Metrics That Matter

100 Metrics that Matter

for Sales Enablement, Content Marketing and Value Selling

Digital and Remote – Here to Stay

Forrester indicates that post-crisis, the world of b2b sales and marketing will not return to the way it was before:

  • 53% of workers who are currently remote hope they will be able to continue to work from home (WFH) more often even after the crisis is over.
  • 44% of US workers glad their business travel has been cut back
  • 38% of respondents said the in-person sales meeting had decreased in value.

As a result of this and more, Forrester is making a very bold prediction, but one we believe will hold true:

  • 80% of B2B sales will now be done digitally and remotely
Source: Forrester, including:
– The Democratization Of B2B Sales – Talent Wins Games, But Teamwork And Intelligence Win Championships
– Future Onsite Meetings will Come at a Premium
– Interview with Mary Shea – August 2020

The Growing Buying Committee

According to Gartner, the number of decision makers per deal has grown again, to include:

  • 14 for smaller purchases, <1M
  • 19 for medium sized purchases, of between $1 and $5M
  • 23 for enterprise-level decisions of greater than $5M
Source: Gartner – Occasional Buying Team Participants Adding Value or Adding Complexity?

Buying Ain’t Easy

According to Gartner:

  • 77% of B2B buyers state that their last purchase was very complex or difficult
  • 94% of those B2B buyers surveyed experienced a cancelled purchase cycle, ending in “no decision”
  • 84% of B2B buyers report that when a buying cycle does culminate in a “Yes” decision, it is taking longer than expected, for many up to two times longer.

Sellers Report Internal Purchase Decision Challenges

Sellers are reporting a struggle with internal purchase decision challenges, with:

  • 78% indicating that their top internal decision-making challenge is dealing with multiple stakeholders with different agendas,
  • 49% indicating that their buyers and customers are taking longer to make decisions.

No Decision

Many forecasted deals end up struggling to close, and indefinitely stalled. In fact, according to CSO Insights:

  • Less than half (47.3%) of forecasted business ends up being closed
  • A third (32.0%) is lost to the competition
  • Over 20% ends up being indefinitely stalled, lost to “no decision”

The Modern Buyer Challenge

Buyers have substantially changed:

  • 67% of the buyer’s journey is done before speaking to a sales rep (SiriusDecisions / Forrester)
  • 40% of buyers say they prefer salespeople who offer solutions that solve their specific challenges (DiscoverOrg)
  • 77% of buyers expect sellers to help them learn something new and share customized data insights (Forrester)
  • 86% of buyers take the time to listen if their salesperson can provide meaningful insights about their business (Forrester)
  • 88% – The percent of buyers who agree that the salespeople they ultimately do business with are “trusted advisors.” At the same time, just 40% of decision makers describe the sales profession as “trustworthy.” So, while buyers may distrust the sales profession in the aggregate, they do trust the salespeople they eventually buy from (Linkedin)

What a Buyer Wants. What a Buyer Needs

According to Forrester research of what buyers want from their sellers:

  • 74% of buyers value sellers who pivot meetings to discuss what the buyer wants to talk about, not just a blind pitch
  • 77% treasure getting customized data and insights from sellers who can teach them something new
  • 75% want sellers to show how their products and services drive business value outcomes.

The New Reality

The new reality from COVID 19 and the resultant lockdown and economic uncertainty poses a significant challenge for sales professionals.

A LinkedIn survey of more than 500 sales professionals found that:

  • 51% of their customers were experiencing budget cuts
  • 45% indicated that specific industries were at a standstill
  • 42% said there was turnover or layoffs at their customers’ companies

The tightening economic conditions are impacting reps ability to sell:

  • 44% of respondents anticipated a decrease in responsiveness to outreach
  • 44% of sellers indicated that their customer’s sales cycles had increased

Buyer changes over past 12 to 18 months?

How have buyers changed over the past 12 to 18 months? The top three responses indicated in the State of Sales Enablement Report for 2020 were:

  • 53% – indicate that Buyers require more financial justification
  • 50% – say that Buyers conduct more research prior to engaging with sales
  • 46% – signify that Buyers have increased expectations for value-added insights

Today’s Buyer Prefers Digital?

