Measuring Sales Enablement ROI in 2021: 3 Types of Metrics To Track


At a time when many sellers are still working remotely, sales enablement is more critical than ever before. However, many businesses do not know how to measure the ROI of their new sales enablement investments. In this article, Russell Wurth, vice president, sales enablement, Showpad, shares how this success can be measured.

Sales enablement is a relatively new concept, but it is one that is quickly caught on. According to the Fifth Annual Sales Enablement Study from CSO InsightsOpens a new window , 61.3% of organizations had a sales enablement person, initiative, or function going into 2020. In comparison, only 19.3% of organizations had sales enablement in 2013.

This rapid growth comes as no surprise. Today’s B2B buyers have higher expectations than ever before. Sales enablement helps sellers meet those expectations and, in turn, close more deals. In fact, CSO Insights found that organizations with a formal sales enablement charter in place have average win rates of 55.1%. This is compared to a 39.2% win rate for organizations that take a more random approach to enablement.

Of course, those larger win rates translate to a more significant boost to the bottom line.

At a time when the majority of sellers are still working remotely, sales enablement is more critical than ever before. Remote selling can be challenging, even for the most experienced sales reps. But sales enablement helps reps overcome challenges and ensures they always have the content, training, and coaching they need to deliver engaging, personalized selling experiences. This is especially crucial when sellers cannot be in the same room as buyers.

 Learn More: The New Sales Normal: Selling To the C-Suite Buyer

Most Organizations Fail To Measure Sales Enablement ROI

A growing number of organizations are investing in enablement teams, tools, and technology. But all too often, these companies are not measuring the impact of their efforts.

If that sounds familiar, you are certainly not alone. CSO Insights found that only a quarter of organizations consistently measure the impact of their enablement initiatives using both leading and lagging indicators. That means staggering three-quarters of organizations have little insight into how (or if) their sales enablement programs and initiatives are making an impact.

That is a big problem.

In the best of times, sales enablement practitioners were not required to track ROI, as most efforts were in person with onboarding, sales kickoffs, and quarterly business review (QBR) sessions that incorporated lectures and exercises. But this is no longer the case with remote selling becoming the standard and all investments coming under question for businesses. Teams are becoming leaner, budgets require a measurable impact, and activities need to have attribution to revenue performance. Sales enablement teams must be able to consistently prove impact on revenue, especially if they have their sights set on larger budgets in 2021 and beyond.

How To Determine Sales Enablement ROI

Continuous measurement of the right metrics ensures you are getting the most ROI from your sales enablement investments. It helps you get a full picture of what is working and identifies areas where you can improve performance. And, by proving ROI, you have got a better chance at securing additional resources.

Of course, the most basic way to calculate ROI is to divide the impact of a program or initiative by the amount of money you spent on it. That sounds simple enough, but calculating the ROI of sales enablement is very complicated. That is largely because there is no clear way to allocate costs. You are likely investing in tools, technology, and employees — not to mention the time going into enablement initiatives from experts in other departments. And these investments are aimed at improving enablement programs, including content, training, coaching, and more.

That is why it is vital to measure sales enablement by specific activities and deliverables, not a single function. Let us look at the three different types of metrics that are important to track to determine the true ROI of sales enablement.

1. Sales process and performance metrics

The ultimate goal of any sales enablement program is to boost sales performance. So perhaps the most obvious thing to measure is the impact sales enablement has on specific sales results.

While the head of sales and sales operations will be tracking quarterly and annual revenue attainment, there is a myriad of other metrics you also need to have visibility into to get a more holistic look at how sales enablement is impacting sales process and performance. Some key metrics include:

  • Lead conversion rate: The percentage of leads that become sales.
  • Average length of sales cycle: The amount of time that passes between initial contact to a closed deal.
  • Quota attainment: The number of reps achieving their quota and the average attainment.
  • Readiness course completion: The use and completion rate of training materials.
  • Marketing content usage: How frequently sales reps view and share marketing-created collateral.
  • Average purchase value: The average amount of revenue generated by a closed deal.

By understanding how sales enablement is impacting the sales process and performance, it is easier to determine where you need to rethink or strategize your processes.

2. Onboarding metrics

At many organizations, onboarding is one of the key responsibilities of sales enablement. After all, a great onboarding program ensures your sellers (and your entire organization) are set up for success. What is more, onboarding plays a major role in whether or not new sellers stick around for the long haul. According to the Society for Human Resources ManagementOpens a new window , 69% of employees would stay with a company long-term if they had a good onboarding experience.

It is critical to regularly track onboarding metrics to understand better what is working — and what needs to be improved. If onboarding is a service of your enablement team, be sure you are regularly tracking metrics, including:

  • Number of learning sessions attended
  • Average cost of onboarding sessions
  • Percentage of training materials accessed and used after onboarding
  • Ramp time
  • The time it takes for new hires to attain quota
  • Changes in first year seller retention

Though all of these metrics matter, seller retention is especially important. It is expensive to hire and onboard new hires, so it is essential to ensure your program is effectively equipping new sellers with everything they need to succeed.

 Learn More: B2B Sales Enablement in 2021: 3 Things Not To Do To Avoid Failure

3. ROI considerations that cannot be quantified

To get a complete picture of ROI, it is also essential to regularly assess factors that cannot be quantified. Some examples include:

  • Better buyer experience
  • Enhanced alignment between sales and marketing teams
  • Improved content and messaging consistency
  • Increased support from sales managers

Obviously, these “metrics” cannot be measured the same ways as more tangible ones like revenue. But improvements typically align with other positive results — like sales efficiency and effectiveness.

Start Measuring Sales Enablement ROI in 2021

The right sales enablement strategy and technology can have a significant impact on your bottom line. However, the majority of organizations today fail to measure the effectiveness of their enablement programs.

In 2021, make it a priority to measure the impact of sales enablement on the metrics that matter most to your organization. By doing so, you will shed light on where your program is shining and where it is falling short. Then, you can make impactful changes to help you get the biggest ROI from your sales enablement programs and initiatives and ensure your sellers are always ready to deliver winning buying experiences.