If you’re in sales or in charge of sales enablement, you’re probably facing several challenges while searching for success.
Those challenges may include:
- Sales enablement is seen as an expense rather than a worthwhile business investment that’s directly linked to revenue.
- It’s difficult to measure and demonstrate the impact of sales enablement. Hence, it’s often among the first to be cut when funds are low.
Low Salesforce adoption and lack of data make it more difficult to optimize sales enablement.
- Churn rate remains high.
- Overwhelm and burnout. Close to 90% of sales reps feel burnt out. If left untreated, that’s a direct threat to employee health, team morale, and business performance.
- Adapting to the rise of hybrid selling is expected to become the most dominant sales strategy by 2024.
- Content quality and availability — lack of content that’s easily available, complete, and updated regularly.
- Sales slipping because of unclear processes, methodologies, and requirements.
- Lack of confidence vis-a-vis new environments and products.
Sales enablement isn’t just about employee onboarding, training, or content. When done right, it encompasses all of that. But how do you make it work — and convince senior management of the value of sales enablement along the way?
You take a critical and holistic approach to the entire process.
1. Adopt a CFO’s Mindset
To show the ROI of (and successfully advocate for investment in) sales enablement, you need to be able to link it to practical outcomes.
- What business goals does it need to support?
- How will you know you’re on the right track?
- What part of the sales cycle is your team struggling with most? Do you know why?
- Are reps prioritizing the right accounts?
- What are the team’s efficiencies you could double down on?
- As a CFO, what elements would you cut out first?
Answering these questions will help define key performance indicators (KPIs) — both qualitative and quantitative — that you can tie to business impact and revenue growth.
- Win rate (a.k.a. Close rate)
- Average deal size
- Sales cycle length. You’ll also need to evaluate the time spent in each stage of the sales cycle and channel, including remote vs. hybrid vs. in-person sales, in order to enable reps to close more deals, faster.
- Lead-to-customer conversion rate
- Time to first deal won and Ramp time
- Quota attainment
- Employee churn rate
- Process compliance and data accuracy. Seeing where they slip off could be a useful indicator of more help and guidance needed, whether in the form of tips and explanations or helpful nudges and reminders.
- The rate of Salesforce adoption — is crucial not only for process efficiency and visibility but also for measuring everything else mentioned in this guide.
- Proficiency in specific tasks
- Sales teams’ NPS
With KPIs in place, you’ll be able to:
- Optimize sales enablement content
- Identify where reps need additional training and coaching
- Help teams perform at their best
- Measure and communicate the value and ROI of sales enablement
2. Guide the Desired Rep Behavior with Micro-KPIs
Once your KPIs are in place, work back to common roadblocks in the way. Then define micro-KPIs to motivate the team and signal progress in the right direction.
Depending on the target KPI, your micro-KPIs could be:
- The number of meetings and demos set
- Activities completed
- Opportunities in the pipeline
- Call volume
- Salesforce usage on any given day
- Adoption of new Salesforce features
- The number of click-backs to sales enablement content
- Lead-to-opportunity conversion rate (a good indicator of the efficiency of existing content)
- Seller proficiency and confidence in certain skills, tools, and product messaging
- It is also worth looking at qualitative indicators, such as internal knowledge sharing and team engagement that can have a positive impact in the long term.
Shaping the enablement training and content to guide can also affect desired outcomes and behavior. For instance, hitting revenue goals (KPI) might require more successful calls and meetings in the pipeline (micro-KPI), which in turn demands competence in prospecting, strategizing, and connecting with prospects across different channels. That can be enabled by adding just-in-time guidance and content that reps find helpful (micro-KPI).
Apps on AppExchange like Improved Apps, for example, allows embedding content and a hyperlinked list of resources right next to Salesforce data fields, so your reps don’t have to waste precious time searching for content ever again.
With micro-KPIs in place, you’ll see progress and the data you need to grow and show the ROI of your sales enablement efforts.
3. Consider Scope and Alignment
Misalignment between sales and product can lead to sales reps short-selling or overselling certain features. Misalignment between marketing and sales, meanwhile, may result in low-intent leads or a lack of useful content to move prospects down the funnel.
To avoid that:
- Define which activities fall within the scope of sales enablement and which should be undertaken by product, marketing, or human resources.
- Establish visibility and a clear line of communication between the teams covering KPIs, micro-KPIs, content, and data insights.
Involve users early on when automating Salesforce — have them guide the Salesforce adoption roadmap.