According to Forrester research:

  • 62% of B2B buyers say they can now develop selection criteria for finalizing a vendor list based solely on digital content
  • 70% of prospects say that buying from a website is the most convenient way to buy business products or services
  • 67% of buyers prefer not to interact with a sales representative as their primary source of information.

Are Sellers still Relevant?

Forrester research reports that seller engagement will increase by 10% even as more transactions close digitally. However, sellers are falling short:

  • 77% of B2B buyers want integrated customized data or insights from sellers and 77% also want sellers to “help me learn something new”
  • 75% of B2B prospects want sellers to “show how their products and services impact my business”, providing relevant use-cases, business value communication and quantification and success story proof-points
  • 2/3rds of B2B buyers want access to products, parts and inventory availability online

Buyers Value Good Information and Purchase Ease

Gartner research found that 89% of customers indicated they are receiving high-quality information during the purchase process and that customers who received valuable information from suppliers to help advance the journey were.

  • 2.8x more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease.
  • 3x more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret.
Source: Gartner – The B2B Buying Journey –

Vendors Struggle to Get Buyer Time and Attention

According to Gartner,

  • Only 17% of the buyer’s journey is spent in meetings with potential suppliers.
  • The rest of the time is spent meeting with the buying group (22%), on researching independently online (27%), researching independently offline (18%) and other (16%).
Source: Gartner – The B2B Buying Journey –

Enterprise Deals: More Friction & More Effort

The magic numbers for enterprise deals, over $100k:

  • 6 – There are (at least) 6 decision-makers who are signing off on the new purchase.
  • 14 – There’s a bigger group of 14 stakeholders who are involved in the evaluation process.
  • 19 – On average, it takes 19 meetings to complete the sales cycle.
Source: Bain Capital Partners

The Value Gap

There is a distinct value gap between what buyers expect and what sellers deliver:

  • 21% of buyers said that their interactions with sellers are “low-value”
  • 80% of sellers still predominantly pitch products and services
  • Only 20% are focused on what buyers really care about: their challenges, potential improvements, and the business value outcome of proposed solutions.
Source: Forrester – Advancing Beyond PowerPoints to Value Selling –

Sales Enablement Slowdown?

Sales enablement investments were growing but have slowed. Is it because the bloom is off the rose and the investments have not delivered?

Did you know…

  • 80% growth- Between 2016 and 2017, CSO Insights reports that the percentage of organizations with sales enablement jumped from 33% to 59%
  • 1.5% – Since then however, the growth has slowed. Two years on, the percentage of organization who have implemented sales enablement grew to only 61% (an anemic 1.5% annualized growth).
  • 3 out of 4 falling short – There is general disappointment with current sales enablement efforts. CSO Insights reports that the percentage of sales enablement organizations that met or exceeded stakeholder expectations dropped from 36% in 2018 to 28% in 2019. This means that almost 3 out of every 4 sales enablement groups are falling short.
Source: CSO Insights – The Fifth Annual Sales Enablement Study

Sales Enablement Shortfall?

How much is Sales Enablement being adopted and utilized to full effect?

Did you know…

  • Only 5% of B2B companies have fully mature sales enablement practices (Forrester)
  • Only 55% have rolled out SEA, the most mature of these tools (Forrester)
  • Only 9% of B2B organizations say they are optimized around placing buyers at the center of their sales enablement strategies. (Forrester)
Source: Forrester – Building the Business Case for a Modern Sales Enablement Toolset

Can Your Sellers Find the Right Content?

Sellers continue to struggle to find and customize content for customer engagements:

  • 65% of sales reps can’t find the right content to send to prospects (Saleshub)
  • 43% – of B2B marketing decision-makers report that their companies have lost sales as a consequence of not having necessary content at the right time for a specific customer and 77% of the rest have experienced costly delays (Forrester/Forbes)
  • 55% – the average time a sales rep squanders searching for the content they need and customizing the content for particular presentations and prospects (SiriusDecisions)
  • 440 hours wasted by sales each year trying to find the right content (Forrester)
  • >50% – the time, marketing is slow in responding to sales team requests for content, so sales team members resort to improvising their own content (Demand Metric)
SalesHub – Rinaldo, Jordan. 20 Sales Enablement Statistics You Can’t Ignore.

