Six Steps to Leverage Data and Insights to Build Your Sales Enablement Strategy

Six Steps to Leverage Data and Insights to Build Your Sales Enablement Strategy
April 9, 2021

Whether your company growth strategy is to capture more market share by offering new pricing options or launching an exciting new product, it is going to take thoughtful programs and enablement to pull it off. But where should you start? As with most things it is best to have a plan.

As you begin to develop your plan it is always best to begin with a review of what has been achieved in the past. Applying historical data and deep insights to the rationale behind organizational goals provides a solid foundation to build on.

This foundation will not only help you deliver impactful sales enablement and readiness for your team – but also further elevate sales enablement’s standing and value within your company. Let’s take a closer look at how to leverage data and insights to create and implement your sales productivity plan.

Step 1: Bring in Back-up

You are going to want reinforcements, but we aren’t talking about calling a few friends to help out. The back-up you will need comes in the form of data. This data allows you to develop a plan that provides real insight into the productivity needs and opportunities of your client-facing sales reps. This insight will be essential to gaining executive buy-in.

So, what data and info should you focus on? The easiest way is to break it down by the 5 W’s (and one H).

  1. What
  2. Why
  3. Who
  4. Where
  5. How

Let’s break them down one at a time.

1. WHAT is your company’s growth strategy?

Perhaps your company growth strategy was to capture more market share by offering new pricing options or expanding licenses within your existing client base. Maybe you were launching an exciting new product or announcing a critical partnership.

2. WHY did your executive team decide on this strategy?

To execute a sales enablement plan effectively, simply knowing the “what” isn’t enough. Gather as many data points as you can about the market and company factors leading to the strategy, and the expected impact they will on sales over the course of the year.

3. WHO are your sales/client-facing teams this year?

In other words, who will sales enablement need to support? Will you have in-house account executive or channel reps (or both)? What’s the current headcount? Will certain teams be growing in order to meet the revenue plan? Will any type of re-organization occur as a result of the previous year?

4. WHERE does each team stand in terms of goals and objectives?

What is the gap to quota attainment YTD, both by team and by individual reps? Where are the greatest needs? What are the expected ASPs, close rates and existing pipeline coverage for the year? 

5. HOW do you know where to begin?

Ask your CRO one question: from your perspective, which team will be most impactful to achieving the company goals? Or more specifically: who is responsible for the most revenue?

While you may have a lot of squeaky wheels in your organization, these answers will help you queue up and focus your efforts on the impact, not the urgency.

The CRO will certainly have his or her eyes on specific teams and areas; it may seem obvious, but as a sales enablement leader, those are the things you want to prioritize too. 

Step 2: Forging Partnerships with Sales Management

With this information in hand, next is your chance to demonstrate -- with data -- how you can work with sales leadership to make their team of sellers more efficient and effective.

Set up meetings with sales managers and remember -- how you queue up the meetings matters; use Question 5 to ensure you are starting with the leaders on the teams who represent the greatest impact.

Review the current What, Why, Who, Where, How metrics, but this time also get the sales managers’ narrative:

  • Which sellers on their teams will have the greatest impact?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing their teams?
  • Where are they struggling as managers, and how can enablement help? 

Working together on common goals, determine what the management team will do and how sales enablement will assist them (via training programs, new content/collateral, technology deployments, etc.).

Remember: it is never in your best interest to bring solutions to the CRO without buy-in from the sales management team.

Step 3: Creating Data-Driven Programs

Now you’ve met with your sales managers. But don’t make the mistake of rushing out of those meetings and start creating programs right away. If you quickly move right to the program without thinking about the productivity metrics, you’ll risk losing the partnership with sales leaders down the road. (This happens way to often!)

First, you need to translate those team goals into metrics based on the two areas driving sales productivity: efficiency (the quantity of output) and effectiveness (the quality of output).

