep a finger on the pulse of the effectiveness you are having with your sellers.
Some examples of qualitative sales enablement metrics include:
- Check-in surveys: You may want to develop check-ins with your new sellers at specific periods in their onboarding process (e.g., 30, 60, and 90 days). Here you will gain valuable anecdotal evidence that will help you to improve your onboarding programs.
- Proficiency in specific sales processes: This will likely vary depending on your organization’s focus at the moment. If you’ve recently had process changes, you likely want to check in to see how those processes are being adopted. Or perhaps you are seeking to measure improvements in specific areas such as forecasting, etc.
- Demo proficiency: If you work in the tech/software industry, you likely require your sellers to be demo certified. In this case, you would likely want to track. And because demo proficiency requires a certain level of 1:1 feedback, this metric will likely fall into your qualitative list.
- Level of confidence: It’s crucial for you to regularly check in with your sellers on their level of confidence. And not just your new sellers, but also your tenured reps who are still consistently working on learning new tools, processes, and more.
- Tool adoption: Speaking of tools, this is a big one. Often we invest in many tools to help our revenue teams be successful. According to the State of Sales Training and Onboarding Survey, most sales teams rolled out 2 or more new tools or technologies last year. But only 29% of sellers would describe the rollout of a new tool or process as “excellent.” As enablement professionals, we need to show that we are helping the organization get ROI from these investments by increasing adoption.
- Knowledge retention: Many enablement tools will give you the ability to quiz your reps on what they learned and what knowledge they continue to retain as they progress in their skill development. This can also be a quantitative metric if you are looking at submission rates, average scores, and pass rates. If you find a gap in knowledge, you can then create additional resources to ensure your team has the information they need to be successful.
Quantitative metrics to measure sales enablement success
To be successful in your shift from reactivity to strategy, you must take a data-driven approach. We’ve compiled a list of the must-measure sales enablement KPIs that will help you prove your program’s value and your contributions to sales rep performance and your organization’s high-level objectives.
1. Meetings set
Unless you are solely relying on an inbound pipeline, part of your revenue organization’s goal is not just to close business, but to generate new business. Tracking sales activity metrics such as your reps’ number of meetings set is a good surface-level indicator of their effectiveness when it comes to outreach.
You can track this metric in the activity logs of Salesforce or other CRM. However, to do so accurately, you must first be sure that your reps are logging their meetings consistently.
2. Opportunities created
Along with tracking meetings, tracking the opportunities your outbound reps are creating is another great way to keep an eye on the effectiveness of your pipeline-generation function. Tracking the opportunities created will help you to understand your team’s ability to accurately generate and qualify new business.
By tracking the opportunities created (easy to do in Salesforce or other CRMs), you will be able to also gain a view of your lead-to-opportunity rate. Measuring your lead-to-opportunity conversion rate will show your team if your enablement program is effective in helping your reps to deliver the right content to the right audience in order to develop pipeline.
3. Time to first deal won
You will always be onboarding new sellers — it’s a huge part of the job. But you may be surprised to learn that nearly half (47%!) of sales reps have reported that they have left a job because of a bad onboarding experience. And only 8% of sales leaders say that most reps stick around for longer than one year.
Even as hiring slows during times of economic downturn, we will still be hiring and onboarding new sellers as inevitable churn happens. But if the average rep quits after just 18 months, your program must be centered around completing the milestones needed to perform the role to help your sellers to ramp quickly.
Tracking the time to your sellers’ first deals won is a great way to illustrate how effective your onboarding program is.
4. Sales pipeline
Sales-generated pipeline is arguably one of the most important metrics when it comes to the success of your enablement program. This is the most visible metric to prove your enablement program’s ability to help your sellers be effective prospectors.
If your team is able to quickly ramp new hires and give them the resources they need to successfully prospect (see previous metrics: Meetings Scheduled and Opportunities Created), this should result in a team that is consistently generating pipeline. This is also likely one of the metrics your leadership will watch closely.
5. Quota attainment
So your reps are getting meetings and creating opportunities. But one of the biggest factors you can use to measure their success is whether or not they are achieving their quotas. Only 28% of sales reps report that they always hit their sales target or quota. As an enablement team, it’s your job to drive up this percentage so your company can successfully and predictably hit its revenue targets.
Tracking quota attainment allows you to dig into individual performance — which reps are consistently hitting their goals, and which may need additional enablement support. Quota attainment is also helpful to look at from a high level. Which regions are consistently achieving quota? Is the overall team achieving quota?
When you consider metrics for your sales enablement program, quota attainment is one that will likely align directly with your company’s overall revenue goals, so we recommend that all sales enablement teams are keeping a close eye on this one.
6. Lead-to-customer conversion rate
Measuring your lead-to-customer conversion rate will allow you to gain an understanding of the efficiency of your entire sales cycle, from an incoming or prospective lead all the way to close. It’s a good idea to keep a baseline of your lead-to-customer conversion rate so that you can make changes if you see that it is beginning to dip.