Turn on the PowerPoint and Turn Off Your Buyer

Traditional, big, linear presentation decks are not effective:

  • One in three – admit to falling asleep during a PowerPoint presentation (MarketingProfs)
  • One in five – would rather go to the dentist than sit through another presentation (Zogby)
  • 74% of buyers want sellers to pivot the presentation / meeting to discuss what the buyer wants to talk about (Forrester)
  • Five hours – the time each week the average seller wastes customizing presentations for customer meetings (Forrester)
Source: Forrester – Forrester analysis of Evolved Selling –

Are Your Spending Right on Your Content Marketing

Content marketing spend is often suboptimal:

  • 28% of marketing spend is currently spent on content (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 65% of content provided for sales is wasted because sales reps can’t find the content or because the content is perceived as low value or is not relevant to their selling scenarios (SiriusDecisions)
  • $2.3 million is wasted each year on underused or unused marketing content (Forrester)
  • 2/3’s of organizations report that they lose deals because they don’t have the content they need. (Demand Metric)

Can you Ensure Content Compliance?

Content consistency and compliance can be a challenge, with:

  • 4 out of 10 organizations admit that content is fragmented: a lack of consistency in expressing branding and key messages (Demand Metric)
  • 50% of the time – marketing is slow in responding to sales team requests for content, so sales team members resort to improvising their own content (Demand Metric)
  • 1/4 of sales teams – say they always or often create content without waiting for marketing to do it, unknowingly contributing to content fragmentation in the process (Demand Metric)

Value Selling is a Requirement

In today’s more frugal, risk averse environment, value selling is not a nice to have, but a requirement:

  • 66% of buyers say making a clear ROI case highly influences their purchase decisions, however, only 16% of sellers are very effective at this. (The Rain Group)
  • 95% of B2B buyers now require financial justification on any significant purchase, now set at $50,000 or more (IDC)
  • 2/3rds of buyers don’t have the time, knowledge, or tools needed to make business value assessments and calculations. (IDC)
  • 81% of buyers expect vendors to quantify the value of proposed solutions and provide a formal business case proposal. (IDC)
  • Only one in five buyers will ask for a business case. (IDC)
Source: Virtual Selling Skills and Challenges Report 2020 – The Rain Group

Importance of Business Value Assessment Tools

“Which content do you prefer to receive from a vendor you are interested in purchasing a solution from?”.

  • #1 – Thought leadership content by Independent Third Party (43%)
  • #2 – Value Assessment Tools (42%)
  • #3 – Case Studies (40%)
  • #4 – #8 – White papers, recorded demos, video, e-books and blogs
Use ROI Calculation Platforms and Tools to Convey Value to Prospective Buyers, Published 13 March 2020 – ID G00465887 Author: David Yockelson

A Failure to Launch

New product launches need good sales enablement:

  • 18-24 months are spent getting a new major campaign / product “ready” for launch (SBI)
  • 40% of new campaign / product launches fail (New Product Success)
  • #1 – The biggest barrier to success for a new product / campaign launch is lack of preparation in the go-to-market and sales launch (HBR 2)
New Product Success – Myth About New Product Failure Rates –

The Content Management Struggle

Content Management has improved for many, but for some, remains a challenge:

  • 68% of organizations have five or more repositories (Docurated)
  • 60% of organizations report content growing at a rate of a least 100 percent per year (Docurated)
  • Over 90% of the content is currently managed in emails, file shares and cloud storage (Docurated)

Are Your Sellers Falling Short?

Sellers fail to meet performance and buyer expectations:

  • 47% of sales reps did not meet their quota goals last year, the fifth straight year of decline, where the percentage of sales reps missing quota continues to grow (this while the economy grew over the same period). (CSO Insights – Buyer Preferences Survey)
  • A whopping 69% of sales reps are considered middle performers, those that are underperforming, but could be improved (Salesforce)
  • Most buyers (58%) saw little difference among sellers, and 10.4% found no difference at all. When solutions are commoditized, The differentiation rests on the buying experience. (CSO Insights – Buyer Preferences Survey)
Salesforce – State of Sales 2018

Are your Sellers Pitching or Listening?

