We all ask each other the same questions — how do you measure Sales Enablement and its impact on your business? Are you using enablement metrics that are easy to find, but limited in value to executives and individual contributors alike?
What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you use to determine the impact of your sales enablement activities? Can you demonstrate that your work leads to higher customer conversion rates, better win rates, faster ramp times, leading more sales reps to reach quota attainment, and other Enablement promises?
This article explores various Sales Enablement metrics to understand the right metrics for your sales enablement program
As with everything, this document is a work in progress. Keep sharing what you are doing, and we will keep updating this as we go forward.
Okay, so let’s start by answering a question I hear regularly. What are leading indicators versus lagging indicators?
What are leading Enablement metrics?
Leading indicators are simply those that you can measure as a direct outcome of your activities.
For example, if you deliver an onboarding session, the number of people who attended would be a leading indicator.
What are typical leading indicators teams use to measure Sales Enablement?
Leading Training Enablement Metrics
Here are a few typical leading sales training indicators:
- The number of reps attending a session.
- The percentage of people completing a specific course.
- The amount of training collateral created over a given period.
- The amount of time teams have spent consuming training.
Leading Content Enablement Metrics
Here are a few typical leading indicators used to measure Sales Enablement content usage during the sales cycle and beyond.
- The number of people sharing a specific piece of content.
- The level of engagement the sales team sees from customers receiving particular pieces of collateral.
- The number of pieces of training content created over a specific period.
- The number of times a piece of content is shared to prospects in a given sales stage of a deal cycle as you go along the buyer’s journey.
Leading Coaching Enablement Metrics
Here are a few typical leading indicators:
- Number of people coached in a given period.
- Hours of coaching for all sales reps, on average
Leading Process Enablement Metrics
The following metrics are common leading indicators:
- Number of processes evaluated
- Number of processed adjusted
- Expected time savings, growth, etc., for a given process adjustment
Leading Onboarding and Ramping Enablement Metrics
Here are a few typical leading indicators used to measure Sales Enablement onboarding activities.
- The Number of new reps onboarded over a given period of time
- Ramp time for each cohort of new hires onboarded.
Leading Customer Success Metrics
Revenue Enablement supports existing customers via the Customer Success organization. Here are a few of the leading indicators:
- Net Promoter Score
- How many weeks to onboard a new customer.
- Meetings per month between Customer Success and Customers
Enablement Metrics must always align to business goals
As Canadian Regional Host and Trusted Advisor, Adriana Romero, notes:
“Any Enablement program has to be tied to a Revenue metric – example in the Onboarding – besides how many people were onboarded in a given time, I would add the time to first X (Meeting, Discovery, Deal). If Enablement does not measure the impact the programs have on the team, we cannot know what is being effective.”
Adriana nails it. We never perform Enablement activities merely to create content, train individuals, deploy new sales enablement tools, or anything else. We perform these activities to help our businesses grow and thrive.
As you measure Sales Enablement impact in your business, are you keeping this in mind?
What are lagging Enablement metrics?
Lagging indicators are simply those that you cannot measure as a direct outcome of your activities. Lagging indicators are often those business metrics that the company cares most about, however.
These lagging indicators come from the boardroom and executive team and are what the marketing, sales, and the entire go-to-market team focus on achieving.
For example, metrics like revenue by product line, average quota attainment, and average deal size would be lagging indicators.
Another example for you to consider would be this. If you deliver a training session for a new product, the time to first product sale would be a lagging indicator, and the number of people attending the session would be a leading indicator.
Here are a few to consider.
What is sales efficiency?
Sales Efficiency (Net, Gross, and Otherwise) is an important metric which demonstrates the revenue you earn against what you invest in sales and marketing.
Since Revenue Enablement requires a broad view of your business, I favor Net Sales Efficiency. Net Sales Efficiency takes the sum of the amount of revenue gained minus the amount of revenue lost due to customer churn and divides against the number of dollars invested in sales and marketing and customer success in a given time.
As a simple example, if your net revenue in a given year is $10, and you spend $1 on sales, marketing, and customer success, your net sales efficiency will be 10.
Sales Efficiency is a good number to track closely as you scale your business.
Deal win rate
What is the Deal Win Rate?
To calculate, divide the number of opportunities you won by the number of opportunities you opened over a given period. This measure of sales performance can get very complicated when dealing with long deal cycles, typical in Enterprise B2B sales.
Deal velocity (sometimes called sales cycle length) in this example is merely the average number of days/months it takes an average deal to move from the beginning of the sales funnel to the end with a closed/won or close/lost decision.
You may also want to learn more about the Sales Velocity Formula, a popular metric in some businesses. This formula is very well described in a blog post on SalesHacker from 2018, where they note:
What is the Sales Velocity Formula?
Quoting SalesHacker exactly, the Sales Velocity Formula is “calculation of four major sales ops metrics to forecast how much revenue you stand to generate over a period of time”. I would encourage you to click over to SalesHacker and read their full article; it is very insightful.
