Sales Enablement PRO Awards 2022: Quantifying Enablement Impact Through Key Metrics

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Congratulations to Sales Enablement PRO Award winner Kristen McCrae McMullan from AWS. Learn more about the Sales Performance award winning initiative below.

Sydney Lee: I’m excited to announce the winner of the 2022 Sales Enablement PRO Member Award for Business Impact on Sales Performance. Congratulations to Kristen McCrae McMullan, Global Enablement Senior Manager at AWS. I’m excited to be here with Kristen today as she shares how she uses metrics to quantify the impact of enablement and show the value it brings to an organization ultimately elevating the profession. Kristen, I’d love for you to introduce yourself, your role and your organization.

Kristen McCrae McMullan: Great. Well, thank you so much. I’m just flattered and humbled to receive this beautiful award, and I, actually, I am a former journalist turned salesperson turned Sales Enablement. I’ve been in the Sales Enablement arena for the last probably seven or eight years at various different companies from startups to large organizations. And at AWS, I’ve had the honor to lead the global sales onboarding programs and most recently move over to the Pro Surf side of the business, which is our external facing consultants that help our customers achieve their business outcomes. And I lead a team of Sales Enablement and readiness professionals to develop enablement programs for our Pro Surf consultants.

SL: Absolutely. And again, thank you so much for being here today, and so I’d love to get started on the topic of the impact of your efforts at your organization. So to start off, how do you structure your enablement team to set up your organization to drive sales performance?

KMM: That’s a great question. And I think one I’ve always asked myself in any enablement role. I think the biggest thing I could share kind of from my own learnings are what are the business objectives? What are the things that your company is trying to achieve? What are those things that are shared in the board meetings in the external facing materials? What are those business KPIs for 2022 and aligning your team to those KPIs? How can enablement drive those? How can enablement contribute to those and be a part of it? And then working backwards from that to say okay, with my team, how can I structure it to help achieve those goals? So I think historically that’s always how I kind of looked at it is then making sure that my team and those skills and those strengths can align to work on specific initiatives aligned to that.

SL: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. And I’d also love to know what initiative was most impactful to achieving optimal sales performance and how is the supported organizational buy-in and the credibility of enablement at AWS or any other organization you have worked for?

KMM: Another great question. I think one of my personal favorites that I’ve worked on was a coaching program, and ultimately, we had business KPIs we were looking to achieve at the organization, right? And from that, what I did is interview sales leaders and ask them about their needs, ask them about how often they coach, ask them about conversation quality, technical proficiency, how well do your sellers know your products and services, and what they thought were the biggest gaps contributing to performance. And then I actually also interviewed sellers and got some really good data around that as well. And from there, when I noticed that coaching was by far one of kind of the lowest items that managers were able to spend their time on work backwards on initiative where we were able to increase coaching from 5% to 40%. From there, you saw a really amazing impact on revenue. And then from there, actually implement a conversation quality intelligence platform and then a conversation quality intelligence framework. So there was a lot of building that happened on top of that and with those initiatives, with those technologies actually saw an additional increase in revenue. So I think it’s just a good example of what does the business need? How can my team or myself play a part in that? And then what programs or initiatives can we have before and after tracked impact to align to those business goals?

SL: Absolutely. I love that. And I’d also love to know what was the biggest challenge that you or your team faced and how did you overcome it?

KMM: I think specifically when it comes to business impact and quantifying it, first and foremost, it’s quantifying it, allocating the tools and resources and capacity to do it. And it’s such a challenge no matter what company you work at. But advocating for that. escalating that, making sure that’s top of mind for your leadership to know you’re going to need that capacity is really important. I think the second piece and this is something that I’ve really learned in my career of enablement because I would stand up there and I’d share a coaching initiative, and I’d say, hey, I think that enablement really helped drive X amount of business impact. And sales leaders would say, how do you really know that? Right? And there would be that challenge, so what I learned was to use micro KPIs. So, for example, in the coaching initiative, what we were able to say was enablement helped – drove the 5 to 40% increase in coaching and that increase led to X amount of business revenue. Right? So, I’m not saying I drove business revenue. I’m saying I drove a coaching program that drove business revenue and that micro KPI of the coaching program was really where that credibility happens. So I try to look at that in any enablement initiative. My team, my peers, right? It’s what did enablement really help drive and what did that do ultimately?

SL: Now, I want to move into the second topic of how enablement delivers programs that drive business impact. So first, I’d like to learn more about your best practice of using micro KPIs to quantify the impact of your enablement efforts on sales teams. So, what are these micro KPIs and how have you use them to measure the effectiveness and success in the enablement roles you’ve held?

