Blog post

Measuring the Effectiveness of Sales Enablement

By Marc Brown | April 20, 2018 | 1 Comment

MarketingCustomer Acquisition and Retention

As I mentioned in my ‘Marketing’s Essential Role in Sales Enablement’ blog, marketing should be actively measuring sales enablement effectiveness with sales. These metrics provide critical insights to management about what to expect from the investment. This could include answers to:

  1. Has sales attended the training?
  2. Do they understand it?
  3. Are they closing more deals and meeting their sales quota more quickly?

It seems simple, obvious, and something everyone is doing. It’s not. The reality is a different story.

When it comes to sales enablement, there’s no single metric that can measure the results of your efforts or tell you what to expect or what to prioritize. But while measurement may be hard, it’s not impossible. A common set of metrics I suggest includes:

  • Operational metrics on attendance, content usage, and proficiency/certification score
  • Sales proficiency metrics on lead-to-customer conversion, time-to-quota, and actual selling time

Before you start measuring, rethink your enablement delivery strategy. From what I have seen, you can boost your teams’ enablement results by delivering short but regular training. A report by Sales Performance International shows that nearly 84% of sales training is forgotten after 90 days. To counteract this, move away from the traditional one-off training events and transition to small digestible 20-30 minute weekly or bi-weekly sessions. This format will be easier to attend (reps won’t have to block off sizable chunks of time that impact daily job needs) and enable quick and responsive updates, which should ultimately improve attendance rates and proficiency.

To prove the value of your sales enablement efforts, I recommend the following five measurement areas:

  • Attendance and proficiency. This administrative measure is often ignored or not enforced. Reps participation should be ‘a non-negotiable’. Marketing teams serious about making a difference need to ensure sales management is onboard and willing to drive attendance and proficiency testing.
  • Content usage. Compelling content is among the most effective tools for salespeople, but in most cases, there is an overwhelming amount of content available. For this reason, it’s important to measure how well content is performing, analyzing the number of total downloads, associated quality rating (i.e., # of likes or 4.5 stars out of 5), and relevancy assessment (i.e., # of shares). With better insights into the specific knowledge and content that is resonating best with your prospects, you can better enable your sales team by creating relevant material for them, and your organization as a whole as well. To learn more about measuring content marketing value, see ‘3 Steps to Measure the Value of Content Marketing (Gartner client subscription required.)
  • Lead-to-conversion. Your lead-to-customer-conversion rate is a good number to track to help measure the impact of your sales enablement activities. Keep in mind however, this metric is influenced by other factors, such as the number and quality of leads generated. Regardless, the lead-to-conversion measurement should not be ignored. Positive trends indirectly indicate sales enablement efforts are improving.
  • Quota attainment. To optimize sales enablement efforts, it’s necessary to measure the effectiveness of every salesperson and how it relates to their onboarding and ramping. Cutting down the ‘time to productivity’ is one of the primary parameters that can help prove the effectiveness of your training efforts. Decreasing ramp times for new employees indicate sales enablement efforts are improving.
  • Actual selling time. Great enablement programs empower reps by providing all the tools they need to sell, when they need them – from buyer guides to customer stories to ROI studies to presentations – the more time they’ll have to actually sell and close more deals. To ensure success, measure the percentage of each rep’s time spent on actual sales and attainment. With greater focus and fewer interruptions, increasing revenue is likely.

Be proactive and foster an environment where your enablement staff is comfortable engaging with sales and marketing. The more opportunities for interaction, the better.

And don’t stop measuring, analyzing, and adjusting. Take measurements of everything along the way, including secondary indicators of success like qualitative comments. More to the point, use the data to take action, experimenting with different approaches until you find one that makes a measurable difference for your organization.

What are the key metrics you track to measure your sales enablement success? Let me know here, on LinkedIn or on Twitter!

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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1 Comment

  • Excellent blog with several practical recommendations for CMOs and sales leaders. Full agreement with the five suggestions as few targeted key metrics (i.e. lead to conversion, content usage) are so critical for sales adoption.
    Quota attainment is very important however sales teams tend to feel quota assignments are subjective or boilerplate driven exercises. I’d suggest measuring more specific results, such as, increase in SQLs, reductions in average discount level, increase in revenue from “middle of sales reps” segment.
    Following Gartner’s’ five suggestions would be a highly positive initial step for Sales VPs to implement. Nice job!