Sales enablement is more than another buzzword to use at work. It is a critical component of revenue generation for the modern business of any size.
Scott Albro over at TOPO describes it like this:
“Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help salespeople sell more effectively.”
It is the process of equipping your team with the information necessary through the sales engagement continuum to engage future customers throughout the purchasing process. You are providing your people with data which allows them to recognize sales cycles.
Better sales cycle recognition leads to increased revenues in every industry.
There are several forms of information that companies use when they focus on sales enablement. Best practices are the most common option used when following this type of initiative, but it also includes anything from CRM implementation to customer-facing content.
If the information offered is reusable across your sales efforts and is easy to consume, then your company benefits from the work in some way.
“Aligning marketing processes and goals, and then arming sales with tools to improve sales execution and drive revenue,” is how The Pedowitz Group defines sales enablement. When your marketing and sales teams work together, great things can and do happen.
How Critical Is Sales Enablement to Success?
Joe Gustafson, the Chief Executive Officer at Brainshark, says that you must tackle sales productivity from two different angles: improving effectiveness while increasing efficiency.
“Through a combination of people, processes, and technology, companies can overcome sales challenges, help their ‘B’ and ‘C’ reps perform like ‘A’ players, and support more valuable sales conversations that drive more results.”
That’s why content, such as sales analytics, offer reps access to the primary data points necessary to provide a custom experience for each future customer.
These sales enablement statistics provide evidence of that fact.
Important Sales Enablement Statistics
1. Companies which execute the best practices for sales enablement that are ranked as best-in-class as a strategy experience an almost 14% increase in their annual contract values and overall deal size. (Aberdeen)
2. 19% more growth occurs when a business aligns their marketing and sales departments to enable better communication. (Sirius Decisions)
3. Failing to align your sales and marketing teams around the best practices for technologies or processes results in the loss of at least 10% of possible revenues for B2B companies. (Kapost)
4. Enterprise organizations lose over $2.3 million each year because of opportunities costs associated with underused or unused marketing content. (Sirius Decisions)
5. In 2013, fewer than 1 in 5 companies dedicated resources that were specific to sales enablement. By the end of 2017, almost 60% of organizations focused on this critical business function. (CSO Insights)
6. Only 5.9% of organizations say that they either met or exceeded all of their sales enablement initiative expectations in the previous year. (CSO Insights)
7. About 14% of companies admit that they haven’t taken on any significant initiatives relating to the processes of sales enablement. (CSO Insights)
8. 84% of sales reps can achieve their quotas when their employer engages with the best-in-class sales enablement strategies which are currently available to them. (Aberdeen)
9. 74% of companies which fall under the classification of “high performing” have a strong sales and marketing alignment within their organization. Only 45% of all businesses regardless of their classification can say the same. (Aberdeen)
Sales Enablement Creates More Opportunities
10. 43% of the top-performing companies today employ a minimum of 7 full-time sales enablement professionals under their brand umbrella. (Sirius Decisions)
11. 58% of the deals in the average pipeline stall at some point because the sales department is unable to offer customized content for each future customer. (Sirius Decisions)
12. 40% of future customers say that they prefer salespeople who listen and understand their situation, then offer solutions which are a match that can solve specific problems they have. (Harvard Business Review)
13. 30% of potential clients say that they prefer salespeople who earn their trust because they take the time to make them comfortable. That’s the same percentage who also prefer that their reps will challenge their perceptions and thoughts, then offer a solution they might not have considered otherwise. (Harvard Business Review)
14. Only 1 in 3 customers say they prefer the best-known or most prestigious brand or company with the highest cost or functionality. Just 5% said that they would prefer an unknown brand even if the product offered were 60% of the price and 75% of the functionality of the best-known option in the market. (Harvard Business Review)
15. The average salesperson spends about 440 hours each year trying to find the right content to share for their prospects and customers. 90% of B2B sellers don’t even use their sales materials because the information is either difficult to customized, outdated, or utterly irrelevant for their needs. (Inc.)
