Why Sales Enablement Needs To Be Measured in Salesforce

We have an enablement problem… People think we suck at enabling our reps because we can’t prove its impact.

Many SaaS companies struggle with ramp time, and it’s getting worse over time. The Bridge Group reports that on average, it takes 5 or more months for new sales reps to ramp at SaaS companies today.

And sales teams are not hitting quota. There’s usually a handful of reps carrying a bunk of the revenue number. And everyone else is B or C players, not contributing as much as they should.

This means there’s a lot of money being left on the table. This is money lost because of unmeasured sales enablement.

The opportunity cost of unmeasured enablement

Let’s look at the two main areas enablement can help: Onboarding and Ongoing Enablement.

The ROI of sales onboarding

What’s the value of ramping one month faster? Two months faster?

Let’s break it down using a couple assumptions. Let’s say your reps have a $600k yearly quota, and you’re a scale-up adding 50 new reps over 24 months. If your average ramp (time to consistent quota) at your company is seven months, ramping one month sooner will add $2.5M revenue across those 50 new hires. Two months sooner is $5M in revenue.

We’re not talking about significant improvements here, but the opportunity loss is massive!

The ROI of ongoing enablement

Now let’s switch to ongoing quota attainment.

Let’s again assume your reps are carrying a $600k annual quota. And the average quota attainment across your team of 50 reps is around 52%. Improving quota attainment from 52% to 56% is an additional $1.2M in revenue. Without having to make any drastic improvements.

The math is there – enablement has the opportunity to drive significant revenue numbers for organizations. But we can’t actually do it.

Why can’t enablement get better?

Let’s take a page from the L&D book and look at the Kirkpatrick Model to understand.

Kirkpatrick was a professor at the University of Wisconsin who popularized a theory for evaluating training courses. The four levels are designed as a sequence of ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your training programs. As you proceed through each of the levels, the evaluation becomes more difficult and requires more time.

Here’s a quick overview of the four levels of assessments for the Kirkpatrick model:

  • Reaction: This is the basic first level of assessment. You’re measuring your reps’ initial reaction to the training. Did they like it? Did they find it useful? Was the material good? Did we use the right experts to run the programs? Etc.
  • Learning: This is the second level of assessment. You’re measuring how much of the material was absorbed by your reps, and map it to the learning objective.
  • Behavior: This is the third level of assessment. You’re measuring how much your programs have influenced the behavior of your reps and how they’re applying it in the field.
  • Results: This is the fourth level of assessment. You’re measuring the impact your programs had at the business level, so revenue and pipeline growth in sales, and tying it back to the different parts of the program or individuals.

As enablers, we need to measure the effectiveness of our programs on all four levels. But the problem is there’s no rigor in instructional design in the sales enablement function.

Sales enablers either come from:

  1. A Sales Management background – knowing the behaviors and numbers reps should have.
  2. A L&D background – knowing how to train adults, but not for sales skills as they lack the expertise in carrying quotas and hitting numbers.

On top of that, there aren’t many tools and processes that can help combine the two backgrounds and expertise together, which makes it really hard to be effective at sales enablement. If we’re not measuring for the bottom two layers of Kirkpatrick – Behaviors and bottom line Results – then we’re only training for the sake of knowledge, and not for the sake of skills.

If you’re still using spreadsheets and live training as the anchor to your enablement or onboarding, you’re in trouble. There’s not much insight you’ll be able to collect to prove the stuff you’re doing in enablement is actually working. It’s time to invest in some tools.

For the rest of you who are using some sort of tech – like a CMS or LMS – there will be a certain amount of assessment you’ll be able to get. But it will be hard to correlate to results in your CRM.

Depending on what tools you’re using, you’re probably not designing your programs in such a way that incorporates business metrics within the programs to understand what’s working and what’s not. You need to make sure that your enablement tools are integrating into every aspect of your sales process. And for most of us, the sales process is measured in Salesforce.

What’s the future of sales enablement measurement?

As you can see, there’s no single or simple way you can measure everything you do for sales enablement. But it’s critical that the CRM is at the center of your enablement tech stack in order to be able to measure all the way down to deal metrics, or Kirkpatrick’s 4th level.

Gartner published an excellent report in August 2017 titled “Sales Enablement Technology Transforms the CRM Sales Landscape.” In the report, they mentioned that some sales enablement vendors have matured into platform solutions, and are better suited for sales leaders.

The major shift in this maturation model is the deep integration into CRMs like Salesforce.

Take a look at how complex the sales enablement landscape has become. CRM and API integrations are at the center of it. If you’re not integrating your enablement programs into your CRM (i.e. spreadsheets and corporate LMS), you can’t really call it ‘enablement’ anymore. And I’d argue that if you’re not measuring your programs down to deal metrics, like pipeline and closed revenue, it’s not enablement at all. You’re just another function of HR.

It’s time to put our sales hats on. It’s time to do the hard work and put our numbers on the line. There’s no easy way to do it – but it’s the only way to be effective at sales enablement. Start measuring those deal metrics against enablement, and you’ll quickly be reducing ramp and improving quota consistency at your organization.

This week’s post is by guest author David Bloom, Founder & CEO of LevelJump, a sales onboarding and training software for high-growth SaaS companies. LevelJump makes it easy for you to build consistent and scalable onboarding programs and align training to sales outcomes in Salesforce to reduce ramp time of new sales hires.