Measuring Sales Enablement: What Does it Mean in 2020? – Sales Enablement Soirée, Spring 2020
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Keynote – Enablement Across Revenue Engine
Shawnna Sumaoang: Welcome to today’s session on Measuring Sales Enablement and what it means in 2020 today, sales enablement practitioners are looking for ways not only to survive, but to thrive in today’s current climate. They need to know though what to measure in order to represent their business impact, both during a crisis and long term.
Today. I’m excited to have Peter Ostrow from Sirius Decisions join us to lend his expertise. Peter, with that, I’m going to hand it off to you.
Peter Ostrow: Thank you, Shawnna, and it is good to virtually be here with everybody. Let’s think about what happens in a sales enablement environment. Typically it’s going to look something like this, right?
You’re in a training environment or some sort of a communications or planning type of discussion, and let’s think about some of the activities that happen throughout the entire cadence of a sales enablement experience. In your minds, I want you to stop and virtually raise your hand when you think I get to the right moment in this cadence.
When sales enablement and its capabilities to properly be measured actually occur. So there’s four choices. A, is it when I have done a lot of work, I’ve run a lot of courses I’ve created and stored a lot of assets. Is it B? When the people who are selling for our organization are certified and appropriately competent by designation at all the skills and knowledge and processes that they need to be good at to do their jobs.
Or is it C, has sales enablement done its job really well when the company makes its number for the year? Or is it D, when the stock price at the end of the year has gone up so far that everybody has made more money and that’s when sales enablement has done its job super well. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that B, it’s when your salespeople are properly certified and capable of doing their jobs really, really well is the most accurate depiction of how and when to measure sales enablement contribution to the larger B2B sales organization.
Let’s look at this through another lens and we’ll talk a little bit here about cause and effect. One of the easiest things to understand about cause and effect is the very nature of the simplest thing in physics. Gravity. There’s only one reason Newton discovered why an apple falls from a tree. I mean, maybe it’s ripe, maybe the sun comes out of the clouds, but come on guys is just one reason gravity. On the other end of the extreme scale. If you ever heard of the butterfly effect, you know how that goes, right? When there’s a butterfly in the Amazon and it flaps its wings and suddenly three days later there’s a tornado in Texas and some scientists and prognosticators have tried to link these two events together.
Our discussion today is about where between these two extremes, one very obvious cause and effect, and one that’s probably a little bit of a stretch to put together, are actually the right way to look at sales enablement. So our job today is to figure out what are the best ways to figure out if you as sales enablers are doing your job well. And I remind you, this isn’t about how you’re compensated.
Most likely, if you’re watching this and you’re joining the Soiree today, you’re compensated on the lagging indicators such as, did we make our number for the year, or did the stock price go up? And that’s perfectly fine from the perspective of how you’re compensated. And in fact, most sales universe and solar system components: operations and enablement, training, development, they’re compensated this way.
But measuring sales enablement is more about figuring out the right relationship between the cause and the effect, what you do and the measurable outcomes behind it. So when we talk about why this is so important, there’s four major reasons.
Number one. We want sales enablement to be accountable, to make sure that everybody understands throughout the organization that your organization, whether it reports up to marketing or sales, or the executive leadership of the company, is in fact doing something that it’s been designed and devised and publicly acknowledged it’s responsible for getting done.
The next is about allocation. How do you know where and how to spend your dollars on a quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year basis if you don’t know where your work is doing well? And where it’s not. What about improvement? We all want to continuously improve. That’s gotta be the mantra, especially in this day and age. In order to understand where we’re going, we have to have a better clear read on where we’ve been and the success of our sales enablement initiatives.
And then finally, there’s prioritization. Everybody throws everything at sales enablement all day long, right? Can you guys do this, that, the other? And here at Sirius Decisions, our customers are encouraged to design and publish charters that describe exactly what we will and won’t do for a sales enablement contribution to the organization.
People like to throw a lot of other stuff at us. So what should we be working on and how can we get it all done, are germane to a lot of the conversations we have with sales enablement leaders about figuring out the most important roles and responsibilities that they should take on.