KMM: Sure. So, it’s all about what can you and enablement credibly say you moved the needle on. So per that earlier question, right? Revenue, that’s a little tricky to prove. Working backwards from those business KPIs, maybe there’s a goal of increased partners involved in deals. Maybe there’s a goal of increased revenue by X percent, whatever those goals are working backwards from those to develop initiatives and say what in these initiatives, in enablement, can I prove that as enablement, I really drove? So, if it’s an amount of content that was viewed by top performers, did they view and analyze and look at content? Did they attend a training? Did they complete a follow up exercise or get involved in an enablement initiative some other way? Did they implement an enablement initiative? Maybe you use something like LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Can you show who is using it? Coaching increase. You have to be creative, but in everything we do, you can show a before and after, right? And it’s just being thoughtful of what is that before and after going to be? Do I think that’s really going to align to a business outcome, if not what is? And then really quantifying that and sharing with your sales leadership, hey, here’s what we were able to drive. We saw an increase of LinkedIn Sales Navigator usage of 20%. We saw that that increased revenue. Those people that used it, their revenue was up by five percent, which would give us credit for maybe even one percent of that five percent? What do you think? And that’s how you start to get that seat at the table, start to quantify your impact, and you want to take a tally of that, make a list of that so that you can really show the impact that you’re enablement team is driving throughout the year.

SL: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. And you talked a little bit about alignment, but I’d also love to know how do you align with sales leaders to maximize sales performance for business impact?

KMM: Yes, this is something I’m really passionate about, and I’m a former sales leader myself, and I think it just comes back to being authentic. In enablement, we are problem solvers and we love, we genuinely love to help, sit down with that sales leader, develop a relationship with them. What do they care about? Why are they excited to lead their team? What gets in the way? What keeps them up at night? Be authentic around listening to that and follow up with them. Keep them engaged. It’s not just a one and done. Keep them engaged. Keep them involved. Make sure that they get recognition for the efforts that they’re going to play in these initiatives and ask them for candid feedback. Say, hey, how did that really land? Was that any good? It’s okay if not. It’s just as important to me to know what the response really was from your team so that we can make it even better next time. So it’s just a critical piece of this puzzle to have that relationship in that buy-in. And I do think it comes back to that authentic empathy and care. And even if we don’t understand what it’s like to be in their roles, seeking to understand that and seeking to understand how we can help.

SL: Absolutely, I love that, and how has improving sales performance positively impacted organizational objectives?

KMM: It just aligns so closely, right? When you are able to show an impact on the organization, you see such a change in the way enablement is viewed. You see a change in the headcount enablement obtains. You see a change in the meetings enablement is involved in. It just totally shifts the needle and people start to really pull you into opportunities to drive business impact. And in that case to be made that we talked about earlier that can be so challenging becomes not as challenging anymore. And I’m so fortunate I’ve learned so much from all the amazing leaders I’ve worked for, and it’s really exciting to see that evolution from a lot of enablement effort to that impact. You have to be patient. It happens over time. But taking the time to quantify the impact, taking the time to have monthly business reviews, to share that impact, to gain some alignment on what it actually was will eventually lead to that success.

SL: Now I want to move into this final topic of key considerations for enablement impact in 2022. So to start off, what was your biggest learning in your enablement journey and how will it impact your efforts in 2022?

KMM: I think it’s two things. First, always make the time for it. I will tell you it’s really difficult, the tools, the resources, but make the time for it because otherwise, why are we doing what we do? It’s all about having an impact and being able to kind of prove that right to really show that there was an impact. So no matter what you do, ruthlessly prioritize to make sure you have the capacity or the support needed to do that because I can. I’m the first to say there’s been roles I’ve been in where there’s so much going on that you kind of forget that piece. It’s so important. And I think the second piece is again, just set up some sort of recurring cadence to share what you and your team have done to share the before and after results and to sit down with your stakeholders and say, What do you credibly think we contributed to this initiative? Because the more you open that door, the more you will be able to really understand how the business thinks you’re quantifying your impact, how the business thinks you’re contributing, and how you can more effectively do that in the future and play a strategic role in the organization. So just a few tips that I’m incorporating myself into 2022.

SL: Now that 2022 is in full swing. How are you planning for the upcoming year as we continue to face a mixture of virtual, in-person and hybrid work environments?

KMM: Such another good question. And there’s so much going on in the world, and I’m just thinking of everyone. I think first and foremost, I think enablement plays a role in employee engagement. Life is short and in anything that we roll out this year, let’s make it fun, inspirational. Let’s take a step back from kind of the business piece, and let’s just talk about being human beings and motivation. So, I think that’s one piece that we’re incorporating is if it’s virtual, how can we make it impactful? How can we create experiences of belonging and connection in a world where we need that so much right now? And I think the second piece is just keeping it inclusive. We are still very much a virtual environment, and I think it’s going to be up to everyone’s preference how they feel going in person or not. But for us, I think what it’s led to and I’ve seen this at AWS quite a bit is, if we’re going to have a virtual experience we’ve got to have raised the bar in it. So, a lot of interactive learning, a lot of peer-to-peer discussion, a lot of role plays and practice. And let’s actually incorporate a customer scenario in here. Let’s have the team run it and let’s debrief it, no matter what the experience is. If it’s going to be virtual, make it engaging, make it meaningful and create opportunities for people first and foremost to connect and then learn and practice are some of the things that we’re thinking about this year.

SL: Absolutely. I love that. And that’s all the questions we have for today. Thank you so much, Kristen, for joining us and for sharing your expertise and congratulations again for being our 2022 Sales Enablement PRO Member Award Winner.

KMM: Thank you so much. I’m so excited and so appreciate it.

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