Sales Enablement Analytics: The Growing Need for Customer-Centricity
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“The customer is always right”. If you have ever worked in industries like retail or food services, this is a common mantra you’ve likely heard repeated. The core meaning behind this phrase, that the needs of the customer should be the top priority of the employee, sets the expectation that the customer is at the center of the business model. As these expectations trickle over into the B2B world, it is increasingly important for organizations to adopt a customer-centric mentality — and sales enablement is crucial to helping customer-centricity thrive.
Historically, many B2B organizations were able to find success with a solution or product-based business model because of its unique capabilities or features. However, as digital technologies continue to revolutionize businesses, industries are becoming more and more saturated, and focusing on the solution alone is no longer enough to win against the competition.
“The activities, attitudes, and expectations of business and consumer-oriented buyers are starting to converge…” said Mary Shea, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “And those expectations are around meaningful, value-oriented, personalized connections and interactions.”
In fact, 70% of customers are more willing to spend money with companies that have great customer service. To be successful in business today, organizations need to focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences.
“The problem is we tend to get sucked in focusing on our product and solution and not actually what the customer needs,” said Sam Robinson, director of sales enablement at Sage. “If you start to understand why people make decisions or what motivates them, it’s getting those insights and relating them to that customer business.”
Many organizations have intentions of being more customer-centric, yet there is still substantial room for growth in making it a priority. Sales enablement has an opportunity to guide organizations toward customer-centricity by helping them meet buyers where they are in their journey and be attentive to their preferences. In prioritizing customer centricity, sales enablement will elevate its strategic business impact.
Customer-Centricity at Enablement’s Core
The Sales Enablement Analytics 2019 report found that the top three metrics that sales enablement practitioners track in relation to sales performance are total revenue, year-over-year revenue growth, and sales rep quota attainment, with more than half measuring each.
While some practitioners measure customer-centric metrics such as percentage of revenue from existing customers, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), these were less common. The percentage of revenue from existing customers is tracked by 40%, NPS by 32%, and CAC by 16%.
The fact that these metrics are less commonly tracked demonstrates that many companies are still struggling to modernize their sales processes and become more customer-centric.
“Some of these [performance] metrics are more historic,” said Nicole O’Brien, director of marketing at Tycko & Zavareei LLP. “The top metrics are the things you have to show your CEO all the time and those won’t change, but we need to start measuring more customer-centric metrics.”
For the most part, businesses are self-aware of their need for improvement in this area. Only 9% of B2B organizations report that they are optimized in taking customer-centric approaches. With this huge potential for improvement, customer-centricity is one of the key areas where sales enablement is positioned to affect positive change for the business.
As a business function that focuses on improving the performance, proficiency, and productivity of customer-facing roles, sales enablement is well-equipped to instill behaviors in the organization focused on enhancing the customer experience. By tracking customer centricity, sales enablement can pinpoint weak areas, processes, and behaviors hindering a company’s ability to provide value to customers. Then, practitioners can design programs specifically targeting improvement in those areas.
“If we can enable our salespeople to have the right conversations, then I think we are a long way there on the journey [toward customer centricity],” said Nicola Bain, global sales enablement director at InfoVista.
The Impact of Tenure on Customer-Centricity
The notion that customer-centricity is at the core of sales enablement’s responsibilities is further supported by the fact that the more tenured sales enablement is at an organization, the higher the likelihood that sales enablement tracks more customer-centric metrics for sales performance. For example, these more tenured companies — where sales enablement has been in place for more than two years — track revenue from existing customers 13 points more and Net Promoter Score (NPS) 10 points more than less tenured organizations.
This indicates that as sales enablement becomes more established in organizations, customer satisfaction and retention are more widely recognized as critical success metrics. For sales enablement to deepen its impact on the customer experience — regardless of the tenure of the function — practitioners need to demonstrate value beyond just the initial sale.
Customer-Centricity Beyond the First Sale
Engaging customers in the first sale and bringing them in the door is just the first stepping stone in ensuring positive customer experiences. And the impact of proving value beyond that first step cannot be overstated. For example, the costs of customer churn can be extreme, as companies face anywhere from five to 25 times the cost of retaining a customer to acquire a new one. On the other hand, customer retention has major financial benefits — when it is increased by 5%, profit can increase by more than 25%.
After that first touchpoint, post-sales teams are responsible for maintaining customer satisfaction and keeping them engaged. While sales enablement is often thought of through a pre-sales lens, it is critical to recognize the importance of sales enablement for post-sales to build strong, long-term customer relationships. As such, sales enablement needs to track customer-centricity across the entire customer journey, including the post-sales experience.
“We need the account management, our customer success team, to really be engaged to keep the customer and ideally find growth opportunities,” said Emily Garza, director of account management at Fastly. “As [sales enablement] becomes a lot more critical to consumer engagement and growth with the customer, focusing on enabling [post-sales] teams becomes extremely critical for a sales enablement function as well.”
In fact, many of the customer-centric metrics that sales enablement tracks are related to the holistic buyer experience across all customer-facing roles. In addition to these metrics — lifetime value, NPS, and percentage of revenue from existing customers — sales enablement can also measure things like customer satisfaction at various points in their tenure, product satisfaction, and customer satisfaction on a per-contact basis to gain a full picture of the success of customer-centricity efforts.
Increased customer-centricity is one of the core values that sales enablement can bring to the business. With the potential to improve sales performance from the very first customer touchpoint to long-term retention, customer-centricity is an area that offers sales enablement the opportunity to elevate its strategic impact.
By prioritizing and tracking more customer-centric metrics, sales enablement can identify gaps and better equip the entire organization to provide exceptional customer experiences. Ultimately, when customer-centricity thrives, companies are set up to win more, grow faster, and maintain success long-term.
To learn more about the value of customer-centricity and other sales performance metrics, download the Sales Enablement Analytics 2019 report.