16. 86% of future customers take the time to listen if their salesperson can provide meaningful insights about their business using the products or services they represent. (LinkedIn)
17. 86% of sales managers believe that having access to digital tools, like a CRM, will improve job performance. Mobile devices can fundamentally change the nature of the sales process for a company of any size. (Adobe)
18. 83% of companies which report a minimum of $750 million in annual revenues have a plan to deploy a sales enablement team if they have not done so already. (Sirius Decisions)
19. 59% of the companies which have surpassed their revenue targets for the year have a defined sales enablement function which they follow. 72% of the companies which exceeded their revenue goals by 25% or more have this function as well. Only 30% of underperforming companies can say the same thing. (Forbes)
Sales Enablement Builds Relationships
20. 71% of C-Suite executives say that sales productivity is a critical component of the future growth expected from their organization. (Forbes)
21. 55% of the executives in the C-Suite say that sales enablement solutions are the top technology investment necessary to boost sales productivity. 53% of these leaders specifically state that CRM solutions are a meaningful way to improve sales opportunities. (Forbes)
22. 70% of the most successful companies in the United States provide a consistent sales message throughout the entire prospect journey, compared to just 37% of all the other companies. (Forbes)
23. Companies which take the correct approach through sales enablement are 96% more likely to achieve a competitive level of sales sophistication. Predictable results happen when a company aligns every component of their sales method. (Aberdeen)
24. Only 28% of sales reps today follow some type of a structured time management system. Just 18% of their time is spent using a CRM system. (Business Wire)
25. 37% of the time a sales rep spends each day is on revenue generation activities. (Business Wire)
26. 56% of companies today are not using a lead scoring system when communicating with their prospects. Without this tool, there is no reliable way to identify the leads which are the closets to becoming future customers of yours. (Decision Tree)
27. Companies which employ between 100 to 500 people will give at least seven individuals the authority to make purchasing decisions. Sales reps must have access to multiple data points when making a pitch because they’re not answering the questions of just one contact. They’re getting questions from numerous people at once. (The Brevet Group)
28. The average prospect receives over 100 emails per day when they’ve made it known that they’re interested in a product or service. Out of these contacts, the buyer opens about 20% of their messages, but then clicks on just 2% of them. (Tellwise)
29. 65% of reps report that they’re unable to locate meaningful content to send to their prospects, which makes this the most common complaint for sales teams in the United States to address. (Kapost)
Sales Enablement Does Require a Time Commitment
30. 71% of sales reps feel that they’re spending too much time on their data entry responsibilities. Up to 40% of all sales updates may never make it into your CRM because individual assessments are made about the value of information that should be entered in the system. (Inc.)
31. 92% of all customer interactions with the average sales team happen over the phone. Cold calling isn’t dying as some firms might suggest. Telephone contacts offer meaningful learning opportunities which can further the sales enablement process across the entire team. (The Brevet Group)
32. The average sales rep must make an average of 8 cold calling attempts to reach a prospect, which is why one must never give up if the prospecting work is not fruitful at first. You must be persistent and continue undeterred. Knowing when to call helps too, as the best time to place a cold call is between 4pm and 5pm – a time when most reps are getting ready to go home for the day. (The Brevet Group)
33. Up to 50% of sales will go to the vendor who responds first when a prospect asks a question. Speed is essential to the sales enablement process, but it is not the only element of it. The quality of your response will be judged too. (The Brevet Group)
34. 44% of sales representatives give up on a prospect, no matter how well the firm or individual scores, after just one follow-up attempt. 80% of sales require a minimum of five follow-up calls after a meeting takes place. (The Brevet Group)
35. 13% of all jobs in the United States are full-time sales positions. 1 in every 8 workers relies on an effective sales enablement process to further their career opportunities. (The Brevet Group)
36. Email is about 40 times better to use when acquiring new customers compared to efforts on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. (McKinsey)
37. Reps who use information from a sales enablement practice, and actively pursue leads, earn up to 5 times more each year compared to salespeople who don’t use this information. (Top Sales World)
38. Even though only 11% of salespeople ask for a referral, 91% of customers say that they’d offer one of they were asked. The worst thing someone can do is tell you that they won’t give you one. Stop suggesting that a customer could give you a referral and just ask them directly. (Dale Carnegie)
39. The average company will spend up to $15,000 to hire a salesperson, then spend less than $2,000 each year to provide them with meaningful sales training. (Bridge Group)
