How to Identify and Track the Enablement KPIs That Matter
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Demonstrating the value of enablement is a continuous process — both to successfully scale programs and deepen the impact of enablement across an organization. And it can certainly pay off to demonstrate tangible business value to leadership and stakeholders. In fact, the State of Sales Enablement 2022 Report found that when enablement effectively uses data to analyze the business impact of its efforts, it is 2 times more likely to exceed executive expectations.
“I think if we really want to systematize and create programs that can scale and be repeatable, we need to see what the metrics are bearing forth,” said Sharif Wilson, global sales enablement manager at Forter. “Until we’re able to measure something, unless we’re able to analyze, there’s no way for us to control, there’s no way for us to credibly say that we’ve improved anything.”
To increase profitability and promote growth for an organization’s bottom line and ensure the success of enablement programs for the future, creating the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter the most is critical. The key to a good KPI often lies in its simplicity. Using a five-step model, enablement can measure its progress against organizational goals and track how its work influences the outcomes.
Learn how to develop and write the KPIs that can keep business goals on track and help demonstrate the impact of enablement continuously over time.
Identify the Clear Objectives to Track
To begin any process for tracking KPIs, it’s essential to clearly define the objectives the organization wants to measure. The goals or objectives that are strategic are often time-bound, measurable, and specific. Taking into account how every enablement initiative or program aligns with the overarching goals of the organization can help keep the efforts on track to impact the results of broader team goals and outcomes.
“A lot of sales enablement work directly [ties] with the sales organization only. However, with more evolved enablement, you work with the rest of the go-to-market teams. You start working with product, marketing, revenue ops, and so on,” said Petek Hawkins, head of global learning, enablement, and development at Fivetran. “It’s really important to understand what the company strategy is, what are they looking to implement as initiatives as a part of that strategy, and what can you do to help enable their teams and enable their revenue.”
For example, revenue-generating teams may care greatly about decreasing sales cycle length or deal velocity, which tracks the length of time from the first time a rep contacts a new lead through to the final sale. Tracking the overall time of the sales cycle can be a leading indicator that a rep feels confident in instilling a sense of urgency on the buyer’s side and can communicate the value and need for their product. Enablement can leverage other insights directly related to their programs such as content performance or completion in training to attribute that to how it impacts the amount of time it takes a rep to close a deal.
Define What Success Looks Like
Once the strategic objectives of what to measure have been defined, it’s time to take a look at the type of criteria to focus on that defines the success of these objectives. For example, linking how enablement programs or initiatives are helping to bridge the gap between certain desired business outcomes can be led with both quantitative and qualitative data. Whether it’s quota attainment, win rates, net new meetings, and so on, it’s critical to dig deep into why an enablement team would look at these key metrics for success in performance and how to transform that data into actionable insights to drive a more effective strategy.
When outlining how to achieve those goals and what to measure, multiple paths or components needed to get there may emerge. This can lead to a more meaningful and targeted use of KPIs that directly track toward the overall strategic goals of the business.
“In terms of how we use these metrics to turn them into strategic action, we think about these as our North Star,” said Vanessa Metcalf, vice president of revenue effectiveness at Docebo. “I’m always trying to ask myself or folks on my team how everything we’re working on ties to one of our five key metrics. Are we able to track progress as we go? I think if we don’t have a clear answer on that question, it may mean that we’re prioritizing the wrong thing.”
Develop Open-Ended Questions
Developing questions to help determine how to meet a specific objective can keep the team focused and motivated to pay closer attention to the KPIs that are meaningful to their work and the organization’s goals. Open-ended questions can provoke new ideas on what to start measuring, help identify gaps, or steer toward how to best prioritize enablement initiatives related to impacting the business.
Consider asking these questions to jump-start discussion:
- What’s most valuable to the organization?
- What result or outcome do we want to achieve?
- How can we define progress?
- How do we want to measure it?
- How will we know when we have achieved the end goal?
Gather Supporting Data
Understanding what measures can be used to track performance is key to unlocking the value of the data at the company’s disposal. Data can help eliminate the guesswork about what success looks like and can contextualize the broader picture of how enablement defines its success within an organization. Leading and lagging indicators will begin to show through data in the form of trends and overall progress. Data can also help with benchmarking KPIs from the very beginning.
For example, data may show that a certain group of reps is collectively losing out on deals to a specific competitor, which can then help enablement teams understand if they need to invest more time in competitive intelligence research to help strengthen content or training programs to sharpen reps’ skills in gaining that competitive edge.
Tracking the quantifiable data in each KPI can help center the performance of each specific goal and uncover valuable insights on what to improve.
Establish the Frequency of Measuring the KPI
In the final step, it’s important to keep your KPIs timebound as it relates to the timelines of the strategic goals the organization has set for itself. Whether that be weekly, monthly, or quarterly (or all of the above), setting a frequency on how often the team should measure a given KPI helps practitioners keep track of where they may be exceeding expectations or where there may be gaps to address in demonstrating enablement’s impact on the sales organization.
Defining the frequency of what to measure can also help gain critical executive buy-in from leadership as it shows performance and success over a specific period of time. This can help build credibility and confidence in the enablement programs from an executive’s point of view and also ensure that more teams and structures are aware and brought into the enablement initiatives taking place.
“You have to demonstrate that what you’re doing in terms of enablement functions or workshops or any initiatives are backed up by the data that you have in the company and that you are backing up data in terms of numbers, in terms of gaps,” said Adriana Romero, senior manager of productivity at Salesforce. “And you’re coming to the sales managers with an intelligent solution around, ‘Look, I am not only thinking about implementing X, Y, or Z workshop, it’s that we’re seeing these trends on the floor, and we believe that we can actually impact efficiency or performance or any metric by doing this.’”
For KPIs to be effective and meaningful, they require alignment with the strategic objectives of the business. For enablement, the more quantifiable the data, the better, as it allows practitioners to paint a larger picture of the success of its programs. Aligning company-wide goals to the strategic initiatives enablement teams implement helps stakeholders, leaders, and employees gain clarity on how to make target outcomes feel attainable and ultimately successful.
Download our KPI template today to begin tracking the metrics that make a tangible impact across the business.