Efficiency Metrics

These can give you a quick view of the whole sales pipeline:

  • Number of “Dials per day” and “Emails sent” provide visibility into the early activities of the sales process. 
  • Number of “Opportunities created” and “Pipeline generated” are good early indicators of whether the activity is translating into movement in the early pipeline. 
  • Downstream metrics like “Opportunities won” and “Bookings” assess movement in the back part of the pipeline. 
  • Measuring “Current pipeline” is important for maintaining a balance of work across what reps are doing to both generate and mature pipeline over time.

Effectiveness Metrics​

The effectiveness metrics are just as important, but for different reasons. This data helps you double-check what's happening at an individual rep level or across various teams (new business, channel, etc.). 

For example, a new business AE might have strong efficiency metrics, but may still not be performing at a high level because they have low ASPs or poor close rates. 

If you define these key metrics by role, you can align those metrics to the sales skills needing development (in agreement with sales leadership – of course).

Step 4: Use Metrics to Map Sales Readiness Programs to Roles

Now that you have looked at your efficiency and effectiveness metrics, you are now ready to create a map of the programs, metrics, and skills for each sales role. This will result in a truly data-driven program providing your executive and leadership teams with insight into not only what exactly sales enablement is executing on – but also the why.

Let’s look at an example.

Say your growth strategy is geared around an important new product launch. Beginning at the top of the funnel, you may have BDRs who will be responsible for:

  • outbound calls
  • email/InMail prospecting
  • setting up initial discovery meetings

Preparing your BDRs for performance will require them to have certain skills and knowledge competencies, which sales enablement can then partner with the sales managers to develop.

This template can be repeated and completed with each sales role, such as account executives, sales engineers, and so on.

Once you know the behaviors you want to drive for each role, divide the program tasks into milestones with sales leadership:

  • Who will execute what and when?
  • What is the timeline for review of the data?
  • How will you resolve any gaps together?

A well-aligned plan between sales management and enablement prevents finger pointing at the end of the quarter, while fostering stronger relationships and value from your enablement activities.

Step 5: Benefits of Role-based Metrics and Programs

Using role-based metrics provides significant benefits to managing your sales enablement programs.

  1. The right data provides a common view so you can collaborate with sales managers to diagnose problems and figure out solutions.​
  2. This data also creates transparency helping to hold everyone accountable. Everyone can see where the problems are and then track whether they are improving.​
  3. Showing results creates a recurring cycle which you can use to quickly identify problems, take action, and see results.

The end outcome is better sales productivity and better quota attainment!

The other key is to communicate the plan so reps know what to expect and when to expect it. You can’t just say it once; over-communicate the plan via weekly team meetings, quarterly business reviews and messaging platforms like Slack.

Step 6: Managing Your Sales Readiness Plan with Scorecards

You have a plan but how do you manage it? Many Brainshark customers are utilizing Readiness Scorecards to provide everyone – enablement, sales leadership and reps – with continuous visibility into their sales productivity programs. 

Combine training and coaching data with efficiency and effectiveness metrics from your CRM. 

All your CRM metrics, courses, curriculums and coaching challenges can be organized by the context that matters: 

  • Comparison to peers
  • Performance vs. goals
  • Tracking over time

Scorecards help sales enablement leaders: 

  • Diagnose problems
  • Motivate improvement
  • Hold reps accountable in weekly 1-on-1s

To learn more about Readiness Scorecards, schedule a short demo with a Brainshark solutions expert.

Summary

Let’s quickly review the key points for creating a more data-driven sales productivity plan.

  1. When you review the data from the previous year you are able to build and present to leadership a plan based on real results.
  2. Assess the What, Why, Who, Where, and How of your growth strategy.
  3. Make a game plan with your sales managers by defining the priorities, setting the metrics, and mapping the milestones needed to improve performance by sales role.
  4. Track your goals with Readiness Scorecards to show CRM metrics and training/coaching data in the same place, across all your teams and individual sellers.

The plans you set today will allow sales enablement to provide clear, metrics-based insight into your programs – and making your sellers more confident, competent and ready.