Early in my enablement career, I learned a tough lesson. We had just launched a shiny new learning management system (LMS) which transformed the way delivered enablement. My teammates and I were so proud that we now had metrics behind things like completions – because, if we could see that people were taking the enablement, then that meant that we were going to hit our goals, right?
At the close of our first quarter after launch, I proudly went to my CRO with the results of our big initiative for the quarter, where we delivered multiple lessons around “The Art of Prospecting.” We had achieved something like 90% completion on the enablement and our team was pumped!
As those words rang in my ears, I exited my CRO’s office a few minutes later with my tail between my legs.
“So what?” Ouch.
Rightfully so, he didn’t see why these completion numbers meant anything. Coming out of that conversation as a very young enabler, I learned the difference between vanity metrics and business metrics. Vanity metrics are things that are traditionally important to the party who owns the content – things like completion rates. Business metrics are those things that really matter—like quota attainment, win rates, and average deal sizes.
Fast-forward a few years. Now, our practice was largely focused on onboarding. Our high-growth SaaS organization was onboarding sellers at a rapid clip and we were running to optimize our plans, tweaking them to the most minute detail to ensure that we were delivering a stellar experience. Every member of the enablement team even went through all thirteen programs that we had built to ensure that the plan delivered against and exceeded all standards for onboarding. We were on a mission to get every teammate ramped – and ramped quickly.
But we failed.
Even though we had a gorgeous onboarding program and outstanding feedback from leaders and sellers, no one was ramping according to expectations. Factors like tough territories, poorly optimized Ops processes, economic conditions, and lack of manager coaching, among others, were preventing these highly motivated new hires from achieving their quota. As a result, our onboarding program was “bad” because no one was ramping.
I wish I could say that this story was a unique one and that all enablers can deliver ramped reps every single time a new hire joins the team. But the fact of the matter is that enablers struggle to draw correlations between their work and business results because so much of what happens in a seller’s world is out of our control.
But what if we were able to flip that on its head and deliver metrics that ARE under our control?
That’s exactly what we are doing here at Seismic – and WOW it’s a game changer.
No longer are we slapping metrics on an initiative to see what sticks or leaning solely into vanity metrics without any context – we look at data related to enablement interactions on a seller’s journey to determine our business impact. For each initiative that we roll out, here’s what that looks like:
- Content consumption – how often are sellers going to leverage our content, like a sales playbook?
- Lesson/certification completion – did they take the time to review the enablement content and invest their efforts in getting certified on the topic at hand?
- Application of learning – how are they applying what they learned in real life on customer calls?
- Live session participation and attendance – how are they showing up when we are dedicating live enablement time to coaching and training?
With these data points, we overlay our sellers and the metrics relevant to a specific initiative (for example, if we run this exercise with a cross-sell initiative, we may look to see an increase in the number of SKUs in each customer’s account or uncover how much ARR has been driven on this specific SKU over a certain period of time after our launch). Time and again, what we see is that sellers who are growing and hitting business goals are the ones who are taking the enablement, referencing the content frequently, applying what they learned in a live context, and participating in our sessions.
We move out of correlation and into causation with this motion – because they took the enablement, they are hitting their goals. Period.
I challenge you to look at your practice today and uncover the touchpoints in your journey that you have full control over. With this clarity, you, too, can start to make the move from vanity metrics to business metrics and prove your impact in the organization.
If you’d like to learn more, watch our on-demand webinar, “The Silver Bullet for Enablement ROI: The undebatable method of measuring enablement impact.”