Now, a few times during the discussion today, we’re going to see this little visual here. WIM is what it means. And the visual next to the letters is a little representation of what we’re all going through all around the planet right now. We all recognize that we’re here at the Soiree in a virtual environment, but the need to learn and the need to improve never ends.
So while we are all very legitimately consumed with what’s going on around us in our personal and professional lives right now, we want to make sure that today’s lessons are also seen, on occasion, through the lens of what it means during the large global socioeconomic crisis. So in terms of the accountability, allocation, improvement and prioritization pieces right now, they may fall a little bit lower on the overall needs for the executives in your organization and that’s perfectly fine.
What can we do to help? Right now. It’s no different from folks who are sewing masks, looking for equipment and staying in doors to help one another. So the context of our professional world as sales enablers, what it means and why we measure sales enablement might be a little different for a while until we all come out of this together.
So let’s move on and start with two what we consider non-negotiable truths. As an analyst, I’m drawing two big lines in the sand and you can’t stop me. Line number one is this, sales enablement should not be measured at the functional level, but through the lens of all the different initiatives that it’s responsible for.
How come? Because sales enablement means something different to every single company out there. Fast fact, at SiriusDecisions of all of our sales enablement customers, fewer than half of them actually have the word enablement in their title, and enablement is always geared towards the content or the assets or the throughput or the communications or the sales kickoff or this or that, or the other.
And to measure a sales enablement organization at a functional level means that you’re comparing apples with oranges or perhaps apples with butterflies. The second negotiable truth or non negotiable truth is about how sales enablement should be measured only by the indicators that you guys as sales enablers can have a strong or full influence over.
I talked earlier about the lagging indicators of the stock price or the year end numbers. Did we make our number? Were we profitable? But there’s so many inputs into those lagging indicators that come from other parts of the organization, like sales ops and product marketing, and the portfolio folks. That we believe very strongly that sales enablement should be held accountable, not compensated, but MBO’d, by the leading and lagging and learning indicators that you guys can actually control.
Now there’s a, what it means on top of this, because right now sales enablement might need to do something else. Within Forester and SiriusDecisions’ public facing libraries, we’ve been publishing a ton of content, blogs, free resources, et cetera, to help sales, marketing, product, customer success, and IT leaders understand right now. What do I do for the next 90 days? And what is the world gonna look like after that?
And so while I still believe that these are non negotiable truths for sales enablement leaders, we still need to recognize that right now our executives might need us to be measured by something else. How many trainings did we accomplish? How many folks were we able to certify during the downtime when selling to our buyers was inappropriate? Lots of other different ways of looking at it right now. But it will come back and evolve to these particular two non-negotiable truths. And these truths inform most of what we’re going to show to you today, which is the sales enablement measurement model from our folks here at SiriusDecisions.
So let’s get started on this. I spoke earlier about the first truth being that sales enablement needs to be measured not at a functional level, but in the context of the different initiatives that it tends to embrace. At SiriusDecisions, we think about sales enablement through three major buckets.
First, there’s the sales talent management piece, which breaks down into attracting, onboarding, and then optimizing your great sales talent. Number two is sales asset management, and number three is sales communications management. Most of what you guys do: Training, development, coaching, communications, newsletter, kickoff, assets, content distribution, tracking, most of these things, throw in some of your oddballs like gamification or social selling. Most of them fall into one of these five buckets, and we’re adding actually for 2020 a fourth major bucket: sales methodologies.
So we believe that you have to think about the objective of your different initiatives. And measure those specific initiatives for success. Here is how you’re going to do it. So here we’re going to reveal, in fourths, our sales enablement measurement model. We think about the talent, assets, and communications as your different types of initiatives. And then we’re going to look at a cadence of four different ways of thinking about measuring sales enablement.
It starts with activity. Did we do the work? Now we are suggesting to no one that you be held accountable for how many trainings, how many courses, how many logins, how many minutes spent engaging with your training, how many assets were sent, how many assets were consumed. How many is nothing but checking off of the boxes.
