Successful selling requires support from an organization that can offer training, software tools, and other resources to improve sales effectiveness and performance at the individual and team-wide levels. The best way to build this infrastructure is through a sales enablement strategy, providing a framework to facilitate the collaboration, communication, and support that are necessary to excel in today’s business world.
But although sales professionals widely agree on the value of sales enablement, they don’t always have the hard numbers and other insights to back up their return-on-investment claims. This creates limitations for their sales enablement strategy, and not only because they can’t communicate the strategy’s value to other leaders in the business.
Without insight into your sales enablement performance, your department is unable to validate the results of its own efforts and use that feedback to improve its sales strategy. Validation of your enablement strategy will help you ensure that all of your strategic decision-making and sales best practices are evidence-based.
The best approach to validation is through in-depth reporting that can analyze sales interactions and other activities to identify strengths, weaknesses, and other trends related to your sales enablement strategy. Here’s a look at how your organization benefits from validation through reporting, and how to set it up at your company.
Benefits of using reports for validation
When it comes to sales enablement, knowledge is power. Here are some of the benefits that come with report-based validation.
Prove the ROI of your sales performance
The primary goal of sales enablement is to increase the overall value of sales efforts — that is, the revenue generated by a sales department, relative to the cost of those sales efforts.
Implementing a sales enablement strategy comes at an added cost, so it needs to deliver an ROI that not only exceeds its own expense, but also elevates the ROI of your overall sales performance to a level that justifies spending on sales enablement versus other value-added activities.
Business leaders will want to see this ROI as they evaluate sales enablement success. Reporting allows this information to be displayed in an easy-to-read format, using rich visual illustrations to quickly communicate the most essential information. Meanwhile, sales leaders can segment these reports to evaluate ROI by campaign or other parameters. This helps them evaluate the sales enablement strategy as it relates to specific aspects of sales performance, helping them better manage sales enablement to increase ROI in the future.
Improve accountability across your sales team
Reporting can provide an in-depth look at both team-wide and individual performance, highlighting areas where sales enablement has succeeded, as well as where it has fallen short. In some cases, poor performance could be a product of a failure to supply individual sales professionals with the right resources or training. But it could also help identify individuals who haven’t bought into the strategy and processes dictated by leadership.
Whatever the case, reporting offers visibility into sales performance that often isn’t possible without a data-rich validation process. This visibility will give leadership the ability to evaluate each individual’s contributions to ensure everyone is being held accountable in their assigned role.
Identify and address workflow bottlenecks
Managing the sales pipeline is crucial to the efficiency and productivity of your sales team. When bottlenecks develop, it puts conversion opportunities in jeopardy, and it can even damage your brand’s reputation — in addition to the internal cost of disorganized sales, and poor sales and marketing alignment.
Analytics and reporting can help identify these gaps and bottlenecks that are disrupting sales efforts and inhibiting sales performance. Whether it’s bottlenecks in the lead qualification process, poor communication, or other lapses in the marketing-to-sales handoff process, or a trend of other sales tasks not being handled promptly and properly, reporting can help identify these areas of weakness in your sales enablement strategy, giving your organization an opportunity to take corrective action — and possibly boost its ROI as a result.
Track performance by team, campaign strategy, and other segments
A digital reporting platform offers deep visibility and segmentation capabilities, allowing you to contextualize and evaluate performance at a granular level. Performance can be segmented according to team, campaign strategy, stage of the funnel, or other criteria to help you drill down to insights that wouldn’t be possible without the help of data-driven reporting.
This is even more powerful when you’re using sales technology and sales enablement tools that integrate with your reporting dashboard. With better connectivity and access to data, blind spots get eliminated, allowing you to analyze sales performance from any angle.
Improve time and resource management
As you leverage a sales enablement strategy to improve sales performance, resource allocation and management will take a central role. Whether it’s sales tools, specific training, or other solutions or development opportunities, you need to use sales enablement to manage the allocation of these resources in ways that deliver the greatest benefit to your sales team.
In a similar way, sales enablement can help you ensure your team is being utilized in the right way. Depending on performance numbers, this could mean asking a certain team member to focus on a specific campaign or strategy for which they deliver greater success, taking them off strategies and campaigns for which their numbers aren’t as strong. By managing staff and resources, you can ensure that your company’s sales assets are being applied in ways that optimize your performance potential.
Use historical sales data to improve your sales enablement strategy
Growing ROI and optimizing sales performance is a process that depends on access to historical sales data and analysis to identify opportunities for improvement. Just as with any sales or marketing strategy, sales enablement doesn’t deliver optimal results straight out of the box. Instead, this strategy provides a structure to enhance sales and increase ROI over time.
Reporting plays a crucial role in this process. With detailed reports and historical data in hand, sales leaders can oversee strategic changes that support better, more efficient sales practices. The combination of reporting and analytics enables deeper insights than the surface-level performance data provides, which allows your sales team to become smarter and more responsive to developing trends.
Even though historical data is reactive in nature, it offers incredible value in helping you better understand your existing sales strategy and how you can plan enhancements to that strategy.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of the benefits of using reports to validate your sales enablement strategy, but it does demonstrate why the combination of validation and reporting is important to organizations that want to remain competitive in today’s sales landscape.
The next challenge is figuring out how to integrate reporting into your current sales management practices.
How to implement better reporting
Many of today’s analytics and marketing tools provide built-in reporting for all of their users. These reporting tools can be customized to deliver exactly the kind of insights you’re seeking to enhance your sales enablement strategy.
The first step is to integrate a sales analytics solution that offers a suite of reporting features. Specifically, you should ensure that your reporting tool offers the following:
- Automated report generation: Make it easy to view certain types of reports by establishing filters that will automatically track and populate data, minimizing your management of these reports.
- The ability to create custom reports: Although basic, automated reports can offer great insights, you will want to be able to analyze data according to specific criteria. The ability to manually create reports through a reporting dashboard is key.
- The ability to download reports as CSV files: These files can then be added to Excel and other software programs for additional analysis and data manipulation, and to repackage that data in a more shareable format.
- An easy-to-use dashboard: Part of the benefit of reporting is that it simplifies the task of collecting and organizing data. You need a dashboard that is user-friendly, is easy to navigate, and doesn’t require much management.
An effective sales enablement strategy is built through not only an intuitive understanding of your sales team’s needs and selling success, but also an integration of the insights uncovered through sales analytics and reporting.
As you implement a sales enablement strategy, reporting will help you validate your results and optimize your efforts going forward. And as these changes take effect, continued validation will help you chart your progress in managing change and optimizing sales performance to deliver more value to your organization.