What is the churn rate?
For SaaS businesses, the churn rate is the percentage of customers who end their subscription to your service. Keep in mind that I said roughly for a reason.
Churn rate is often calculated based upon more complex formulas because customers may only unsubscribe from one product vs. all products.
Some businesses calculate churn rate against the contract value versus the raw number of customers to account for this point.
When you measure Sales Enablement outcomes, are you taking people into account?
Consider this churn of people in your sales organizations. While exact statistics are always changing, roughly 3 in 10 sellers will leave your business each year. This KPI has a significant impact on the company in terms of costs and morale.
Sales Managers, Sales Enablement Leaders, and all others in sales leadership (heck, leadership overall) need to identify solutions and best practices to improve upon these numbers.
Impact to discounting
What is discounting?
In B2B sales, the price you put on your website is almost always merely the first offer. Discounting percentages vary, but it is not uncommon for businesses to regularly discount their prices by 10-15% before volume discounts.
What is quota consistency?
This metric is the number of consecutive months during which a seller is achieving quota.
Most employees will refer their friends and/or old coworkers for open positions at your company if they are happy and excited about the business. Are your employees demonstrating this passion for your business?
Lagging indicators and slow deal cycles?
When deal cycles are slow, it can be challenging to determine how you impact key business KPIs. When this is the case, use activities as a surrogate. For example, if a typical deal cycle is 12 months, you cannot afford to hope that they will start closing deals at some distant point in the future.
What’s an Enablement pro to do?
In partnership and collaboration with sales leader, marketing, operations, and whoever is appropriate in your organization, define the expected timing and frequency for specific activities you can measure. For example, should a new seller be making a certain number of calls consistently within a certain number of weeks? Should they be working on a certain number of opportunities in some number of months?
While none of these measures are perfect, and the impact on leading indicators is mostly correlation, you need to tie your Enablement efforts to them. When correlation is clarified, these indicators help your business partners understand how what you are doing is expected to impact the business.
Beyond Enablement Measurements
A handful of Enablement KPIs does not provide the full story. They are a starting point from which the real work and research begins. This section will include important analysis techniques for your Enablement teams to incorporate.
How do you perform a win loss analysis
Chad Dyar guided us on the win/loss analysis process he uses in his interview with The Collaborator. His insights, plus those of others in the community, have gone into this information. Also, DACH Regional Host and Trusted Advisor Britta Lorenz set with Cian Mcloughlin for a LinkedIn Live conversation on this topic. Many of these insights are incorporated as well.
Before we dive in, why do deals get lost?
In his interview with Britta (noted above), Cian shared many of the reasons he has seen as a result of his work. These include:
- Failure to listen to the customer.
- Failure to fully understand the needs of the customer.
- Salespeople showed up and started pitching.
- The seller was not professional.
- Content is boring, generic, and bland.
- Your company or team feels risky.
- No relationship building with key members of the buying team.
When do you kick off the analysis?
For most businesses, it is not feasible to run every opportunity through this analysis. To keep the process manageable, begin the process around the contract stage of your sales process. To determine the right time for your business, sit with your Revenue Operations team as they will tell you the exact timing based upon how your company operates.
Ask your Operations team to set up an alert in your CRM system for deals reaching this stage. When an opportunity reaches this stage, have your sales lead for the opportunity reach out to their customer contact and get written confirmation that when the deal closes that they will sit with your Enablement team to review the agreement.
How you reach out is as vital as when you reach out. Ensure the customer understands that you are not trying to force them to second-guess their decision or point out flaws in their decision-making process. Your goal is to learn and improve how you, as individuals and organizations, work with prospects. These conversations are about helping you get better.
What happens during the meeting?
Plan to spend an hour for this meeting and follow this agenda:
What is the customer buying process?
Review their buying process from the time of problem awareness through the final signature. This should include building an understanding of:
- What steps did they walk through?
- Who was involved at each step of the process?
- What role did each involved person play?
- What were the key concerns each person brought to the decision?
- Were any internal buying checklist built out? Can you get a copy of these?
What vendors did they check out?
You are never the only vendor in the mix, who else did they evaluate? For each vendor:
- What did they like about a specific vendor?
- What did they dislike?
- Where did that vendor outperform you?
- Where did that vendor fall short?
- What pricing did you end up paying?
Get their permission to follow back up with them if you have additional questions.
Use these conversations to remind the customer of why you are so awesome. If you lost the deal, make sure you also ask when you can reach back out to them.
As you measure Sales Enablement in your business, are you using these leading and lagging indicators in the correct amounts?
Or, are you, as many fall into, simply looking at the easy to review lagging enablement metrics?
If you need help understanding this topic, these are the experts that we have hand-selected for you. Each of them is willing to support you, and our profession overall, by collaborating with you on this topic.
John Moore, The Collaborator. VP of Revenue Enablement at Bigtincan and Founder and Chief Collaborator of this Movement.