It’s an exciting—and challenging—time to be in sales learning and enablement. The pandemic upended plans and programs that were in full gear, and brought many initiatives to a screeching halt. Many of us are working in a hybrid remote / in-person situation—and will be for the foreseeable future.
Today, dispersed teams require a new level of coordination, collaboration, and empowerment in order to unlock sales success in a competitive digital-first world. These critical functions must evolve to meet the changing needs of sellers AND buyers.
To keep pace, a growing number of organizations are investing in sales enablement teams, tools, and technology. However, many businesses do not know how to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their new initiatives.
Understanding the value of sales learning and enablement is not straight-forward. CSO Insights found that only a quarter of organizations consistently measure the impact of their enablement initiatives using both leading and lagging indicators. That means a staggering three-quarters have little or no insight into how (or if) their sales enablement programs are making an impact.
Sales enablement is the key factor for virtual success
Sales enablement has emerged as the linchpin that syncs all areas of your organization for sales success—especially in hybrid selling situations. Instead of outdated approaches that treat sales as a siloed function, evolved sales enablement aligns your sales team with marketing, operations, product, HR, and other teams to support sellers and drive productivity.
Your organization may need to update its technology solution to deliver sales learning and enablement that supports your salespeople in this hybrid world. But you’ll have to quantify its value to justify the expense.
Measurement of the right metrics will ensure you’re getting the highest ROI from your sales enablement investments, offer a full picture of what’s working, and identify areas where you can improve performance. And, by proving ROI, you’ve got a better chance at securing internal support for your programs and additional resources.
How to prove the ROI of your sales enablement
Sales enablement solutions are critical to driving revenue. The good news is that many of the numbers you need are already in your database and simply need to be compared over time as you implement new programs or roll out new content.
Here are four ways you can prove the value of your sales enablement initiatives.
1. Revenue growth
Research shows that the best way to ensure that sellers maximize every revenue opportunity they encounter is through a holistic sales enablement program supported by the right technology.
One way to measure the impact of sales enablement on revenue is to use discrete training methods on different cohorts, measuring results at agreed-upon intervals to determine comparative success. You can also look at the impact of sales content on your pipeline to better understand which pieces are driving deals forward.
This way, you can not only look at lagging indicators (deals won or lost) but also drill into the process to determine, for example, how quickly deals advance in sales cycles or how opportunity advancement maps to competency attainment (cold-calling, pitch delivery, objection handling, etc.)
This deeper analysis helps you identify how content influences the sale and the competency gaps for underperforming reps so you can focus your training on the areas of greatest need. Using separate approaches for different groups also neutralizes the impact of external influences, since the only “variable” is the training method or content used.
Key revenue metrics: time to first deal, average contract value (acv), number (or percent) of reps making quota, content contribution / lift
2. Cost savings
Geographically dispersed sales teams make it increasingly difficult and expensive to deliver personalized training and coaching experiences for each salesperson, unless you’re using a sales enablement solution with mobile, asynchronous, and video capabilities.
One way to measure the impact of sales enablement on costs is to measure the impact of delivering virtual onboarding, training, and coaching and the content needed to support those initiatives—served up in the reps’ moment of need.
Effective sales enablement solutions boost ROI for dispersed sales teams not only by reducing travel expenses and time out of the field, but also by increasing the ability for reps to interact with managers remotely, with asynchronous role-play exercises, call coaching, and feedback that have been proven to improve productivity.
Key cost metrics: travel expenses, venue rentals, selling days, training time, content access
3. Risk reduction
Every sales enablement initiative has a positive impact on risk reduction. Unfortunately, most teams struggle to quantify it. But assigning hard numbers to your risk-mitigation initiatives is something you can’t afford to ignore. At a minimum, you need to make a solid case for why current and proposed sales enablement programs should receive proper funding and management support.
To start, classify the types of risk you’re seeking to mitigate through sales enablement initiatives. The risks posed by a poorly trained sales force—from regulatory risk to brand damage—can be very expensive both to your organization’s reputation and your bottom line.
Key risk metrics: cost / number of compliance violations, win rates against competitors, use of approved collateral, product rollout time
4. Team engagement
You might not associate ROI with the morale and overall well-being of employees, but this component provides both intrinsic value and far-reaching business benefits.
Research shows that highly engaged employees perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave the organization. Beyond the direct costs of employee attrition, high turnover indirectly contributes to an organization’s costs through lost selling time and the need for additional new-hire onboarding, training, and coaching.
Most sales training organizations make a positive impact on employee engagement, but many find it difficult to quantify this seemingly “squishy” ROI component. Fortunately, advanced sales learning and enablement can help.
Good sales enablement technologies can keep a virtual team connected and build a stronger culture. Among other things, managers can do more coaching in less time, when in-person ride-alongs or classroom sessions aren’t possible.
Key engagement metrics: manager visibility and efficiency, employee content adoption, employee platform usage, rep attrition
To compete in a hybrid world, start measuring sales enablement ROI
The right sales enablement strategy and technology can have a significant impact on your bottom line. However, the majority of organizations today fail to measure the effectiveness of their enablement programs.
Make it a priority to measure the impact of sales enablement on the metrics that matter most to your organization. You’ll shed light on where your program is shining and where it is falling short. Then, you can justify the necessary changes to help you get the biggest ROI from your sales enablement initiatives and ensure your sellers are always ready to deliver winning buying experiences.
If you support a sales force—as a sales enablement pro, product marketer, trainer, sales leader, or content marketer—this is your moment. Prove your value and set the stage for sales success long after the pandemic has run its course.
About the author
George is responsible for Allego’s customer acquisition and sales goals. A proven sales leader with over 20 years of sales, marketing, operations and management experience, George is a sales enablement enthusiast who loves tools and systems that empower people. Prior to Allego, George served as the Chief Sales Officer of Compete during its rapid growth from $30M to $110M.