How to implement a data-driven sales enablement strategy in your business

Cory Shrecengost
April 13, 2023
minute read
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Deep down, sales enablement is simple: It’s equipping your sales team with the strategic information, guidance, and tools they need to excel.

Let’s put it another way. Even the best basketball players can improve their three-point average with better training and more insights into the opposing team. The same notion applies to sales enablement. More data, support, and dedicated technology can drive better results.

So, let’s dive into what data-driven sales enablement looks like, why it’s important, and some tools you can use to make it a reality.

Why is data-driven sales enablement important?

Sales enablement is the process of equipping your salespeople with the resources they need to sell more effectively. Usually, this includes tools, content, data, and information that helps make the sales cycle as frictionless as possible.

Data-driven sales enablement helps you better align sellers with customer buying habits. For example, with the right customer data at your fingertips, it becomes easier to engage with prospects, manage relationships, and produce sales-led content that keeps them interested in your product or service.

It’s also a valuable strategy for supporting your existing sales processes and making them run much smoother. With data leading your strategy, you can identify roadblocks and inefficiencies, and can promptly stamp them out.

The main KPIs for sales enablement

Before you implement a sales enablement strategy at your organization, you first need to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to track your progress.

1. Time spent selling

Busy sales teams are incredibly strapped for time. Between pitching new ideas, chasing leads, and signing off deals—there’s little left to spare. That’s why sales enablement software helps connect processes, so sales executives can gather, format, and leverage key information to close deals faster.

But to truly measure the impact of sales enablement, you need to understand how your sellers are spending their time and how much they dedicate to selling. When your sellers spend too much time switching between different platforms to access disparate tools, the loss of productivity could mean less time spent on nurturing leads and securing customers.

To understand how much time sales enablement could free up, we recommend asking your sales reps how much time they spend on specific tasks. Analyzing how they use tools like email, CRM, and eSignature software can help to paint the picture. If your business doesn’t yet have these tools, adopting them can also be the first step to more effective time tracking.

2. Length of the sales cycle

Sales cycle length is how long, on average it takes for your business to close a deal. That is, the faster you can make deals, the faster you can move on to other opportunities. However, friction in the sales cycle can quickly add up and result in delayed deals, missed opportunities, and less time for your salespeople.

While the standard sales cycle will differ between businesses, it’s worth doing some digging and figuring out how long on average it takes to close a lead. Then, you’ll be able to highlight any roadblocks, inefficiencies, or anything that makes closing a customer more difficult than it needs to be.

A key facet of any sales enablement strategy is equipping your salespeople with the tools they need to get sales contracts signed, sealed, and delivered as fast as possible.

3. Sales closing ratio

Your sales closing ratio is the number of sales closed compared to how many quotes your team sends. Tracking this metric is important to understand how sales enablement helps to improve the ratio between sent and closed deals.

If you’re already using a CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce, then you should have information like emails, calls, and sent deals readily available. If you haven’t, we’ll cover some of the benefits of a dedicated CRM system below.

How to promote a data-driven sales enablement strategy

Gather and analyze the data

The first step to promoting a data-driven sales strategy is gathering the data to guide your decision-making. With insights into sales metrics, customer trends, training gaps, and more, you’ll have access to a wealth of information about the entire sales process.

Then, you can use and share the data with your sales reps, so they have a better understanding of the entire sales process, which, in turn, helps them increase their efficiency.

Let’s go over ten common metrics you should look at for a data-driven strategy.

1. Win rate

Determine how many sales you’re closing compared to how many opportunities you’re getting. A simple formula you can use to get a percentage is: (Closed-won opportunities ÷ Total opportunities) x 100.

2. Lead response time

Analyze how long it takes for your salespeople to engage with leads. You can calculate this by adding up all the response times and taking the average.

3. Lead follow-up time

It’s imperative to know how often your sales reps are following up after the first point of contact with a lead. Take the average of the time before a follow-up is made to establish this.

4. Leads generated

Are your salespeople adding enough leads to your pipeline? Check by determining how many leads each salesperson is bringing in and adding them together for a total number.

5. Calls & emails made

In addition to generating leads, being proactive about calling and emailing leads can play a big role in gaining more sales opportunities. If your sales reps engage with customers from a CRM like HubSpot, you can easily measure this metric by looking at each rep’s activity.

6. Deals in the pipeline

Understand how many deals are moving through the sales pipeline at any given time. To work this out, simply count the number of active deals in your pipeline and which stages they’re in.