But it is vital that you keep account of how much work you do. How come? We see a lot of organizations who are in a very high growth mode most of the time, and those organizations often will love a lot of extra work onto sales enablement without providing them with extra resources. So for example, organizations that may have two full time onboarders within the sales enablement team, well, they might onboard an average of 10 to 15 reps every quarter, but then suddenly they buy another company and that number is 40, but they have no more resources.
The end of the year, if those people are still employed and they haven’t quit, you’ve probably done a pretty good job in your sales onboarding initiative just based on the activity alone. But again, activity is never the goal. It’s just the first step in this four step process. We then begin with the first of two what we call output metrics, and this is quality.
Did our customer like what we did for them? In this case, our customers, of course, your internal sellers and any other personas who touch your customers, your external customers, who are your internal enablees, as it were. So activity. Did we do the work in a specific initiative? And then did they like what we did for them?
That’s easy to find out. You can do surveys, you can have internal sales advisory boards. A corollary to the external sales advisory board, you talk to managers, you could even talk to external customers. Is our onboarding, is our asset management, is our communications initiative becoming something that’s known as effective because people like what we’re doing for them. And then we move on to the second output metric, and that is adoption.
Again, adoption is never the goal. No one should ever get promoted because lots of people started using the new technology that we bought for them. That’s a leading indicator that they like it and sales teams are legitimately and appropriately considered fairly impatient when it comes to rolling something out.
But think more about this in this way. When you think about the fabric, the daily DNA of your seller’s lives, are they using the training and the language that you provided to them? Are they accessing the assets in the new centralized location or repository where they exist? Are they using the tools that you’ve given them to become more proficient and more effective at their jobs?
And if so, you get to move on to the end and bottom part of our model, which is the fourth, in fact, impact. Now, I spoke earlier about you’re leading, you’re learning, and you’re lagging indicators, right? And we said lagging indicators are, they’re impacted by way too many other parts of the organization.
They’re impacted by sales operations. They’re impacted by the folks in portfolio marketing. They’re impacted by financial things that are above all of our pay grades. If the company does a huge stock buyback or it goes public, there’s so many influences on the bottom line. Did we make our number? Did we make a profit? That sales enablement should not be directly attached from a sales, from an MBO perspective to those outcomes.
But what you can impact is the behavior and productivity of your sellers. If you want to think about a C-level executive and you want to impress someone with the work that you’ve done, there’s no better person than the CFO. Right? Your classic grumpy CFO. What’s the ROI on everything that we did for them?
Well, if you go to your CFO and you say, “You know what? We executed on a sales asset management initiative this year, and we know as a fact that we gave each of our 1000 sellers back 1.2 hours more per week to sell. Instead of looking for stuff.” The CFO’s going to be like, “Wow, that’s a very big number.” So lop a couple of zeros off the number and they’re still going to be like, “Wow, you guys actually contributed $1.3 million of productivity to our organization. Nicely done,” says the CFO.
Or let’s say you guys, or your organization is, and hopefully will again be soon in a high growth mode and you’re hiring a lot of people. Well, we know from our research, it takes an average of three months to find and six months to train a typical B2B seller. We know that the cost of turnover for good or great sellers is a couple hundred thousand dollars all in, including loss of opportunity. So what if you could actually train your new sellers faster and get them to competence, by a defined set of criteria, faster than you used to. Then what you are doing is creating more sales productivity for the organization, less drag, and less friction.
Again, something that that grumpy CFO is going to smile at, which is our time to competence, our time to capability. Our time to first deal even. It’s not really a very good metric, but one of those time-to metrics, it’s improving. Nice job sales enablement. So what we’ve tried to do here is point out how activity, quality, adoption, and impact create this sales enablement measurement model.
Think of it this way. Did we do the work? Did they like the work? Are they using what we gave them? And can we show that productivity and behavior have changed positively amongst our salespeople or other enablees? In a way that impacts the organization positively. So we’re going to break these down in a little bit more detail for you.
Let’s talk about activity. The question that you want to basically answer is “What did we do to support sales? “And as we said earlier, it’s not just about tracking that for its own sake, but to make sure that you can set targets for how much and meet or beat those targets. Rule of thumb, keep expectations low and overdeliver, just like we do with our external customers.