Sales Enablement Identifies a Prospect’s Needs
40. The average time to onboard a new salesperson to have them become fully productive is 10 months. (Brainshark)
41. 75% of buyers say that they prefer not meeting a salesperson face-to-face. (Vorsight)
42. 45% of prospects say that want their needs identified, with solutions evaluated for them, before they ever begin the engagement process with a sales representative. From this group, about 1 in 5 people say that they want their rep ready to negotiate with them before they get together for the first meeting. (CSO Insights)
43. 65% of buyers view salespeople in a positive light. Another 32% say that they look at reps in a neutral way. If your sellers claim that they struggle with their quota because they keep getting adverse reactions from their prospects, then they’re either A) having terrible luck; B) not working hard enough to change minds; or C) not fulfilling their obligations. (CSO Insights)
44. 43% of buyers say that they prefer resources from subject matter experts from their industry or a third-party observation to solve their business problems. About 36% say that their preferred resource is a past experience with a vendor. These options are followed by vendor websites (35%), industry events or trade shows (34%), peers and colleagues (30%), and industry professionals (30%). (CSO Insights)
45. Only 23% of potential buyers say that one of their preferred resources used to solve a business problem is their vendor salesperson. (CSO Insights)
46. Over 70% of potential buyers wait until after they have fully defined needs before they engage with a salesperson. 44% wait until they’ve identified solutions first. About 20% only begin the engagement process when they’re ready to lock down the details of a solution. (CSO Insights)
47. Only 10% of potential buyers think that all vendors who offer solutions for a problem they face are equal in their approach. Almost 60% say that one vendor is typically a little better than the others, which influences their final purchasing decision. (CSO Insights)
48. 95% of B2B buyers say that they research companies online before making a purchase, with some even waiting to engage with a sales team until they know everything they can about this new potential relationship. That is why offering a content-forward approach helps to close more deals. The sales engagement process begins before you’re aware of what someone may need. (Accenture)
49. 71% of B2B buyers say they prefer a sales process which allows them to research independently and make purchases online. That means the role of the salesperson shifts to one of availability and support if the prospect has questions which they cannot answer on their own. (Accenture)
Sales Enablement Creates Early Engagement Opportunities
50. 91% of prospects say that they are willing to engage with a sales representative early on during their buying journey. 34% want to do so when they are a new buyer in their industry or field, with another 21% saying they prefer a fast start when they feel like they’re making a risky purchase for themselves or their employer. (CSO Insights)
51. About 85% of potential buyers will accept a meeting with a sales representative who reaches out to them about an opportunity. That means your rep has between 5-10 minutes to offer something of specific value to the buyer to close the deal. That’s why good CRM recordkeeping creates so many potential opportunities. (RAIN Group)
52. Only 5% of sellers say that sending out a bulk email is an effective way to contact prospects. The reason why this effort fails so often is that the content of the message is impersonal. “Upping your email automation game contributes to this desired relevancy. In fact, companies that send automated emails are 133% more likely to send relevant messages that correspond with a customer’s purchase cycle.” (Campaign Monitor)
53. 77% of buyers say that they respond favorably when receiving an email from a new provider or vendor within the past 12 months. That means it is up to you to catch the attention of a decision-maker right away through the quality of your content. (RAIN Group)
54. Buyers who are in the C-Suite or hold an SVP or Vice President title prefer to be contacted over the phone (57%), which is higher than any other group. 51% of directors say they prefer this contact method, while only 47% of managers want someone to call them. (RAIN Group)
55. 58% of sales meetings do not provide value to the buyer, which is why an insight-oriented seller is 3 times more likely to be a successful prospector compared to the average sales rep. (RAIN Group)
56. 96% of buyers say that the primary factor which influences their decision to purchase is that the provider focused on the value which was deliverable. That’s higher than a preference for collaboration (93%), presenting new ideas or perspectives (92%), or industry and market insights which relate to the buyer’s organization (92%). (RAIN Group)
57. 82% of buyers say that they look up their providers or their sales rep before replying to an initial outreach effort. That’s why you must create a positive first impression with your content before you begin the prospecting process in the first place. (RAIN Group)
58. Risk-takers are 5 times more likely to prefer engaging with a seller early compared to those who are skeptics. 52% of buyers want to engage early, compared to 115 of skeptics. (CSO Insights)
59. 45.6% of buyers say that they prefer the introduction of a new idea at the beginning of a conversation. Only 7% say that they want a new idea offered to them as a follow-up to a first call. (CSO Insights)