7. Time spent selling

Measure the time your salespeople actually spend selling versus the time they spend on admin tasks, such as sending invoices, compiling reports, or data entry. With a CRM, you can add the time logged on your reps’ sales activities.

8. Average deal size (ADS)

Determine the average revenue amount brought in per sale. To do this, choose a period and divide your total revenue by your total number of sales.

9. Average close time

Figure out how long it takes for your salespeople to close deals over a set period. Calculate this by dividing the total time of closed deals in your pipeline by the number of closed deals.

10. Sales revenue

Lastly, know what your sales revenue is. Simply determine your total sales revenue over a period of time.

Use the data to take action

As useful as the data is, it’s not much use to you unless you analyze it and put it into action. For example, when you look at how long your reps spend selling, you should be able to determine which areas of the sales cycle they’re spending most of their time on. That way, you can focus your efforts on training your sales reps to sell more effectively and, as a result, strengthen your cycle.

If you’re noticing a decrease in leads generated or calls made, for example, talk with your team about why that is. If their hands are tied up with admin tasks, the issue could be that they’re not getting enough time to focus on these aspects of their job. Or they may simply not have the tools or technology to effectively keep track of their progress. Take the time to assess and understand any limitations and then create a plan of action to attack them.

In contrast, if you’re noticing shorter follow-up and response times, your team is doing something right and that also deserves a discussion. Ask your sales reps not only about what they’re doing to get better results but also about what you can do to help make the improvements sustainable.

On the customer side, if they’re getting stuck on one specific area, like signing contracts, map out persistent roadblocks and start looking for tools to make it easier for them to progress. By tracking your customer and employee data and tying it to your KPIs, you can introduce a process of continuous improvement that’s directly informed by your business insights.

The components of a strong sales enablement strategy

At its core, a sales enablement strategy is all about equipping your sales representatives with the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively. Here are some key elements.

Setting clear goals and measuring success

Having the right analytics and data is crucial for tracking progress and adjusting strategy as needed. Goals should be set based on what's actually achievable with current sales and marketing resources, using historical data for reference.

It's important to track how well goals are being met by measuring lead conversion rates, email open rates, and click-through rates. Doing this will help fine-tune your sales enablement strategy and make sure you're on the right track.

Developing content and resources

Content used for sales reps should be tailored to their needs, easy to access and use, and cover the key points needed to sell your products or services.

Provide your salespeople with useful resources such as training materials, product information, marketing collateral, checklists, contact lists, product samples, or a procedure guide.

Coaching and training

A sales enablement strategy should provide sales reps with the skills and knowledge required for the job. Training should be tailored to the individual's role and include topics like product education, customer service, negotiation techniques, competition analysis, and sales software.

To ensure training is effective, track progress with performance benchmarks, such as monthly or quarterly goals. You can also bring in external experts every now and then to provide specialized training in areas of particular interest or importance.

Dedicated CRM software

If you haven’t already, then adopting CRM software like Salesforce or HubSpot should be your first step in enabling a data-driven sales strategy. CRMs are your one-stop shop for tracking interactions, managing contracts, facilitating communication, and building relationships with your customers.

Think of CRMs as your customer data library. They can help you store, manage, and easily access all the insights you’ll need to power a data-driven sales enablement strategy. This allows for better customer segmentation, faster communication, and more in-depth knowledge of your customer base.

An integrated eSignature solution

eSignatures are a sales execs best friend. They help close deals faster, reduce admin, and make signing contracts incredibly easier for customers. And eSignatures can help support your data-driven sales processes too.

As eSignatures can be directly integrated into your CRM, it opens a world of possibilities in terms of automation. For example, data can be automatically populated into your forms, saving your sales team time and ensuring that all sales data is accurate.

These tools can also help you keep your data clean, as eSignature solutions let you write back on contracts as soon as they’re signed. And when twinned with end-to-end document tracking, keeps contracts error-free and relevant.

A study by IDG found that businesses that took a workflow approach to using eSignatures saw the most value. While eSignatures can be adopted in isolation, it’s much more effective to integrate your eSignature solution with other tools. eSignatures work great with a CRM, but even if your business doesn’t use one yet, you can still benefit from integrating with your email or word processing software.

Give your sales teams a leg up over the competition

Sales enablement is essential for organizations that want to stay ahead of competitors, free up time for sales execs, and provide a better experience for customers. But to begin implementing a data-driven sales strategy, you need the right tools to support your sales team.

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