Next, we have the first of these two output metrics quality. Did they like what we did for them? We do all sorts of customer feedback surveys outside the organization. We look for great NPS scores. We have customer advisory boards. We have internal customers too guys.
We need to have a sales advisory board that tells us, do you like what we’re doing for you? You can quantify qualitative information. You can put a number on emotion. I know I sound a little bit like Mr Spock here, but you can. You can do a survey on a scale of one to five, how did you feel from bad to great about our recent onboarding or product training?
You get enough of that data and you can actually quantify how people feel about the work that you’re doing for you and if you’re improving those numbers over time, sales enablement is doing a great job. The third of these four is the second output metric, and this is adoption. Never a goal unto itself, but a great signal, a great way of understanding that the folks that you have given support to are using what you’ve done for them.
I had a client last week who said, I don’t understand it. What did they say? They said, all of our salespeople are asking for training. We’re giving them all sorts of training, but none of them are using the training that we’re doing for them. How could I make them do the training that we’re doing for them?
And we sort of said, “look, you pay us to be honest with you, there’s something wrong. It’s either the content, the delivery, or the cadence with which you’re doing it. Just cause they want it and you’re doing it doesn’t mean you’re actually doing it right. Have you asked them what they think of your training?”
Maybe we should do that. So ask your customers if they like what you’re doing for them. And then finally, guys, impact. What is the result in terms of people’s productivity? Their efficiency, their time utilization especially, and their behavioral change? Right now in a crisis, people are selling very differently, if they are selling, then they were just a couple of months ago. And that’s okay, but it means there are new competencies to measure. There are behavioral changes. Just as we’re learning how to sell virtually and live in camera land, we also have behavioral changes required. Sometimes they’re pretty substantial.
Did an interview earlier today with a publication that wants to know how do folks who have done most of their jobs at trade shows and out in the field in person. Adapt to an at home environment with our zoom backgrounds and everything else behind us. Those are different competencies. So changes in behavior, even in the short term, represent something that sales enablement can have a severe and significant impact on.
What I’d like to do now is just very quickly run through the five major components of sales enablement that we defined earlier. The three for sales talent management, sales asset management, and then sales communications management. And you guys can see on the screen all the different samples for activity, quality, adoption, and impact that we recommend organizations consider when measuring how well sales enablement is doing their job. But what you’re going to find is I actually ended up managing to sneak in here a couple of lagging indicators after all. You will see the words quota. You will see the words revenue in there. So are we being disingenuous? No, we’re keeping expectations low and over-achieving.
So hiring new sales talent, right now, that’s limited to a few specific sectors. If you sell to an industry that is in this business, the telecom business, you’re still selling quite a lot. But more importantly, we may need to hire and rehire different types of folks to different competency levels when we come out of this, for those of us organizations who have slowed or plan to slow down on our sales hiring. But most of you are in organizations that before and after this crisis you are actually hiring people on some sort of a regular cadence cause you’re in a growth mode or you want to be in a growth mode. So you can measure the activity by how much are we doing in terms of getting folks into our funnel and nurturing those leads down the sales recruitment pipeline, but for enablement with organizations that are not used to helping with talent acquisition support this is the best possible time to do it. Yeah, it’s HR’s job, it’s the talent acquisitions team to post the ads and to create the listings and to do the interviewing and to do the testing and reference checking, of course not. But enablement has the opportunity to help figure out what are the new competencies. What does the new good look like for the people we’re going to hire for the next 24 to 48 months, and to use those competencies to figure out how much work are we doing to redefine the competencies.
What is the quality of this work? When we run it up against the opinions of some of our long term sellers and their managers and the folks we interlock with and HR, are these competencies being utilized by managers who are doing some hiring and by HR who wants to up their own game in terms of competency development? Because it’s not a job description. It’s a “what good looks like” map for the organization as a whole.