Sales Enablement Encourages Personalization
60. Personalized email messages are opened at a 26% higher rate when compared to a generic email send or bulk marketing effort. (Experian)
61. Almost half of all emails which are sent because of sales enablement processes are viewed by buyers on a mobile device, with about 1 in 5 of these messages opened. (IBM)
62. Around 60% of the personalized emails received are classified as being “read,” which means the prospect will spend at least 8 seconds going through the message. About 1 in 5 opened messages are skimmed, which means they receive between 2-7 seconds of attention. (Experian)
63. Web-generated leads which receive a phone call within 5 minutes are 100 times more likely to be qualified when compared to a slower response. Despite this need for speed, the average time to respond to prospects who are web-active is about 3 hours. (Lead Response)
64. The automotive and transportation industry sees the highest open rates for email contacts with a 45% mean and a 53% median. Insurance follows with a 31% mean, with computer hardware and telecommunications reaching 30%. This open rate sets the stage for an explosion of online shopping, especially on mobile devices. (IBM)
65. Consumer services had the lowest open rates for email engagement on 2017 at just 15%. They were followed by corporate services at 19%, which was the same percentage achieved by the media and publishing industry. (IBM)
66. The United States has one of the highest mean click-through rates in the world at 3%, yet it ranks in the lower third for the top quartile CTR at 8.8%. Europe leads the world with the top quartile CTR at 13.9%, followed by Australia and New Zealand at 13.6%, then the United Kingdom and Ireland at 12.3%. (IBM)
67. Transactional click-through rates are 2.5 times more likely to achieve success in the top quartile compared to non-transactional CTRs, even if the Internet “feels” slow. (IBM)
68. In 2018, transactional emails offered a media CTR of 4.8%, compared to the median 1.6% CTR of non-transactional messages. (IBM)
69. The Asia-Pacific region offers the highest click-to-open median in the world at 12.7%, which is just above continental Europe at 12.6%. The United States is a little below average in this category, at only 8.5% compared to the global mean of 9.5%. (IBM)
Sales Content and Enablement Must Work Together
70. Content marketing gets three times the leads for every dollar spent when compared to paid search opportunities. This option is also 62% less in cost for the average company when compared to traditional outbound marketing efforts. (Content Marketing Institute)
71. The average person saw about 2,000 unique advertisements per day in 1984. During the next 30 years, that rate more than doubled. Even with 615 million devices using ad blocking software today, you’re going to see at least 5,000 ads per day. (Content Marketing Institute)
72. A small business which updates their blog regularly will see 126% more lead growth compared to a company of a similar size which doesn’t blog – or doesn’t update their blog on a predictable schedule. If you publish 16+ times per month, then you’ll receive 3.5 times more traffic than a company publishing 4 or fewer articles or posts. (Content Marketing Institute)
73. 61% of online consumers decided to make a purchase when the sales enablement process included specific product or service recommendations. Good content builds trust in a way that other methods cannot match. That’s why your sales reps must continue to listen and seek pain point resolution as one of their primary outreach efforts. (Content Marketing Institute)
74. Only 42% of B2B marketing teams rate their organization as being “very effective” or “effective” in their use of content marketing. 41% feel like their efforts are neutral. “Content marketers are not recklessly rushing ahead,” writes Eric Wittlake. “They’re actually holding back.” (Mark Schaefer)
75. 78% of consumers believe that an organization which provides custom content want to build good relationships with them. (Key Difference Media)
What Can We Learn About Sales Engagement?
According to Steve W. Martin at Harvard Business Review, just 54% of sales leaders today report that at least 50% of their people made quota for the year. One in five companies has fewer than half of their salespeople make quota.
The sales cycle is getting longer too. 54% of sales managers report that their average cycle length was 90+ days for outside sales. 70% say that inside sales cycles are 60 days or less in comparison.
Your people require relevant information to close deals. The prospects you speak with every day give you the data necessary to help your sales enablement processes. It requires a series of steps to turn your strategy into customers. Are you on that journey?
Are you collecting this information in any way right now?
Rodrigo Rojas, Chief Executive Officer at Sales Hacker, suggests that smaller companies are using a CRM just 10% to 20% of the time.
Effective data use will open more doors for your sales and marketing teams. It will help your people find new opportunities to match products or services because they’re listening to what the prospects tell them.
It is a process which leads to more revenues for the average company in a short time. Nucleus Research found that the average CRM offers $8.71 in returns for every $1 spent. That’s an impressive ROI – does it match yours right now?
The Heath Brothers wrote in “Made to Stick” that 63% of people will remember your stories, but only 5% of them will remember your statistics.
Let your sales enablement processes start telling your story today.