Your sales enablement strategy should have a measurable impact.
But what metrics do you use? How and when do you measure? And what do you do with all that data?! 🤯
Ada's Revenue Enablement Manager, Ashton Williams, answered SEC's questions on all things metrics...
Q. What metrics do you use to: (a) gain a deeper insight into the impact of your enablement activities; (b) demonstrate value to your leadership teams?
Do you consider these to be separate things with separate metrics?
A. Impact = results, so it's key to have our eye on the results and outcomes we are trying to drive. I would say that you define these at the start of your program in collaboration with stakeholders.
So if we set out to drive more pipeline, have a higher win rate, increase deal size or move deals faster, the program is tied to one of these results.
To dig into the impact of the program - these can be impacted by a number of things. I look at how many members of the team achieved this result vs the overall average. For example, if our win rate went up, but most of my team has the same win rate and single rep is carrying that average, I would be digging into that story and what improvements we can make to our programs.
If you're partnering with your managers, you both are looking for the same outcome, so as you work towards that you're in sync and value is clear. However, an internal QBR is key as the teams we support are essentially our customers. Sharing how we added value and insights into how we can grow are key.
Q. If you had to pin it down to one, what single metric do you consider most important as an indicator of SE effectiveness? Also, what’s most important to senior management/C-Suite?
A. I don't think you can blanket every company at every stage with a single indicator because the role of enablement looks very different at a seed start-up to a longstanding institution.
That being said, every team needs to have the right “North Star” and that is being tied to the company goals for the year.
Everyone should be aligned to the path to revenue goals. If I had to choose something though, I'd say attainment.
How many members of your team are successfully hitting x% and above (your company would have a model where they predict attainment and that percentage is clear)?
I like this because an investment in enablement is to support more people hitting quota on a predictable and consistent basis - and all the enablement programs and activities should show that you're moving the masses. We get this wrong when we take an average that can be impacted by a few high or low performers.
Leaders care about their growth and having the ability to forecast it.
Q. What are some of your best tips to present data (attractively) to senior managers and directors in order to get buy-in for additional resources and/or improved technology?
A. With different teams being at different stages of maturity and growth, the right data can feel like a moving target. My best tips for sharing what matters most is this:
1. Understand your audience and their goals
What are they focused on? Why should they care? How do they communicate? Starting here is critical for framing and communicative effectively.
2. Measure the impact
Make sure you deeply understand the impact and outcomes. Few people want to be walked through a bunch of data points or tables, and I find when we're not clear on the impact, we try to share everything vs the key outcomes.
3. Tell a story. I'll repeat: TELL A STORY.
Telling a story with numbers and data is where our audience goals and the impact align. This also makes it easier to retain, re-tell and engage.
4. Footnote the details
You will have teams who want to really get into the details of how you got there, so it is good to show your work. That can be shared ahead of the meeting or after or as a footnote.
5. Know your goal
Know what you're trying to drive as an outcome. You want resources? That story should highlight the risks, the pain and the gain.
Q. Which is more important to you at Ada: measuring the effectiveness of enablement activities (like training completed or ramp times) or measuring actual sales results?
A. For enablement to be effective, we must be tied TO measurable impact and results for the teams we serve.
However, results of enablement can take time. It's important to measure at every milestone, so we can highlight where the engine is stalling, then focus and optimize.
For example, if all my new hires graduate from a readiness program, it's a great milestone, but that isn't a checkbox to success. When they go on to close their first few deals within the expected ramp, we know as a program the onboarding was effective. If they then fail to maintain quota throughout the year, I'm going to work with ops and managers to uncover the issue and my team would focus on the next project, program and impact.
Each activity has an outcome, and you can celebrate the program or initiative getting to that outcome - which is always results with a few exceptions... like maybe a worldwide pandemic 😉.
Q. Do you work closely with sales ops to identify how to measure success and on strategies for improvement? Have you ever encountered any conflicting priorities here?
A. Ops & enablement is a key partnership. Ops is focused on identifying key problems the team is facing and increasing efficiency.
Enablement is focused on solving these identified problems and ensuring the team is following the processes ops has created. Their insights and data are critical to impactful enablement and our insights provide color and context to some of these data points.
Ops might identify that our win rate has fallen, for example and dig into the data to see where and pinpoint a challenge like having low conversion at a particular stage of the deal. My team would then take that insight to uncover if that conversion is a skill, knowledge, or market issue in partnership with managers and identify an enablement solution based on the challenge.
I've found that when there is conflict, it is often an issue of whether or not we are focused on the right things at the right time because truthfully both of our roles are to move revenue teams towards repeatable and consistent success.
Q. Curious to hear what metrics you think an enablement team should be measuring, and responsible for influencing, through the onboarding of new hires:
(a) What specific data do you focus on and collect (i.e. feedback to improve onboarding, and proof it's working)? (b) What cadence do you use to collect this information?
A. First, it is important to remember that if your organization is in rapid growth, onboarding is THE biggest focus for enablement. It is highly visible and has a major impact on the organization's ability to scale effectively.
Onboarding has two goals: get new hires ramped & retention. People need to feel like they chose the right company and like they are set up for success in their role.
We measure ramp as time to first deal and size of first deal.
Now, there are a bunch of things you can measure (and should measure) leading up to this like:
Time to readiness: how quickly are they successfully demonstrating they are customer ready?
Time to productivity: when is your new hire consistently doing the activities that lead to pipeline generation, and when do they have sufficient pipeline to close that first deal?
But, depending on where your organization is in terms of reporting, we stick to this as a success metric and use the rest to guide improvements.
We also use surveys and check-ins to see if our people feel supported, are stuck or have awesome ways we can improve.
Check-ins are weekly and surveys are ideally at the 30-60-90 day mark in addition to the standard session feedback.
It's key for enablement to understand all the things that can influence ramp and, in partnership with people ops & sales leadership, rally everyone towards the right outcomes and highlight if a piece of the engine is broken.
For example, my team is tied to decreasing ramp time, so we are constantly checking on pipeline because we need to ensure our new hires actually can close a deal in the time set if we get the rest right.
Reporting these trends back to your leaders is key because onboarding is a team sport, and we're responsible for orchestrating the moving parts and delivering the critical tools.