Elevating Enablement Insights for Impact
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Sales enablement practitioners often wear many different hats, from being coaches and trainers to being the go-to person for advising product and content marketing teams. However, some enablement teams struggle to articulate and prove just how their work impacts success. In fact, the State of Sales Enablement Report 2021 found that 53% of respondents rated enablement as below average in its ability to use data to analyze business impact.. To mitigate these challenges, it is important for sales enablement to focus efforts on problem solving and developing effective strategies through reliable analyses.
Just as sales leaders must closely look at data and performance metrics to ensure success, sales enablement teams must maintain a data-driven mindset and continuously aim to quantify their impact.
As the State of Sales Enablement 2021 report found, organizations where sales enablement is above average in its ability to use data to analyze the impact of enablement efforts see a 5-percentage-point increase in average win rate and 6-percentage-point increase in average rep quota attainment compared to those that are below average.
Without a true understanding of the underlying factors that drive revenue performance, it is difficult for organizations to develop effective solutions to support strategic initiatives. It is sales enablement’s role to ultimately guide leaders to make the right decisions to achieve revenue goals by leveraging data-backed insights.
Here are three ways that sales enablement professionals can utilize data-driven insights to impact future successes for revenue organizations.
Tie Data Analytics to Business Goals
Data is everywhere, and it can often be difficult to minimize the scope to find and deploy the right insights that lead to significant impact. To ensure productivity, it is essential for enablement to evaluate performance of key goals and initiatives of revenue organizations by using data-backed insights.
To start, enablement professionals need to understand how their organization measures success. Every organization is different and there are a plethora of databases available; when determining which core KPIs to track, these can be metrics such as conversion rates, win rates, average deal sizes, or time to ramp. Be sure to capture the organization’s top priorities and narrow down to a key couple of KPIs that matter most.
“You want to look for things that your sales leaders are constantly pulling data about and that your executives with their board are constantly mentioning,” said Kristen McCrae McMullan, worldwide sales enablement leader at Amazon Web Services. “Those are things that are top of mind for the business, so what can you do to impact that?”
Beyond just measuring the right metrics, practitioners can further scale the success of enablement programs by clearly communicating the impact of these data findings on business goals, aligned to the priorities of executive leaders. This allows sales leaders to proactively plan and execute growth strategies using reliable insights from data-driven analysis. As a result, enablement can improve their visibility and collaboration with key stakeholders that are crucial to their success.
The State of Sales Enablement 2021 report found that when sales enablement exceeds in its ability to communicate the business impact of its efforts, it is also more effective in collaborating with executive leaders.
In fact, 56% of respondents that are above average in this area are 2.3 times as likely to exceed expectations in collaborating with executive leaders than those that are below average.
“By quantitatively proving the value sales enablement provides, practitioners can secure their well-deserved seat at the table,” said Jason Salfen, director of enterprise sales programs at Salesforce.
Effectively using data and openly sharing key insights with leaders allows enablement functions to not only improve its visibility within the organization, but more importantly ensure that revenue leaders are equipped with valuable insights to make informed decisions regarding revenue strategy.
Optimize and Leverage the Sales Enablement Tech Stack
In addition to helping sales leaders make strategic decisions, enablement can improve initiatives and refine programs better by leveraging the tools within their enablement tech stack to analyze how initiatives are influencing performance at the individual rep and team levels. Doing so can help enablement identify patterns and drill into specific opportunities for improvement as it relates to rep behavior and productivity.
For example, revenue intelligence tools can help enablement professionals observe how reps are directly applying the knowledge, skills, and resources that they are provided with, and how customers are responding in return. This allows enablement to take a deeper look into how strategies are played out and make minor adjustments as needed, such as tailoring coaching sessions to make incremental improvements.
According to the State of Sales Enablement 2021 report, having revenue intelligence tools as a part of the sales enablement tech stack is correlated with a 6-percentage-point improvement in quota attainment compared to those without these tools. Moreover, leveraging these tools to their fullest potential can maximize the overall impact. When used effectively, revenue intelligence tools are correlated with a 9-percentage-point improvement in quota attainment.
Gathering insights from data has the capacity to elevate revenue growth, and it is crucial to optimize the right tech stack to jumpstart this process.
Align with Core Stakeholders
Identifying metrics and measuring impact is not something that sales enablement should partake in alone. Rather, practitioners need to partner with other functions to understand and consider each of their goals and priorities.
Sales enablement often works closely with sales leaders, sales ops, marketing, product, engineering, customer success teams, and more. While these are separate teams in the organization, the common denominator lies in the core vision and KPIs they share, and sales enablement can help break down silos by communicating impact against these shared goals.
“Enablement really isn’t just sales enablement, it’s go-to-market enablement, it’s company enablement, it’s product enablement,” said McCrae. “So, what core KPIs can we drive together with a cohesive approach?”
Given this, it is crucial that enablement solutions consider all different perspectives by welcoming as many voices from the company as possible. Alignment is important for not only group productivity, but also for enablement visibility. When everyone is on the same page and goals are coordinated, enablement initiatives are more likely to stick and be sought after by others.
“If I were to try approaching a situation only from a sales perspective, the solution wouldn’t stick,” said Jessica Ryker, sales enablement lead at HelpSystems. “If your partners believe that you care about their goals as much as your own, you’ll have much better success.”
For sales enablement to implement smart and strategic initiatives, understanding how data-driven results impact the organization’s revenue growth is key. Sales enablement can utilize valuable insights from data to uncover potential weaknesses in performance, identify opportunities for improvement, and develop promising solutions.
“Enablement can be tasked with so many different things in an organization, but just because those are the things you are tasked with now, doesn’t mean those are the things you’ll be tasked with tomorrow,” said McMullan. “Stay focused on just a few things you can deliver, really be methodical and strategic, and show your results.”
By providing data-backed insights, leveraging the right sales enablement tools, and collaborating with key stakeholders, sales enablement can better coordinate the efforts of revenue teams to ensure long-term success.