Five Metrics to Measure the Impact of your Sales Enablement Program

By: Phil Stern  |  August 17, 2020

Whether you have a full-time sales enablement team member or you are supporting the training and development needs of your sales team on your own, it’s important to measure the impact of your effortsThat way, you can see what’s working, what’s not, and where you should double down on your investment. Sometimes, you can use these findings to make the case to hire a fulltime team member (or two) or to secure funds to invest in an outside trainer.  

Regardless, because you are spending your own time and resources and the time and resources of your teams, measuring the impact of your sales enablement program is as important as determining the ROI for any other investment you make in your business. 

Andsales enablement programs can have big returns, including:  

  1. Increased conversion rates 
  2. Shorter ramp times 
  3. Higher rep satisfaction and retention 

To measure the impact of sales enablement program, you first need to establish a measurement infrastructure that can help you capture the right data in a reliable way. If possible, you should have a baseline of key metrics in place before you launch your programsboth at the rep and team level—then crunch comparison metrics on a quarterly basis. 

Here are five ways to measure the impact of your sales enablement programs:

1.Rep-level metrics

Almost every rep-level metric can be influenced by a strong sales enablement program. Though there are many metrics to consider, we think the following will best capture the impact of your training programs:

  • Conversion Rate from Conversation to Demo Set. This measures the quality of your sales reps’ conversations. As you invest in sales enablement, expect to see your reps improving their ability to hold good conversations with prospects, ask great questions and overcome objections. Stronger conversations typically lead to better call outcomes.

    At a prior company, we saw conversation-to-demo set conversion rates stagnate at about 25%. With investment in sales training, call coaching, and regular skill practice, this rate increased to 30%+. Spread across tens of thousands of phone calls, those 5 percentage points yielded a strong return.

  • Demo show rate. Once a demo is set, there is no guarantee that the prospect will attend. But, attending a demo is fairly critical to making the sale. To improve your demo show rate, train your reps on these two tactics:
    1. Finding a compelling challenge the prospect is facing that your product can help solve.
    2. Continuing to engage with the prospect in a meaningful way between when the demo is set and when the demo is held.

Some prospects will always fail to show up for their demo, but by decreasing that number, you increase your bookings by bringing a higher number of prospects through your funnel.

Consider the difference between two scenarios:

How should you measure this? In our experience, once you know your existing show rate, it’s best to establish a goal and then coach your sellers to increase the percentage of their prospects who show up for demos until that goal is hit.

  • Average deal size. There are several ways to increase average deal size. You can reduce discounting, improve the terms of your agreements, close more customers on higher pricing tiers or larger product packages, or sell more ancillary product offerings at the point of sale. Each of these can be influenced by your sales enablement investments. Let’s look at discounting as an example. Many times, sales reps offer discounts before the prospect even asks. And when the prospect does ask, reps often offer a larger discount than is necessary. With coaching, you can help your team learn how to break these habits and sell on value, instead of price. You can also teach them how to handle objections around price to avoid discounting as the only solution.

    Any reduction in discounting immediately increases your average deal size, so it will be easy to measure the impact of your coaching and enablement in this realm.

2.Team-level metrics

Similarly, here are two metrics to track before and after your program goes live.

  • Sales cycle duration. Based on the profile of your buyers, the size and complexity of your deals, and whether your product is considered core to business operations, you will have a different sales cycle than the company down the street. Regardless, by investing in sales enablement, you can create more consistent and, in some cases, shorter sales cycles.

    The key word here is “consistent.” Ever have deals stall out? Or the buyer doesn’t respond for weeks? Or a deal is held up in legal? Any late-stage surprises signal a lack of control over the sales process and undermine a rep and leader’s ability to consistently forecast and deliver wins. By training and coaching your reps on how to better manage their sales cycles, you can increase consistency. When you start to see more consistent timelines, decision points and forecast accuracy, you know your sales enablement investments are paying off.

    Heads up: A shorter sales cycle is not always a better sales cycle. For some buyers and for some products, a sale can happen too quickly. Perhaps the buyer failed to secure internal buy-in from all key players. Perhaps the buyer isn’t ready to fully dedicate themselves to implementing your product.

    For all sales, the goal is not to get the buyer to make a decision more quickly, but to retain control over the sales process at every stage, driving consistent sales cycles and forecastable deals.

  • Bookings per rep. This metric, which looks at each of your team members individually and can be viewed as an average across the team, is the ultimate outcome you’re looking to drive. With strong enablement programs and more effective salespeople, you should expect to see an increase in the team’s bookings. By increasing your bookings per rep, you are increasing the efficiency of your sales team and producing higher bookings with the same number of people—a great outcome for your business.

3.Reduced Ramp Time for Individual Sellers

This is perhaps the most cleanly measurable. If you know how long it takes to get a new rep fully up to speed now, it can be easy to see the impact of enablement programs by tracking that time after the program has been implemented. And who doesn’t want new hires to contribute new bookings earlier in their tenure?

4.Rep Sentiment

Happy sales reps are focused sales reps. If they feel you are investing in their long-term career development and success, they’ll likely have greater loyalty to your team and a strong desire to help you exceed targets. To track rep sentiment, look at the delta in scores for your training programs, internal employee NPS and surveys.

5.Forecast Predictability and Accuracy

As reps become more talented and their sales activities become more predictable and repeatable, this will roll up directly to you. Just like sales enablement can help reduce sales cycle and improve consistency, it can also help your reps deliver predictability in their business.

Building and launching a sales enablement program can be a daunting task. And measuring the impact of the program can feel like an ever-higher hill to climb. However, because sales enablement is an investment, it should be viewed no differently than any other investment you make in your business. By measuring your reps and teams on core KPIs, and establishing a baseline before formal programs are launched, you’ll know exactly the impact of your efforts and what programs, trainings, technology or approaches have yielded the best results.

Phil is a Operating Principal at Mainsail Partners. He leads the firm’s Center of Excellence for Sales and is responsible for helping Mainsail’s portfolio companies optimize their growth strategies and deploy sales practices.
More by Phil Stern
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