- Change internal attitudes towards Salesforce — is it really a tool? Or is it a service offered to your sales teams?
“We believe adoption works best when users are involved in shaping requirements. Enablement doesn’t stop at go-live, it’s ongoing and part of the ‘service’ offered to salespeople to ensure maximum ROI and successful roll-out,” said Gemma Blezard, CEO, Founder & Chief Architect, The Architect Club
4. Let KPIs Drive Your Sales Enablement Content and Training
There is a widening gap between the assets organizations believe to be impactful (and therefore create more of) and the collateral that’s most useful in practice.
To hit your targets:
- Invest in a system and process to analyze the quality and usage of sales enablement with a digital adoption solution (DAS) that automatically logs content usage, feedback, searches, and more.
- Ensure ongoing analysis and optimization by tying sales enablement content, training, and coaching to specific outcomes at different stages of the sales cycle. Analyze metrics, but also meet with reps individually to check in with their needs, confidence levels, well-being, and challenges. A good DAS can be particularly helpful as it will provide data on rep task completion rate, time spent on different activities, quota attainment, and more useful indicators for managers wishing to keep their teams and peak performance.
- Implement a cadence of updating sales enablement content to incorporate any substantial change in the organization’s offerings, markets, buyers, competition, methodology, or messaging. A simple feature like push notifications (targeted or company-wide) with mandatory responses or reactions — can make all the difference.
5. Make it Part of the Rep’s Workday
It’s been consistently proven that gamification solutions that promise to “make learning fun” and drive instant sales skill improvement simply don't work. You need quality sales enablement content — integrated right where work is happening.
- Field-level help and training (embedded in Salesforce, not reliant on third-party add-ons that are less secure and more prone to malfunction).
- Ability to make personal notes, bookmark preferred resources, and interact with in-app support.
- Content, embedded or delivered via action-triggered notifications, that reflect the context the rep is operating in.
- Action prompts in the form of push notifications and time-sensitive alerts.
If possible, use an app with AI and automation to ensure that when a rep schedules a demo presentation, they see embedded demo materials, one-pagers, follow-up templates, and tips from top-selling colleagues to make sure they’re prepared and on top of the game without losing hours on research.
It decreases the amount of steps required and ensures consistent, high-quality output, enabling your reps to start selling if not quite from day one, then week one for sure.
6. Think Bite-Sized and Personalized
Offer your sales reps bite-size training at just the right time — when it’s relevant to the task at hand. Apps using strategically placed just-in-time learning can help reduce the amount of training required by 50 percent and cut employee onboarding time by 20 percent.
The key is to make sure they don’t have to remember everything. They can just click on a question mark in Salesforce and get a quick snippet of relevant information — a video, a longer piece of text, a PDF, or a hyperlinked reading list.
By equipping sales teams with bite-sized content, guidance, and training at the point of need, organizations become less reliant on the top sellers to carry the load. Every rep, regardless of their seniority and skill set, has all they need to get the job done ASAP, without ever having to leave Salesforce.
7. Take a Critical Look at Your Results
Dig into your data on a regular basis (ideally, once a quarter). Are you reaching your KPIs? Did you achieve the desired behavior change with sales enablement content and action prompts?
Besides the KPIs mentioned above, look at metrics like:
- User engagement with sales enablement content.
- User sentiment (if your DAS allows reps to comment and vote on information provided).
- Deal velocity. This will help measure the relevance and efficiency of the assets provided.
- Time spent to find answers and content.
- Increase/decrease in training and onboarding time per rep.
- Time to first deal.
8. Talk About It
Don't wait for quarterly and annual reviews. Make it a habit to communicate highlights, top insights, and achievements to teams and senior management.
When those quarterly evaluations do come, be prepared to talk about:
- The ROI of your sales enablement program and content — with the data described above
- The cost of not investing in sales enablement
- The progress made and future plans
With the right data in hand, it will be easy to demonstrate the link between sales enablement and rep productivity, win rates, time and cost savings, and even long-term effects, including employee churn rate.
Ready to get started? Check out solutions on AppExchange like Improved Apps, or book a demo to see exactly how.
About the authors: Rachel Dance is the Digital Adoption Evangelist and Katrine Zané Geidmane is the Customer Centric Copywriter at Improved Apps. Based on user-centric research and digital adoption expertise we bring you insights, tactical quick wins, and long-term strategic projects to help all sized businesses, in any industry and not-for-profits, gain maximum ROI from their Salesforce investment.
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