And then finally impact. Increase in percentage of hires achieving year one quota. There’s the quota word. There’s the actual lagging indicator. And yes, enablement can be held accountable for trying to increase the percentage of new hires that hit their year one quota. Why? Because hiring people that succeed more often should be in the remit of the company and in the remit of sales enablement if it needs to or wants to be involved in understanding “what good looks like” for each of the roles that you also hire for. New hire retention, maybe not that much of an issue in an economy that we’re probably heading into, but long term, yeah, it’s been a very tough market to find great salespeople in.
So these are ways in terms of how sales enablement can support hiring even in the new normal. And the idea of what it means in the new normal is that hiring is going to look very different. The competencies are going to change. You have some folks that need to have more capabilities for working here behind the camera.
You may have some folks who need to polish up on their writing and listening (two my ears, one mouth) skills but when we get back out into the field, of course there’s going to be different sorts of competencies. So what it means in terms of supporting sales hiring is recognizing where those fewer deficits exist right now and trying to support them.
Next, we have sales onboarding, after we’ve gotten them on board, and I don’t know about you guys, but here at Forrester, we’ve already had one full class of virtual sales onboarding. Many of our customers have. Now while the quantity may be a little lower for some of us for a while, onboarding is all about making sure that folks who have gotten through that first gate, they’re eligible to be hired and successfully so; get through that next gate. Which means that they are eligible to move into the field or into their role and interact with customers around those same sets of competencies. So you can measure how much onboarding you deliver. You can survey whether or not you’re onboard these, your learners, like what you’re doing for them, because you ought to do that.
You can certainly try to understand to what extent these folks are utilizing what they’ve learned in onboarding and making sure that you’re not teaching them things that they don’t need right away. In their field activities. And then when it comes to impact, my favorite metric of all, time to competence, I mentioned it earlier, how long does it take our new hires to get to a very well-defined point.
Whether it’s defined informally by their direct manager or very formally by passing enough tests and getting the official badges and certifications that say they are ready for action. Just like the Boy Scout in our opening slide. In any way, shape and form measuring sales onboarding means measuring how long or how much less long it takes until folks are great at their jobs.
I think you guys can probably understand why, how that’s so important, especially in a time like this and remember getting really good at the time in your job is actually pretty closely related to the next piece, which is about ongoing learning and development. Now, what it means for onboarding in a time of crisis is obviously probably a smaller amount of activity, which means you want to be able to use the scale afforded by some of the technology platforms available.
So look into video coaching, role play, and things of that nature, and obviously less in-person or no in-person onboarding. But it’s not that hard. There’s tons of case studies out there from us and other sources that can teach you how to do it.
So our third priority, ongoing learning and development. So in any economy, there’s always new stuff being thrown at the sales team. You need to learn this new product, this new buyer persona, this new go to market, this new pricing, this new bundle. And a lot of organizations just try to show up and throw up when it comes to, as soon as our new products are ready, we’re going to throw them at the salespeople come heck or high water.
Well, that doesn’t work. A properly cadenced year long calendar that says, here is the open slots where we’re going to provide product launches, or new skills, or even to take that annoying governance demanded HR testing that we all have to take. Those are things that organizations need to think about when building out their ongoing learning and development cadence.
From a measurement perspective, again, you can look at how much we do. Whether the folks who are doing it with us, like what we’re doing for them, you can look at the adoption, whether they’re using the new terminology and the new messaging that we’ve created for them. And again, the impact, this is where I’ve been able to sneak in that great lagging indicator of quota, right?
Because (there’s thunder behind me right now. I don’t know if you guys can hear it.) one of the opportunities to do this with the impact of ongoing learning and development is, yeah, you can actually look at that lagging indicator of, did we make our number or did they make their number? How can you do that?
Pretty scientific A/B testing. You can look at all the folks in your organization who did, let’s say 50% or more of your product trainings during the year, or your product and skill trainings during the year and look at how they performed at the end of the year. You take everybody who did 49% or less participation of your product and skills training. Are there some conclusions to draw about whether group eight performed better than group B? If so, that actually, yes, sales enablement had a wonderful and measurable impact on the lagging indicators of quota attainment. You can’t say that the company made its number because of sales enablement any more than you want to say the company didn’t make its number and it’s, we had nothing to do with it.
