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Sales Enablement Grows Up. But Is It Fast Enough?

| 5 min read


When children grow up, not all parts of the body grow at the same time or at the same rate. Imagine children who grow fast in a very short amount of time, then their growth slows a bit, as the body needs rest to catch up and adjust to the new normal. It’s the same with animals. And with sales enablement.

If we look at the percentage of organizations that reported having a sales enablement person, team, or function, we can observe a similar phenomenon. In 2013, less than one-fifth of organizations (19%) had sales enablement. It was one-third in 2016, already 59% in 2017, and then 61% in 2018. That means we experienced rapid growth, especially between 2016 and 2017. In 2018, sales enablement switched over to slower overall growth, with more focus on maturation.

Having an effective enablement function leads to two-digit improvements in quota attainment and win rates compared to organizations without enablement.

The data from CSO Insights’ 4th Annual Sales Enablement Study speaks for itself. Organizations with sales enablement improved their win rates by 22.7% and their quota attainment rates by 14.5%. However, the question is: Do all organizations with sales enablement achieve the same results compared to those without? You might know the answer already: no, they don’t. CSO Insights looked one level deeper and asked the organizations with sales enablement if and how they met their stakeholders’ expectations. And that leads to a more detailed understanding of the current state of sales enablement.

Only one-third of organizations with sales enablement met or exceeded their stakeholders’ expectations and significantly improved their performance. Nearly two-thirds invest in sales enablement but do not see a significant return on their investment.

The good news is that more than 90% of organizations experienced improvements of some kind, and organizations that only achieved a few of their expectations decreased from 8.0% in 2017 to 1.7% in 2018. However, only 34.4% of organizations met or exceeded all of their stakeholders’ expectations and achieved significant performance improvements. And 61.2% met only some expectations and didn’t achieve significant improvements; instead, their performance results were only slightly better than average.

That means that almost two-thirds of organizations invest in sales enablement but don’t see the expected performance improvements. That’s about the same number observed the year before, which is why CSO Insights named its 2018 study “Sales Enablement Grows Up. But Not Fast Enough.”

What can practitioners learn from the successful one-third of organizations? Join us at the Sales Enablement Soiree, Europe on May 22 at 1 p.m. for a session on the five critical factors the successful one-third practice, focus on, and master.

#1: Sponsor, strategy, and charter:

Learn why executive sponsors, a tailored strategy and a sales enablement charter are the foundation of any sales enablement success. Only 9.2% of organizations get this right, but they improve their win rates by 19.2%. It’s a no-brainer, and the session will show you how to get there.

#2: Customers are your primary design point:

Learn why your primary design point for all sales enablement efforts should be the customer’s path. Only 20.7% of organizations align their processes dynamically to the customer’s path, but they drive their quota attainment by 8.9%.

#3: Customer engagement set up the right way:

Learn why tailoring your content and value messaging to buyer roles, and the different phases of the customer’s path are crucial to driving customer engagement. Only one-quarter of organizations get this right, but they improve their win rates by 11.5%

#4: Sales coaching matters most:

Learn why sales coaching is year after year the most effective enablement service. Forty percent of organizations leverage the potential of sales coaching and can improve their win rates by up to 16.6%.

#5: Technology enables sales enablement:

Learn why integration matters, why the CRM should be the anchor of all your enablement technologies to ensure a one-stop-shopping experience for salespeople. Not so many organizations get this right, but they set a foundation for 8.5% better win rates.

As can be observed just from these breadcrumbs here, there is so much potential in sales enablement, but at the moment, not so many organizations leverage that potential.

Curious to learn more about how to evolve your sales enablement practice into the successful one-third?

Join us on May 22 in London, at the Sales Enablement Soiree, Europe. We look forward to seeing you there!