7. Average win rate
Your win rate is the total number of won opportunities divided by the total number of opportunities. This should be easy for you to see within Salesforce (or other CRM).
Keeping a close eye on your win rate will help you to understand your team’s success rate. If your team has the training and resources they need to close the deal, they should have a strong win rate.
If the win rate is not where it needs to be, then you need to start digging into lost deals to gain an understanding of patterns of why they are lost. You should also have conversations with your sales team to gain a greater understanding of where they need help so you can provide additional programs or resources.
8. Average deal size
Average deal size (or average contract value — ACV) is the total sale amount, including discounts, averaged for a certain period of time. This can be a helpful metric to track to gain an understanding of 1) if your reps are frequently forced to add discounts to sweeten the deal and 2) if your reps are effectively selling add-ons and services to increase the value of the sale.
9. Length of sales cycle
You can track the length of your sales cycle by looking at the time from the first contact of a new lead to the final sale. You should be able to pull reports or add this view to a dashboard in Salesforce or your CRM. It may also be helpful to look at this more granularly to see the time spent in each stage of the sales cycle.
Tracking the length of your sales cycle can help you understand if your prospective customers are getting stuck at a certain point in the process. For instance, maybe the demo stage is growing longer. This may indicate that your team requires additional demo training. Or maybe the initial meeting stage is starting to drag and you need to address the handoff process from your BDR to your AE. There are many points of failure in a sales cycle, and keeping track of changes can help you to understand where your team may need additional support or process improvements.
10. Internal sales team NPS
As an enablement professional, part of your job is to help ensure that your reps are engaged and have the resources they need to be successful. If your HR team conducts internal employee surveys, pulse checks, etc., it’s a good idea to see if they can give you the results for just the sales team so you can keep an eye on your team NPS — are they happy? Would they recommend working at your company to their peers and friends?
With the world largely working remotely, it is harder than ever to engage personally with your team, and they may be missing that face-to-face engagement. And if your reps don’t feel like they have the tools they need to be successful and are not feeling engaged in your company’s culture, then they are more at risk to leave — which leads us to the next metric.
11. Employee churn rate
As we mentioned earlier, the average sales rep will leave in just 18 months. Your reps have aggressive quotas that they are under pressure to hit faster than ever before. If you have a rep that struggles through onboarding and slogging through clunky processes and systems, they are likely to leave.
Your organization will have a very difficult task of achieving sales goals predictably if your team is constantly churning — it’s an uphill battle. So it’s critical that you keep a close watch on your sales team’s churn rate.
Retaining your talent and enabling them to succeed is one of the best values your team can contribute to your company’s success. In fact, research shows that top sales performers are nearly 3x more likely to report their onboarding experience as “good” or “excellent” compared to poor performers.
Note: While metrics 1–9 focus on revenue and productivity, metrics 10 and 11 will help you to measure the level of engagement of your team.
Sales enablement micro-KPIs
We’ve covered the high-level metrics that can help you align your sales enablement program to your company’s high-level growth OKRs. However, those aren’t the only metrics that can help you shift your program from reactive to strategic. As Kristen McCrae McMullan shared in a recent post on LinkedIn, “micro-KPIs” can also be an effective way to track a metric tied directly to an enablement initiative that shows a change over time.
One thing that many enablement teams struggle with is how to tie in the work you do on a daily basis to improve overall sales success. Micro-KPIs become the bridge between enablement programs, initiatives, and activities to overall productivity and quota attainment.
Kristen shares examples of micro-KPIs below:
These micro-KPIs are a great way for you to measure the tactics that fuel your overall enablement program. Which micro-KPIs you choose will be largely tied to a specific initiative that your team wants to share visibility and improvement over time at a more tangible, granular level.
For instance, your team’s usage of content and messaging could be tied to the number of meetings set. If your sales team is adopting the messaging they have been trained on, ideally, it will improve the meetings set KPI. Improving meetings set can lead to more ops, increased pipeline, and better win rates.
While not fully tied to your company’s high-level OKRs, they may be helpful in showing a correlation — especially because it’s not always possible to show a 1:1 connection between your enablement initiative and revenue growth or sales efficiency. Micro-KPIs are also helpful to test theories you may have about your enablement initiatives without making large-scale changes.
The value of a data-driven sales enablement strategy
At this point you may be thinking that tracking all of these metrics sounds like a lot of work — and initially, that might be true. It’s a good idea to create a tight partnership with your RevOps team and have a conversation with them about what metrics you would like to measure. They will likely have the skillset to help you build Salesforce dashboards that can help you to automate as much as possible.
In the end, tracking these 11 sales enablement metrics will make it easier for you to show whether your program is successful in making your reps more efficient — as well as the impact that has on your business’ bottom line. But more importantly, reporting on these metrics will give you a higher likelihood of success in getting buy-in for your program and acquiring the resources you need to make future improvements for growth.
After all, engagement + enablement = revenue. By showing that your enablement program is driving efficiency through data visualizations, you will prove the financial value your program is delivering for your business.