You want to be able to have causal, or at least corollary impact on the measurable outcomes. So if it’s about training and development, ongoing learning, you can look at what we did and how it impacted certain people and what we did and how other people who didn’t participate ended up with their results. I hope that makes sense for you guys.
What it means right now is a new style and a new type of training. It’s obviously gotta be virtual, but guys, let’s look on the bright side here. For those of us who are not going stir crazy, there’s a lot more opportunity for those of us who spent time traveling, commuting. Now, some of us have more time that we’re spending doing homeschooling, I recognize that. But this is a great opportunity to brush up on one’s skills and those skills are no more important now than identifying. With interlock, with your product and marketing folks, what’s the world going to look like 30 60 90 from now?
We can’t sell if we can’t sell our way out of this. SOW is a phrase I’ve been hearing. SOW, let’s SOW our way towards making whatever the new normal number is going to be. So the ongoing learning and development is a fantastic opportunity for enablement to chip in, figure out what the skill deficits are and try to fill those during whatever people have for downtime or make it on demand. And you can figure out who your great high potentials are because they’re going to gravitate towards the learning that you put out there.
Number four out of five sales asset management. We all recognize what this is and it’s an important focus of a lot of the conversations today with the other presentations at the Soiree. This is fairly easy to measure and the technology tools and platforms available to us make it relatively easy to find out how much we’re doing with sales asset management. Quality again, you can measure in terms of how much or how much less are some of our salespeople creating and using their own rogue and black market assets.
We know it’s SiriusDecisions that about 65% of the assets that B2B marketers create for their salespeople to use with their buyers are never used with their buyers. That’s a horrible number. Two thirds of the work is wasted. What if your number is like that number and you could chip away and bring that down to 55 or 45%. Imagine the cost savings.
Now again, sales enablement never invests in sales asset management initiatives or tech. To lower the cost per asset of creating content. But that’s actually a very CFO friendly type of metric. So at the end of the day, the impact here, as you can see, we’ve got cost per asset going down, better correlation between the content that we use and the outcomes of our deals.
Hint, only 40% of B2B companies make that connection. If you’re not doing it, you should. And there’s lots of great literature in our hands and in the hands of the folks who are participating today to help you draw that vital connection. What it means today is understanding which assets are effective for us has never been more important.
I don’t know about you guys, but from the day quarantine started, I’ve been getting emails every single day: “Buy some leads! We have leads! A thousand free leads! Here’s some opportunities for you.” Some of the emails begin with “hope you’re safe and okay”, but it’s a phony and disingenuous approach. I have no problem with people taking advantage of a situation to try to sell stuff, but come on. Is that the right way to do it?
So the assets that are being used in selling to me in this environment are frankly pretty tone deaf. So what it means now is that you need to look at all of your assets, be very careful about understanding what your reps are using out there, and do a little bit of an audit to make sure that what they’re using is appropriate and timely for where people are in their lives right now.
Finally, sales communications. This isn’t as often an important part of sales enablement organizations, but we define sales comms as governance. Sales enablement, serving as some sort of a circuit breaker, orchestrator, or filter in two different ways: delivery and advocacy.
Delivery is putting a control on all the stuff that’s coming to our salespeople in my inbox right now. Could be. Here’s something super important and timely, like we’ve changed the price on our product to accommodate the different buying climate. Or here is an invitation to a thinking session for next week where we want to get your ideas on this new way of going to market.
Or, Hey, do you want chicken, fish, or veg at the next company outing? And all of those are equal in my inbox. So we need to put a filter on what gets delivered to sellers, but we also need to use our ears and advocate for them. Find better ways to answer their questions. Find better ways to get their insight, especially from their customer touch, what it means world. And utilize sales communications in a way that we can measure them. Measure whether our communications are hitting their marks. Measure whether people are using the messaging that we’re providing to them. Is there an uptick in involvement from our seller advisory board?