The rank of “active listening” among the attributes that buyers most value from salespeople. This trait didn’t even rank in the top five for sales managers in their hiring process for sales reps. (LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2020)

Sellers are not performing adequate discovery:

  • 57% of buyers indicate that their sales reps could do a much better job of discovery (Primary Intelligence)
  • 1 in 5 buyers Indicate their sales reps have “poor” understanding of their business needs (Primary Intelligence)
  • 90% of buyers would meet with sellers earlier but are delaying these engagements because sellers don’t take the time to understand their business and add value to the assessment. (CSO Insights – Buyer Preferences Survey)
What Sales Winners Do Differently – the Rain Group – Research conclusions from more than 700 B-to-B purchases made by a broad sample of buyers who in aggregate were responsible for $3.1 billion in annual purchases –

Sales Training Conundrum

Sales training is required, but not always effective:

  • $10,000 – The cost per sales rep to implement a new sales methodology and training (Forbes)
  • 79%– In as little as 30 days, people forget 79% of what they’ve learned in training (Qstream)
  • 64% – Post-training reinforcement improves adoption. Users are 64% more likely (82% vs. 50%) to adopt when they have access to lessons learned on-the-fly by the entire team, and continuously incorporate them into and improve their ever-evolving methodology. (Aberdeen)

All Onboard

Whether you are growing or just replacing turnover, getting sales onboarding right is essential:

  • 34% is the current annual Sales turnover rate (Bridge Group)
  • 71% of companies take 6 months or longer to onboard new sales reps; and a third of all companies take 9 months or more (CSO Insights – Sales Enablement Optimization Study)
  • The #1 sales enablement productivity goal is “Reducing new salesperson ramp-up time”, indicated by 45% of sales executive respondents (CSO Insights – Sales Enablement Optimization Study)

Making Expand Selling a Priority

Assuring renewals and up / cross selling to existing customers is often the best sales opportunity:

  • 62% – indicate their top priority is “Driving growth through existing customers” (Forrester)
  • 3 to 4 times less – Expansion revenue from existing customers is 3 to 4 times less expensive to acquire than revenue from new-logo customers (TSIA)
  • 60 to 70% – The probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%, while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% (MarketingMetrics)
  • 3 to 4 times less – Expansion revenue from existing customers is 3 to 4 times less expensive to acquire than revenue from new-logo customers (TSIA)
Forrester – It’s Time to Enable Your Channel Partners for Evolved Selling
Salesforce –
TSIA – State of Expand Selling – 2017:

Can you Spot the Difference?

It’s getting harder to differentiate from the competition:

  • 31% of potential deals are lost to the competition (CSO Insights – Sales Enablement Optimization Study)
  • 58% – Most buyers (57.7%) saw little difference among sellers, and 10.4% found no difference at all (CSO Insights – Buyer Preferences Survey)
  • 41% of sales executives indicate that their top sales execution challenge is “difficulty differentiating from competition” (CSO Insights – Sales Performance Optimization Study)
CSO Insights – Sales Enablement Optimization Study
CSO Insights – Buyer Preferences Study
CSO Insights – Sales Performance Optimization Study

The Importance of Indirect Sales and the Channel

Indirect sales and the channel are vital to revenue growth for many organizations:

  • 49% of revenue is from indirect channels, with the average company working with 176 partners (Forrester)
  • 35% of channel partners are falling short of their revenue targets (CSO Insights)
  • 9 to 10 – It can take 9 to 10 months to get a new partner productive (CSO Insights)
Forrester – It’s Time to Enable Your Channel Partners for Evolved Selling

Personalizing the Buying Experience is a Requirement

Your customers want a personalized buying experience:

  • 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
Sources: (AdWeek)

The Sales Adoption Challenge

Sellers don’t always adopt sales tools as anticipated:

  • Only 49% had a Sales Enablement Content Management solution with adoption rates of 76% or better (CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study)
  • 88% of sales professionals are unable to find or bring up critical sales material up on their smartphones, and 60% of sales organizations report a longer sales cycle due to a lack of proper tools. (CSO Insights)
  • 3x – high performing sales teams use three times as much sales technology as under performers (Forrester)

