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How to Definitively Prove the Value of Sales Enablement

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Conor Bond on Thu, Feb 11, 2021

High-performing sales reps are not born; they’re built. To be more precise, high-performing sales reps are not built in a discrete period of time; they’re built on an ongoing basis.

Call analyses, customer case studies, competitive battlecards — over the course of a sales rep’s tenure at your company, tools like these (and others like them) will make the challenge of consistently bringing new business in the door much more achievable.

This is, in a sense, the value of sales enablement: It helps your sales reps maximize their potential as specialists in the art of generating revenue.

That sounds nice. But how do you prove that value? And how do you communicate that proof to your colleagues (and/or executive leaders) in a way that resonates with them?

You’ll have answers to these questions by the time you’re done reading this blog post. Once we’ve more firmly established the value of sales enablement, we’ll give you five ways to prove it and three tips for effectively communicating that proof.

Take your strategy to the next level with the Ultimate Guide to Sales Enablement

Understanding The Value of Sales Enablement

Ever try to convince someone to give you 30 minutes of their time for an introductory call?

It’s difficult.

Ever try to convince someone to buy your product?

It’s very difficult.

Ever try to convince someone to buy your product instead of an alternative?

It’s extraordinarily difficult.

This is why I opened with the argument that high-performing sales reps are built, not born. Does charisma help? Of course it does. But it doesn’t make up for an inability to make an effective cold call. It doesn’t make up for an inability to run a jaw-dropping demo. It doesn’t make up for an inability to understand how your product compares to each alternative in the market.

value-of-sales-enablement-feature-comparison-example

Very few people can do these things consistently over the long term without some form of sales enablement. Sales enablement is valuable because it unlocks the full potential within your reps, catalyzing better performance at every stage of the funnel and culminating in dramatic improvement on the bottom line.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. So, on that note, let’s discuss a handful of ways you can measure and prove the value of sales enablement.

5 Ways to Measure the Value of Sales Enablement

Congratulations! You’ve just added “Create sales enablement tools” to the top of your to-do list for the coming quarter. You’re excited to meet with your reps and create the collateral they need to win truckloads big-ticket deals.

As excited as you are to overhaul your demo deck and draw up some battlecards, you’re a savvy marketer. You know you shouldn’t create a single new tool until you’ve figured out how you’re going to prove the value of your efforts.

We’ve got a few ideas to get your wheels turning. Below is a non-exhaustive list of five ways to measure and prove the value of sales enablement. Please note that you should work closely with your stakeholders (most likely sales leaders as well as executives) to determine which metrics are important to your organization.

1. Opportunity Creation Rate

For the sake of simple math, let’s say that Haley, a sales rep at your company, makes 50 cold calls a week. She also sends 50 cold emails a week, bringing her weekly activity total to 100.

If Haley creates two new opportunities each week — i.e., schedules a discovery call with two new prospects each week — her opportunity creation rate is 2%.

As part of your commitment to sales enablement, let’s say you give Haley a handful of new email templates as well as a new talk track to guide her phone conversations. Fast forward a bit, and although her weekly activity total is still 100, Haley is now scheduling three discovery calls each week — her opportunity creation rate has increased to 3%!

This is one way, at the very top of the funnel, to prove the value of sales enablement.

2. Discovery Call to Demo Conversion Rate

Thanks to your help, Haley is introducing your company to three new opportunities each week via discovery call. On average, one of these prospects is so impressed that they schedule a follow-up call to get an in-depth product demonstration (a.k.a. demo).

In other words, 33% of Haley’s discovery calls convert into demos.

After writing those email templates and creating a new talk track, you decide to overhaul the brief slide deck that Haley uses during her discovery calls.

Fast forward a bit more, and now she’s booking two demos a week rather than one — her discovery call to demo conversion rate has jumped from 33% to 66%!

As we move down the funnel, sales enablement continues to prove valuable.

3. Demo to Customer Conversion Rate

At a clip of two demos a week, Haley is running, on average, eight demos a month — that’s eight prospects who sit down with her (via Zoom) for a detailed exploration of your product.

Typically, one of these eight prospects will decide to buy your product. This means that 12.5% of Haley’s demos convert into customers.

Because your top-of-funnel sales enablement content has yielded amazing results, you decide to work with your sales team to reimagine the way they demonstrate your product.

After an adjustment period, Haley begins to consistently close two new customers every month rather than just one — her demo to customer conversion rate jumps from 12.5% to 25%!

Thanks, in large part, to your sales enablement efforts, the amount of revenue Haley gets in the door every month has grown dramatically.