We don’t have a seller advisory board? But you have a customer advisory board externally. You must need to have one internally for the same reason. If you’re like me and you believe sales enablements customers are your sellers, then you have no reason not to do that.
Finally, sales coms and what it means. World means empathy and understanding that your internal customers are in a very different place right now. You might have fantastic sellers who are struggling. You might have borderline sellers who might’ve been pretty close to a PIP who are thriving. Understanding what the needs of individuals are based on their role, based on their personal situation, and of course, as always, based on their past performance is important, but it’s important to segment those communications out for folks.
If you send big broadcast messages to everybody in the sales organization and it’s not relevant to some of the people because they don’t sell that product or they never were working in an office, they’ve always been a homeworker, your communications are gonna miss their Mark and your ability to have measurable impact will diminish.
So there you have it guys. We’ve tried to play out in terms of sales, talent, sales asset, and sales communications management, the major ways in which the sales enablement measurement model helps us work. And how do you know if you’re doing this well? What does it look like? There’s a few different views that you should consider when we think about the dashboard that you can build or buy to understand how well sales enablement is doing its job.
First of all, we have the functional view. This is fairly tactical and this really gets into the, are we doing the activity? Is it resonating? Are we getting that kind of feedback? You next have the view of sales leadership. These folks really just want to know which of my teams, which of my GOs, which of my roles are thriving with your support. And which ones need a little bit of help. And you also have finally, the executive level view. The CFO view, and I’ve talked about this repeatedly today on purpose because frankly, if your CFO doesn’t give anything about what you’ve done, then you need to think about whether you’re doing the right thing or whether you’re just not communicating at success appropriately.
What would the CFO do? WWTCFOD. That should be the phrase, right. If they would like to see a particular stat, and they have said, time management is crucial to me thinking your sales organization is being properly enabled, properly, operationally supported. Then great, look at time. If the amount of competency, if the average skill level, if quota attainment, yes, but that’s the lagging indicator that we can only have some corollary relationships with.
Measuring sales enablement in a time of socioeconomic crisis is another win. What it means at the moment. What it means right now is it might be very different for the short term. Maybe sales enablement just needs to set up a help desk, an answer line, a 24/7 or at least 56 hours per week (cause that’s the average number of hours reps work), availability to answer questions, to redirect, to find subject matter experts.
That’s best practice in what you can do in a crisis. And maybe just measuring not so much all the different initiatives, but right now, how much do you think anecdotally you’re helping people is the right way to do it within the context of a specific crisis.
Finally, before we wrap, let’s look at a couple of different examples of what we see in our research data to show what measuring sales enablement well looks like through the lens of a couple of the priorities that I’ve talked to you about today. First, we’re going to look at that not so often supported priority of talent acquisition support. And I know when I started in on that, some of you were probably like, we don’t get involved in sales hiring.
Well, maybe you should, and we’ve tried to articulate today some of the reasons why that might actually be relevant to you. What we see here is a variety of eight different metrics in, and in our survey work, we find that high performing organizations are a little bit more likely to measure all of these than the companies that are low performing organizations.
Now, just for definition sake, a high performing organization that’s a company where 80% or more of the reps hit their number last year if 79% or fewer of the reps at the number last year, they are a low performing organization. So some of these metrics, time to first deal onboarding completion, something as broad as two year turnover. Those sound like they’re a little hard to capture. But the lesson here is that high performing organizations put more emphasis on figuring out how well are we doing at hiring sales talent? The right people for the right competencies, and at the right type of cadence then companies that are not performing well.
The second one is about sales onboarding. That second leg of the sales talent life cycle tool. So here we have a data point, which is one of my favorite ones, and we recently updated it. We asked folks a simple question. In your enablement organization, how much field observation is required by managers or coaches of new reps until you’re sure and ready for them to go into the field?
And the answer, and you can see this at our SiriusPerspective at the top of the slide, is that these high performing organizations actually require 129% more field observations then low performing organizations. You can kind of see how the green is shaded over towards the right of the screen and the red towards the left of the screen representing the high and the low performing organizations and all the way on the right hand side of the screen check that out. A quarter of your best performing sales organizations require more than 20 observations. I probably should have worded this question differently because that number came out so large and only 1% of your low performing companies bothered to go that far with it.