The Importance of Intelligence, Analytics and AI

  • 65% of sales rep time is spent on non-revenue generating tasks (Forrester)
  • 71% of sales reps feel they’re spending too much time on their data entry responsibilities (Forrester)
  • 76% of sales professionals say using sales analytics has significantly or somewhat improved their ability to provide customers with a consistent experience across every channel. Not only do analytics open the door to a more efficient, accurate, and personalized process, but it also gives sales teams deeper insights to optimize their selling process. (Salesforce)
  • 89% of top-performers indicate that technology is leveraged to glean better insight into how content is performing (CMI)
  • 72% of top-performing organizations go a step beyond, understanding the ROI of their content (CMI)
  • 80% of marketers in companies with good sales and marketing alignment show sellers both how and when to use content, and insights on content usage, consumption and effectiveness are essential to do this properly (Content Marketing Institute and LinkedIn).
  • 40% – the impact of AI technologies on labor productivity, enabling sellers and others to be make more efficient use of their time (Accenture)

Are You Enabling Everyone You Need To?

In Sales Enablement, it’s not just the rep that needs activation:

  • 9 – B2B buyers will have interactions with an average of nine different roles before signing on the dotted line.
  • 50% – Fifty percent of roles interacting with the buyer before purchase are not titles traditionally supported by sales enablement functions.
  • #1 – The most influential customer-facing persona on B2B buying decisions is not the sales rep; it is the vendor solutions specialist
  • 50% – Half of all B2B buyers met with a customer service rep during their purchasing journey – second only to the vendor sales rep.
SiriusDecisions – Enablement is the New Black – Ostrow, September 26, 2019

The Value of Enablement Across Roles?

Proper Sales Enablement beyond sales and across different vendor roles has significant value:

  • 12% – Reps in high-performing sales organizations spend 12% less time searching for and manipulating sales assets.
  • 47% – Organizations driving significant upsell are 47% more likely to enable customer success roles with an ongoing engagement plan.
  • 2x – Organizations with high customer retention are nearly twice as likely to map the post-sale customer journey.
SiriusDecisions – Enablement is the New Black – Ostrow, September 26, 2019

Sales Content Management Responsibilities

What sales content responsibilities are included in sales asset management (SAM)?

  • 72% – Delivery of sales content via online sales portal / platform
  • 64% – Mapping and organizing the sales content
  • 63% – Tracking, measurement and reporting on usage, consumption and value of the sales content
  • 60% – Creation of customer-facing assets
  • 53% – Creation of internal training and sales playbooks.
SiriusDecisions – Sales Asset Management Research Survey 2019

CRM and Sales Asset Management Integrations

The top three integration use cases between CRM and Sales Asset Management (SAM) are reported to be:

  • 60% – suggests content to reps for specific opportunities
  • 55% – provides access to training directly within CRM
  • 39% – sales assets available as a tab within the CRM system
SiriusDecisions – Sales Asset Management Research Survey 2019

Which Metrics to Track?

What high performing organizations track and report from their Sales Asset Management (SAM) system:

  • 69% – Content sent to buyers
  • 59% – Number of content views
  • 59% – Content tied to deal progression
  • 59% – Won deals by content usage
  • 59% – Content usage by rep
SiriusDecisions – Sales Asset Management Research Survey 2019

The Business Case for Sales Enablement?

With a return on investment (ROI) of 666%, modern sales enablement tools make great fiscal sense:
The productivity benefits include:

  • 28% less time spent entering and coping with CRM data requirements
  • 25% less time spent searching for needed content
  • 23% reduction in time spent customizing content
  • 23% less time working on low-value repetitive tasks (Forrester)

The growth benefits include:

  • 24% reduction in ramp time for new sales reps
  • 19% reduction in the time it takes to engage a new lead
  • 18% increase in the average number of transactions per seller (Forrester)
Forrester – Building the Business Case for a Modern Sales Enablement Toolset

The Business Case for Evolved Selling

Implementing Evolved Selling can have a significant impact on sales revenue performance, with independent validation of the business value benefits from Forrester, with:

  • Up to a 82% lift in buyers likely to consider new opportunities, driving repeat business
  • Up to a a 70% lift in buyers purchasing more than they scoped, driving an increase in cross sells
  • Up to a 60% increase in company growth, driving company growth
  • Up to a 43% increase in deal closure, pulling in next quarter or next fiscal year deals into current quarter
Forrester Research study of Mediafly customers implementing Evolved Selling methodologies.