4. Competitive Win Rate

Competitive win rate refers to the rate at which your sales reps win deals against a specific competitor:

Competitive Win Rate = # Deals Won Against Competitor X / # Deals Involving Competitor X

Say, for example, that your sales reps have worked 100 deals that involved Competitor X. If they’ve won 38 of those deals, then your competitive win rate is 38%.

Because you’re unsatisfied with that figure, you decide to create a battlecard to help your sales reps go head-to-head against Competitor X. As a result, your reps win 15 of the next 20 competitive deals.

53 wins out of 120 total competitive deals brings your competitive win rate from 38% to 44%. That’s an improvement of nearly 16% — thank you, sales enablement!

5. Sales Enablement Tool Usage Rate

The most obvious way to measure the value of a sales enablement tool (specifically a battlecard) is to track the change in performance that follows its creation. To extend our previous example, let’s say you create a battlecard for Competitor X and, over the course of a couple months, observe a 16% improvement in competitive win rate.

Exciting? Of course! But you’re not getting the whole story from this one metric on its own. To get the whole story, you have to look at the rate at which your reps are using the battlecard.

Think of it this way. If you observe that (1) your battlecard has yielded a 16% improvement in competitive win rate and (2) every single one of your reps is using it on a regular basis, you can infer that your team is capitalizing on the full value of the battlecard.

Alternatively, you might observe that (1) your battlecard has yielded a 16% improvement in competitive win rate and (2) only half of your reps are using it on a regular basis. Although the 16% improvement is still exciting, that figure could almost certainly be higher.

In general, when measuring the value of your sales enablement tools, looking at usage rates gives you a more complete picture of what’s going on. Depending on how much or how little a given tool is being used, a 16% improvement could lead you to two very different conclusions.

3 Tips for Sharing the Value of Sales Enablement with Your Stakeholders

So, you’ve got all this proof that your investment in sales enablement is paying off. Across the sales team, opportunity creation rate is up 50%. Demos are yielding new customers like never before. You won 75% of deals involving Competitor X last quarter.

The only way to keep the sales enablement train rolling is to make sure everyone understands and appreciates the value you’re delivering.

Believe it or not, that’s easier said than done. Let’s wrap up with three tips for communicating the value of sales enablement.

1. Cater to Stakeholders’ Needs & Preferences

Remember when I said you should connect with your stakeholders to determine which metrics are important to them? You should also find out how those stakeholders would like to consume the data you’re compiling. When trying to communicate the value of sales enablement, always remember to cater to the needs and preferences of your stakeholders. Otherwise, the significance of the data you’re sharing may not resonate to the extent that it should.

Hypothetically, whereas your sales leader may prefer to have your sales enablement metrics dynamically updated in your CRM, your marketing leader may prefer to get monthly updates via email or slide deck. No matter what, figure out what everyone needs before you begin to roll out your sales enablement strategy.

2. Use Dashboards to Provide Quick Insights

If one or more of your stakeholders wants to have quick, on-demand insights — e.g., How does this month’s opportunity creation rate compare to last month’s? — consider creating a simple dashboard within your CRM.

As long as you have an accurate, up-to-date record of activity volume, opportunity volume, demo volume, and so on, you can easily create a single source of truth that provides all the data your stakeholders could possibly want at a glance.

3. Use Newsletters to Provide Long-Term Takeaways

Though a dashboard is a terrific way to convey short-term trends and insights, that’s only half the battle. If you want to communicate the full impact of your sales enablement efforts, you need a way to regularly disseminate long-term takeaways — especially from a revenue perspective. There are plenty of nitty-gritty metrics you can use to measure the value of sales enablement, but always keep in mind that revenue is the ultimate KPI.

This is where the newsletter can come into play. Picture this: On a quarterly basis, you send an in-depth email to all your stakeholders, breaking down each and every way sales enablement positively impacted revenue over the course of the previous three months. The newsletter format allows you to cover all your bases, working your way down the funnel from the rate at which opportunities were created to the rate at which demos turned into customers.

Your work touches every corner of the sales organization — leave no stone unturned!

Spread the Word About Sales Enablement

Not everyone understands the value of sales enablement. If they did, I wouldn’t have bothered to write this guide.

Whether you’re in the middle of building your first battlecard or you’ve been creating sales enablement tools for a while, rest assured that the work you’re doing is valuable. It’s just a matter of making that value as clear as possible to the people around you.

With the right combination of metrics and a thoughtful communication strategy, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to do just that. Good luck!

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Topics: Sales Enablement

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