Improving Sales Productivity Through Data-Driven Enablement

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This year, organizations are looking for ways to be even more efficient than ever before. With a challenging economic climate and business landscape, sales organizations will be eager to look at the opportunities to be more productive in just about every avenue possible as they deal with doing more with potentially less.

Simply put, sales productivity is a sales team’s general output. Sales productivity measures how effective and efficient salespeople are at generating revenue. Although often used interchangeably, the terms “efficiency” and “effectiveness” serve unique purposes that, once understood and accurately measured, can drive the growth of productivity of sales organizations.

Sales enablement plays a crucial role in driving sales productivity. By helping to eliminate the inefficiencies in the sales process and significantly save reps time, enablement can help reps generate more positive interactions and build relationships with their customers that directly impact revenue and growth.

“There’s the balance between designing a program, rolling it out, coaching to that, and then measuring the overall effectiveness of it within the systems that we have,” said Chuck Marcouiller, vice president of revenue enablement at Freightwaves. “Sometimes we’re successful, and sometimes, we’re not successful. We have to go back to the drawing board and use the science of the data to say, what is this telling us, and then what are we going to do about it so we can adjust.”

Below, learn how enablement can leverage data and insights to measure sales efficiency and effectiveness to drive overall sales productivity.

How Enablement Can Measure Sales Efficiency and Optimize Resources

Sales efficiency relates to how sellers allocate their resources. And the most precious resource in any sales organization is time. Achieving optimal sales efficiency means maximizing sellers’ productive time in their day-to-day.

Sales enablement can impact sales efficiency by streamlining processes and activities so reps can spend more time selling. According to the Sales Enablement Analytics Report 2022-2023, sales efficiency is an area that 43% of enablement teams are not currently tracking. However, those that measure sales efficiency report 3-percentage-point higher win rates on average, pointing to the ability for teams to track how reps spend their time as a way to improve business impact and optimize efficiency.

One of the ways to track how a rep spends their time is to understand how long they may be searching for content, a metric enablement can measure to reduce time spent looking for the right resources. In fact, 22% of teams report tracking the time spent searching for content. When reps can find what they need quickly, they can share relevant and on-brand content to increase buyer engagement and easily move buyers through the sales cycle. Enablement can help reduce this time by creating sales plays that aptly prepare reps to enter buyer conversations with confidence and expertise. Sales plays can provide reps with the guidance and context they can rely on to be more successful in closing deals and deepening relationships.

“Establish that sales plays are not just a one-time thing,” said Nieka Mamczak, senior enablement manager of customer success at Stack Overflow. “It’s not a flavor of the month. If you can establish a process and format that’s reliable and scalable, then from what I’ve observed, the adoption is organic. In fact, you actually want to build something that your sales team, your customer success team, and everyone around you is excited for.”

Measuring Sales Effectiveness To Execute With Value

It can be helpful to distinguish between efficiency and effectiveness as it relates to influencing productivity. Sales effectiveness is not solely based on how reps spend their time or how resources are being allocated — it relies on how reps put into motion the skills and resources they have to move the needle and close deals. More effective salespeople will likely produce a higher output from the same effort level as those underperforming. Effectiveness can often be much more challenging because it requires the improved capability of individual performance.

Sales effectiveness can be looked at through different stages of the sales cycle. Enablement can better understand how sales teams provide value to their buyers when they can evaluate how certain activities throughout the cycle impact a deal.

Motivating reps to perform an activity, whether through scheduling meetings or performing a demo, also means that enablement will keep a close eye on how reps perform within those activities to demonstrate that enablement initiatives actually make a difference in moving buyers throughout the deal cycle. Popular metrics for enablement teams to track to optimize their efforts often include lead conversion rates, email response rates, and time to close deals.

One way enablement can track their efforts to ladder up to improved sales effectiveness is through reporting on training and coaching programs as they map to rep performance. For example, Gerry Hurley, senior director of enablement at Tripadvisor, said his team works closely with revenue operations to build out reports that showcase rep performance benchmarked weekly by role, by the team, and by region. Establishing a cadence of reports aimed at driving conversations and course corrections around specific behaviors gave enablement the tools and ability to properly support managers in coaching their reps to success.

“These included behavioral scorecards where [managers] could assess engagement, participation, attitude, and openness to feedback,” said Hurley. “[Managers] could assess the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’ and track performance against KPIs on a weekly basis and a feedback loop to share best practice, identify blockages and validate performance conversations were taking place.”

As economic shifts continue to rock foundational elements of any sales organization, it will be imperative for enablement to prove its value and role in how it impacts performance and ultimately improve sales productivity. To increase enablement’s ability to demonstrate its impact, enablement teams can track the key metrics within their programs and activities that align well with improving overall sales efficiency and effectiveness across the entire sales force.

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