3 Teams' Data-Driven Strategies for Sales Enablement

No strategy is outside the scope of data's influence.
June 3, 2021

A sustainable sales strategy requires more than just charisma and an elevator pitch. And like all good business strategies, sales enablement is most effective when paired with data. As markets evolve, sales teams need to remain flexible and tuned in to industry trends, new outlets for products and existing customer engagement. 

With so many variables to track, building growth metrics into a sales plan is crucial for long-term success. Those metrics may suggest developing new sales training courses, as Russell Wurth of Showpad discovered; they may also indicate a complete overhaul in sales approach, as Deepesh Desai of VelocityEHS encountered. Holistic data evaluation, says Michelle Diekroeger of Fourkites, is the key to understanding its place within broader company goals, and a realistic perspective on gaps in strategy.

These three sales professionals view data as an inherent element to their teams’ growth, and use it to design their blueprints for sales evolution and customer retention. 

 

Deepesh Desai
Director of Revenue Operations

VelocityEHS offers software solutions to empower enviromental health and safety professionals with automation of and insight into existing practices. With such an important role, the team understands the significance of sales performance data, as well as its value in developing an approach to companies with complex regulatory needs.

When it comes to sales enablement data, what do you measure and how do you measure it?  

I oversee VelocityEHS’ RevOps department, which entails an end-to-end business process of driving predictable revenue and expansion through transparency and rigorous execution. Operations, enablement, standardization, insights and metrics are key pillars to measuring the success of our efforts. Some key performance indicators we observe include average deal size, number of larger deals, gross pipeline, coverage to pipeline, as well as growth within each of those categories.

Each of our segments have different priorities based on their account segmentation and targets.’’

 

What goals or targets are tied to these metrics, and what are some ways you support your sales team in reaching them?

Our broad goal is to expand our customer base with increasingly bigger fish, while at the same time systematically growing revenue by selling all applicable VelocityEHS products to existing accounts. To do this, it is imperative we understand our go-to-market strategy, vision for the sales team and what success looks like for each role, segment and team. 

Understandably, each of our segments have different priorities based on their account segmentation and targets. To enable them for success and achieve their individual targets, we use technology solutions (conversational intelligence, data enrichment, prospecting tools, etc.) and internal education through training deliveries, peer-to-peer benchmarks and coaching. Given that we have a large global sales team, we are also looking at utilizing modern approaches to deliver information in a succinct, consistent and easy to consume fashion for the team. 

What’s one way this data has helped you fine-tune your sales enablement strategies, and what was the result?

By looking at our average deal size as it compares to the future of the EHS market, we realized we needed to shift our approach from transactional to consultative selling across all markets. Sustainable account management and customer engagement will ultimately grow our business in a more meaningful way and allow our customers to utilize all of our offerings. Enterprise companies are large and complex, but also have complex needs, stronger budgets, and more areas to target with more products. We are providing our teams with resources to make this transition a smooth one, paving the way for a brighter future for both VelocityEHS as well as its individual employees.

 

Russell Wurth
Vice President of Worldwide Sales Enablement

As sales enablement strategists, Showpad is well versed in optimizing sales productivity. And according to Wurth, the sale doesn’t end at the deal; effective onboarding and new-hire training is key to ongoing company growth.

When it comes to sales enablement data, what do you measure and how do you measure it?

Sales leaders will care most about their lagging indicators, focusing on what the current month or quarter is going to produce. Here, you’ll need to be careful to focus on the metrics that enablement can impact. For example, conversion of leads to opportunities can be attributed to qualification and positioning, building sales plays on discovery, and providing courses and exercises to prepare the sales team. Similarly, deal size can be impacted if enablement ensures sellers are getting recommended additional products and services as part of a solution sale.

Leading indicators will be more focused on things like ramp time for new hires, time to readiness (completing training and certification) for launching a new product, or buyer engagement (are buyers opening and engaging in content through their journey?).

We can differentiate our buyer experience through empowering our customers with various content forms.’’

 

What goals or targets are tied to these metrics, and what are some ways you support your sales team in reaching them?

Our goals in enablement are to improve new hire ramp effectiveness and drive continuous improvement of revenue teams. Sales teams’ worlds are constantly changing. The company will have new products, features, use cases, solutions and messaging as they enter new markets and expand targeted buyers. Meanwhile, competitors enter and evolve, buyer behavior changes, and industry dynamics shift. Sellers need to be prepared and effective in handling the change.

We can differentiate our buyer experience through empowering our customers with various content forms. That way, they can best understand how to improve the effectiveness of their revenue teams. It is not about serving the customer the data sheets on features — it’s about how we define achievable outcomes and create a roadmap for success that combines software and services.

What’s one way this data has helped you fine-tune your sales enablement strategies, and what was the result?

We have fine-tuned our onboarding program to ensure the program is complete for long-term success. It’s easy for new hires to get to a ‘good enough’ stage where they pivot their focus on their selling activities like developing pipelines, working existing deals in the forecast, or final negotiations. In those cases, we found that reps who didn’t complete onboarding struggled a few months later and needed a refresher on key areas. By communicating this to management, we were able to get buy-in for the completion of readiness activities for long-term success, and are in turn avoiding the attraction and penalty of short-term success.

 

Michelle Diekroeger
Senior Director, Global Sales and Operations

In supply chain, traceability and reliability are vital to success. Fourkites provides visibility into en-route shipments, equipping its customer base with informed agility. Mirroring their external product strategy, the business tracks its internal sales strategy in real-time, using continuous monitoring to identify gaps and evaluate existing solutions.

When it comes to sales enablement data, what do you measure and how do you measure it?

We group data into three distinct buckets: results, effort and learning (REL). The components around results are aligned with standard KPIs, focusing on the ultimate goal of quota attainment. Beyond that, it’s important to monitor components surrounding effort. This can include tracking sales process-related activities, attendance in meetings and trainings, as well as willingness to lean in and support sales enablement strategies, such as formal mentorship programs.  

The third element, learning, is centered around performance metrics associated with trainings, certifications and observations of team performance. This holistic approach to data evaluation provides a realistic perspective on what gaps exist, and what components need additional attention to support shortened ramp time and increased confidence in the field.

We hold our team accountable to hitting [revenue] targets, and with that comes rewards and recognition.’’

 

What goals or targets are tied to these metrics, and what are some ways you support your sales team in reaching them?

Ultimately, the team has annual recurring revenue targets to hit. To attain those, the team is tasked with researching potential opportunities, expanding their reach, understanding the product/landscape/verticals and utilizing customer-facing collateral to support the buyer’s journey. We hold our team accountable to hitting these targets, and with that comes rewards and recognition. 

We strive to set our team up for success, and various technology platforms play an important role in our efforts. We’ve evaluated and altered our tech stack over the last few years to ensure that our solutions serve to increase our team’s effectiveness and improve their efficiency. To that end, we have implemented platforms that streamline content management, business development outreach and continuous learning, among others.

What’s one way this data has helped you fine-tune your sales enablement strategies, and what was the result?

Evaluating the data outcomes of REL components has allowed us to pinpoint areas of excellence within individuals and teams. Developing a formal mentorship program has allowed us to highlight and duplicate those areas, and has become an integral component of our initial onboarding process. In addition, evaluation of the learning components allows us to identify knowledge gaps and double down on ongoing skill development opportunities.

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