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A New Study Links Sales Enablement to Higher Conversion Rates

Posted in:  Sales and Marketing Management, Sales Enablement Strategy

ABM. Social Selling. Predictive Analytics. Sales Enablement. Which one is most effective at boosting sales performance?  Hard to compare, exactly, as the best practice is to do them all.  But a recent survey found that those companies focused on sales enablement, on average, saw a 10% improvement on pipeline conversion rates.

A new Highspot/Heinz Marketing survey of nearly 400 B2B respondents titled “The Sales Enablement Practitioner Survey” shows a heightened investment in sales enablement teams, initiatives, and technology directly—and in many cases dramatically—increases sales conversion rates for B2B companies.

According to the survey, more than 50% of companies that have committed to sales enablement efforts have experienced improved sales conversion rates of greater than 10%. A full 23% of companies have seen conversion rates increase by 20% or more, and 11% have increased their conversion rate by greater than 30%. That’s a 30% increase in revenue from existing pipeline!

Here are a few other interesting tidbits I pulled out of the survey, which you can read in full here (Sales Enablement Practitioner Survey 2016).

  • 79% of organizations with sales teams larger than 10 reps are doing some form of structured sales enablement activities
  • A majority (53%) have teams dedicated to sales enablement
  • 67% of organizations with 100 sales reps or more report dedicated sales enablement teams, but only 44% of those in the mid-market (11-99 sales reps) have dedicated teams

Clearly, sales enablement is a hot, upwardly trending business process.  Executive leadership recognizes the positive impact: 66% of respondents to our survey said budgets are increasing. Thirty-six percent said this increase is at least 11% year-over-year from 2015 to 2016. And, budgets for sales technology are increasing as well. Fifty-five percent of organizations increased their budgets for sales technology from 2015, with 37% reporting an increase of 11% or more.

Where are sales enablement teams spending their time?

We see it time and again—once you put structure around sales enablement, the results start rolling in, and both sales and marketing get more invested in optimizing efforts—which leads to even better results. Survey respondents told us firsthand what they do to make the most of their sales enablement initiatives. If you want to have an immediate impact on sales conversions, these areas are a great place to start.

  • Seventy-six percent said it’s critical to reduce the amount of time your sales team spends on non-selling activities. This seems like a no-brainer: Reduce non-selling activities so your sales team can sell more. However, many sales reps spend way too much time away from core selling activities. Our study found that on average reps were spending between 2-5 hours per week searching for content, 2-5 hours creating content and roughly 4-7 hours in their CRM system. Modern sales enablement practices can eliminate or reduce much of this.
  • Seventy-six percent agreed that reps must have easy access to content. We mention this a lot, and it’s a staggering fact: 65% of marketing-produced content is wasted because sales simply can’t find it. Making it easy for your sales reps to find the right content quickly is foundational. Providing marketing with a way to measure what content is working and how to improve content quality is revolutionary.
  • Sharing best practices is also imperative, as cited by 65% of survey respondents. Sales is a dynamic environment with product and message changing regularly and buyers’ needs varying across industry, size, and buying cycle. Good sales reps are constantly asking their peers what’s working well in order to improve their performance. Having a platform in place that enables data-driven analysis of what content, pitches, and processes are most effective in various situations lifts the performance of the entire team. Only Highspot has Content Genomics™, proprietary technology that tracks how content evolves across an organization, surfacing insights into content quality and performance.
  • Sixty-four percent said training must be improved. The idea that you can train an entire sales force—regardless of size—on new products, new methodology, new features, and even new sales techniques once a quarter is dead. It’s been proven wrong so many times, and yet so many organizations are hanging onto this idea as “the way it’s done.” Successful sales organizations integrate training into their sales enablement workflow so that reps can be trained “just in time” when the content is most likely to stay fresh for a client conversation.
  • The right technology is critical, according to 61% of respondents. Sales enablement technology has come a long way since first generation solutions. Modern technology is empowering sales enablement teams to use data to measure and improve performance. By vetting, deploying, and implementing the right sales enablement technology, you can solve challenges one through four.

I hope you found value in these insights from your counterparts in organizations large and small. If you’re still looking into sales enablement, our Definitive Guide to Sales Enablement will step you through the process of selecting, designing, deploying, and optimizing a solution that meets your organization’s unique needs. And if you’re ready to see how Highspot can help you turn your existing pipeline into more revenue, just contact us for a custom demo.