Now, a field observation is not a meeting. You could have five or 10 field observations in a one on a two on one environment, right? Where a sales manager or coach or overlay accompanies, for the day or for a week, appointments with the new hire. But the whole idea here is more training is generally a good thing. We see that in our research in general, especially when it applies to onboarding.
So if you’re not measuring things like how many field observations do we require before we certify somebody who’s ready for duty, you’re not measuring right. And you’re not measuring enough.
Finally, measuring sales asset management. This is a pretty complex slide, so let’s walk through it. The green are your high performing organizations and the red are your low performing organizations.
We ask everybody. Not, are you high or low performing? We just ask what were your metrics for last year? And then we build out these classifications. But then we said of all these different eight metrics for sales asset management: yes or no, do you measure them? And as you can see across the board with an average of a 22% delta high performing organizations measure this stuff much more often than low performing organizations.
And finally, we group these eight metrics into a couple of different flavors, both the work that we’re doing and the results. So it’s both about the activities and the results. And when we talked earlier about the cadence, right? Did we do the work? Did they like the work? Are they using the work? And what impact does it have?
You actually see that we have a mix of both those early and late stage cadence items through our sales enablement measurement model shown here. So guys for the lesson for today is a number of different things. First of all, as we said, you have to measure sales enablement efforts at the programmatic or initiative level, not just “how did sales enablement do this year?”
An exception to that would be if sales enablement only runs the sales kickoff cause we have kickoff metrics. Or only if sales enablement handles just onboarding and nothing else, but that’s pretty rare. And if you’re joining us today, I’m thinking that’s just probably not the case. Number two, we’ve got our four different approaches.
Did we do the work? Did they like it? Are they using it? What’s the measurable impact on behavior change and on productivity? The gift of time. We all love that one. Number three, how much better sellers are our people today versus before we in enablement started to make them great at their jobs? We’re often conflated with sales operations and we offer both operational and enablement services here to sales leaders at our SiriusDecisions organization.
To us, operations is about efficiency and enablement is about effectiveness. One plus the other equals productivity. So are our people better at their jobs and are they having more time to do their job super well? If you can prove that your initiative had a total or primary impact on those outcomes, you guys are doing a good job.
Certification and competencies. A doctor, an attorney, a teacher. These people all have to take time away from the operating room, from the courtroom, from the classroom every year to make sure that they are appropriately certified by the state or the licensure organization to make sure that they are officially passing muster every single year at being good at their jobs.
Why don’t we do the same thing for the people who represent us to our customers. Think about competencies as the tie that binds all those elements of the sales talent life cycle together. Hiring, onboarding, and optimizing the people who represent us out in the marketplace and then formally certify them.
Remember the sash from the dude in the boy scout outfit? That’s what you want to look for. And then finally we want to look for changes that our sales enablement initiatives can have that are looking at the leading indicators, the things we do. The leaning indicators, the initial outcomes of those, and then occasionally in spot areas as we indicated, those lagging indicators.
Sales enablement did a lot of work this year and the team made its number, no. Sales enablement improved the percentage of sellers who are actually formally certified, who made their number for the year. Absolutely. That’s a much better way of thinking about it. So with these five lessons we close out our presentation for today.
We participate in all of these Sales Enablement Soirees, and I don’t think there could be a better opportunity than today to talk to you guys about how to measure whether or not you guys are doing your job well or not than in the current climate. What we hope to do is to tie this information into the way you folks are measured, not just in this quarter or in 2020, but on a multiyear basis, as you improve your abilities to up the game for all the people on your teams who you are enabling. So to you guys who are watching virtually and to Shawna and the entire sponsorship team, thank you very much for taking the time to spend a few minutes with SiriusDecisions today.
Have a great one.
Shawnna Sumaoang: Thank you so much for that presentation. With that to our audience, we’d like to open it up for Q and A. Please type any questions you have in the chat panel below and we’ll be sure to address those. Again, thank you for joining us today.