As always, I have avoided enablement statistics related to sales enablement technology. Vendors across the globe have plenty of those listed on their websites.
Note that this post is not an attempt at defining any best practices around what to measure, that is covered in our article on sales enablement metrics. However, as you consider your sales enablement strategy , and how you will layer in various tactics, these enablement statistics may be of value to you, they are to me.
Sales Enablement Awareness
Across the globe, businesses are grappling with the question of if they need a dedicated sales enablement function.
Individuals in Enablement, and outside of it, are looking for insights and data points to guide, educate, and support themselves.
You can see this in the number of searches executed with Google as one indicator.
Stat #1 -Search Volume
According to results from UberSuggest, the monthly volume of searches for “Sales Enablement” is holding around 5400 a month, unchanged over the last year.
This finding is understandable in a world where only half of the world knows what revenue/sales enablement is, and the other half have never heard the term.
Sales performance is about being prepared and having time, training, and content to support the process. Let’s examine a few stats about sales productivity and performance.
Stat #2 -> Percentage of sales time spent actively selling
While the exact percentage varies across research studies, it’s clear that your average B2B seller is only spending between 30% and 40% of their time actively selling. CSOInsights, when they still existed, had been reporting that sales reps spent about 33% of their time selling. Other studies back up that approximation, like this study from InsideSales.com that reported sales reps only spend 37% of their time on revenue-generating activities.
Enablement activities that give sellers as much time as possible to sell will pay off.
Community members will note that we called this out as an important statistic for explaining why and what Enablement is in your business, part of our role-playing series for Enablers.
Stat #3 -> Recent statistics show that more and more B2B buyers want a digital-only buying experience.
According to Gartner’s research, 80% of B2B Sales Interactions Between Suppliers and Buyers Will Occur in Digital Channels by 2025.
So, if you are fortunate enough to get time in front of potential customers, you better make it worthwhile.
Stat #4 -> Sales training has a demonstrable ROI (sometimes)
Accenture’s Return on Learning: Training for High Performance at Accenture calculated the company reaped a 353% return on its learning investment. This study occurred in 2006.
In my opinion, while this enablement statistic is often quoted, it’s misleading. In this one scenario, the ROI was outstanding, and in some cases, when properly implemented, with the right audience and for the proper purpose, you may replicate this sort of success.
In my experience, there are cases where coaching, just-in-time, or in-the-context-of-work approaches make more sense and will lead to far better results.
Stat #5 -> New hire onboarding doesn’t happen everywhere
In one Chorus study, nearly 35% of sales leaders indicated that new team members receive little to no sales training.
Whether you have a dedicated sales enablement team or not, it pays to formalize your onboarding program.
Stats #6,7, and 8 -> Insight on Training from Salesforce
According to Salesforce’s state of sales 4th edition:
- 64% of sales leaders are reskilling existing employees to meet changing business needs.
- 62% of companies are using sales training and coaching tools, up from 55% in 2018.
- Sales Teams’ Top-Ranked Tactics for Success over the Next 12 Months, sitting in 7th place for sales leaders, is revised sales staff training. Sales Training is also the 7th ranked priority for outside and inside sellers and sales operations.
Stat #9 -> The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve
People lose 80 to 90% of what they learn after one month. Research about memory consistently demonstrates the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve’s accuracy; training humans can be a lot like pouring water into a pail filled with holes.
To maximize the value of training, you must provide regular reinforcement at specific intervals after the initial training, or the value of the activity itself is minimal.
This is one of the most important enablement statistics to keep in mind.
Stat #10 -> Focus your coaching on the average performers
The impact of Sales Coaching is compelling. Harvard Business Review noted, several years ago, that “The real payoff from good coaching lies among the middle 60% — your core performers. For this group, the best-quality coaching can improve performance up to 19%.”
The article went so far as to note that coaching your top performers and worse performers is generally not effective. The benefits come from focusing on this middle group.
Stat #11 -> Coaching is the most powerful tactic
CSO Insights had reported in its series on the state of sales enablement that Sales Coaching, when formalized, had the most significant impact, creating higher win rates and quota attainment.
On the other hand, CSO Insights also noted that random sales coaching led to lower win rates. If you are going to do it, do it properly.
Stat #12 -> Put in the time to get the benefits
Dave Kurlan shared that sales managers who devote at least 50% of their time to coaching have salespeople who score 13% better in Qualifying and 24% better in closing than the salespeople whose sales managers rarely coach.
Your organization likely invests a lot of money in developing content for your sales teams, but are you sure you are building the right content for sales needs?
Taking it further, is that content easy to find to use at the right time during the buying journey?
In many organizations, product marketing, content marketers, other salespeople, and those across the business create so much content to help the sales department that you often find they are drowning under the weight of all this help.
Not sure that matters?
Let’s dig into some of my favorite enablement statistics around sales content.
Stat #13 -> They can’t find the content they need
According to Upland Software, 65% of content developed for sales is never used; they can’t find it. Your content marketing efforts are often being wasted.
Stat #14 -> Deals are closed when content is provided at each stage of the buying journey.
Hubspot notes that 95% of buyers purchase from the seller, giving them content at every stage of their buying process.
Organizational Alignment and Cross-Functional Collaboration
Stats #15 and 16 -> Sales and Marketing Alignment pays off
Hubspot reported 208% higher marketing revenue for well-aligned sales and marketing teams
Aberdeen notes 41% better growth towards quota goals when issues with marketing misalignment are corrected.
Sales Enablement Discipline and Metrics
Stat #17 -> What you measure is what you impact
According to research from PROLIFIQ, 47% of sales enablement teams don’t measure the ROI of their efforts.
Bonus Stat -> The 55/38/7 communication rule states “55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken.”
Stat #18 -> 1 in every 3 sellers will exit your business every year
Studies vary, but the seller turnover rate is in the range of 25-35%. This article from Harvard Business Review shows 27% in one study, and I’ve seen studies showing 33% and higher.
What does turnover rate mean to you in reality? For every ten sellers in your sales organizations, 3 of them will be gone within the next 12 months.
Stat #19 -> When reps leave, you are going to pay dearly
Data from SiriusDecisions estimates that the cost of seller turnover is around $200,000, between lost opportunity cost, retraining, hiring, and so forth.
Sales Enablement Staffing
Stat #20 -> There are more than 10,000 Enablement professionals on LinkedIn today
[July, 2021 Update to include Sales, Revenue, and Growth Enablement]
Globally, the number of people with the term “Sales Enablement”, “Revenue Enablement, or “Growth Enablement” in their job title currently comes in with just over 13,000 individuals. The majority, more than 8500 of them, are based in the United States.
Stat #21 -> And hiring is underway for nearly 7000 jobs
A search on Indeed.com lists more than 8500 jobs in sales enablement jobs (up 1700 jobs since April), 116 revenue enablement jobs (up 16 since April), and 48 (up 8 since April) growth enablement jobs. The demand is there.
What enablement statistics do you use most often? Let me know and I’ll add them to this list so that others can benefit from your insights.[July, 2021] Bonus statistics:
The top 20% of reps account for nearly 54% of company revenue.
- Sales enablement’s presence correlates with a 31% improvement in supporting changes in sales messaging and a 15% improvement in improving low-performing salespeople.
- Organizations with sales enablement achieve a 49% win rate on forecasted deals, compared to 42.5% for those without.
Living Enablement as a practitioner and as a leader. I’ve seen the confusion and frustration that many practitioners live. From working in other areas of the business, I’ve also seen the genuine need for the capabilities that enablement provides.