business case data for sales enablement solutions

This work in progress blog post collects data that Sales Enablement Solutions vendors use to make business cases.

This work in progress blog post collects data that Sales Enablement Solutions vendors use to make business cases.

The first one is from Lee Levitt (former Director, Sales Advisory Practice; IDC) in response to the question “Which percentage of what marketing teams make available ends up being used by sales?”:

November 22, 2010: “In researching this question two years ago at IDC, we found that between 50 and 90% of all marketing provided collateral goes unused. Sales people can’t find the right stuff, it’s too inwardly focused, it’s not tailored to client’s specific needs, sales people got a copy of something a buddy used that worked…

Good sales and marketing alignment can substantially reduce this vast wastage and help sales people to be more productive. It requires that sales and marketing executives together identify target markets, specific business issues, goals, etc., and jointly develop the plan to address the opportunity. The deliverables should then support that plan.”

Lee Levitt also wrote the following comment on July 29, 2009:

“[…] Companies are reporting results with sales enablement. American Express, for instance, indicated that Time-to-Revenue for new reps dropped from months to weeks after they implemented a leading SE environment. They reported this at an IDC Sales and Marketing summit in 2008.

For another large IDC client, we identified a 15% increase in sales productivity after the company implemented some basic sales enablement processes, a small subset of the possibilities in that multibillion dollar organization.

While it’s still early in the sales enablement game, virtually every midsize or larger company today does something in the area of sales enablement, typically based on internal processes and maybe some intranet or SharePoint support.

A very small handful of companies, maybe a thousand in total, have taken a focused approach at moving their sales enablement activities to what IDC refers to as the third generation of sales enablement.

In these early markets, innovators and early adopters don’t care about ROI. That’s for the late majority to worry about. They’re looking for competitive advantage…and they’re finding it. When companies seek to address specific business challenges (new rep support, competitive response, customer intelligence, campaign support, etc), they find substantial improvements in sales productivity and customer satisfaction.

We’ve only scratched the surface with sales enablement. We believe that the potential for sales productivity improvement is on the order of 30-50%, or more, particularly if employed with the other four levers of sales productivity and properly measured.

And the net savings to the organization may be substantial. The typical technology firm spends more $12,000 per rep per year in marketing collateral development, with the vast majority of that expense going to waste. Firms that take an outside-in approach in sales asset development will find this cost dropping by an order of magnitude.

There’s ROI for you – higher sales productivity and lower costs.”

This one is from Bruce A. Brien’s blog post “The core problem with sales enablement”, from July 9, 2009:

“[…] sample company does $10 million in annual revenue with a 40% close ratio and an average deal size of $100k on a 90 day sales cycle.

  • That means that the 5 sales reps are each closing 20 deals per year while working 50.  They are focused on 12-15 deals at a time.
  • If our sales enablement capabilities cause a 3% drop in our overall effectiveness, our sales people will only be working on 48 deals [each] and closing only 18 of them for an average price of just $97k. [18 * $97k * 5 sales people] The result is a revenue picture of $8.7 million or a drop of about 13%.
  • Assuming you have fixed costs in the 25% range and an operating profit of 15%, profits would drop by a whopping 47%.  The compounding effect can be devastating.  A 3% drop in sales effectiveness can easily result in the loss of half of your profits.
  • You could re-coup your lost revenues by hiring another sales rep at a cost of $150k and be faced with the same problem next year when your efficiencies drop further or you could address the core of the problem and shore up each part of your sales enablement platform for similar monies while building a solid foundation for future growth.”

Many Sales Enablement and Sales 2.0 start-ups are citing Forrester’s Scott Santucci’s ‘Uncovering The Hidden Costs Of Sales Support’ from April 13, 2009 to make a business case for their services:

“Technology vendors are spending, on average, 19% of their selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) costs or $135,262 per quota-carrying salesperson in support-related activities. Few are aware of this enormous amount because the costs are hidden — tucked away in many different budgets dispersed throughout the organization. Corralling these random acts of sales support presents a golden opportunity. By creating a strategic sales enablement program, marketers can drive significant cost savings in the short term, while improving their companies’ competitiveness to thrive in the new growth cycle.”

On July 7, 2009 Michael Gerard (VP, Research for IDC’s Executive Advisory Group) posted on his blog:

“[…] IDC research shows that over 40% of all marketing assets handed over to sales are not in use today (IDC’s Best Practices in Sales Enablement – Content and Marketing (to be published end of July)). This includes assets that have been developed for sales, channels, prospects and current customers. IDC estimates that at least 30% of companies’ marketing investment, including program and people spend, is dedicated to creating content and marketing assets. Clearly, marketers can leverage cost reduction opportunities if they take the time to improve their content management process and technologies.

– “Our content is all over the place…a more formalized content portal is being created to get our sales team the most relevant materials when they need them.”
– “…marketing is funding an improved marketing asset management system and we are hoping to achieve 3% – 5% reduction/reallocation of spend on annual asset development and improved production efficiencies.” (improvements in production efficiency, reduced program time-to-market, and reduced re-work).

In the next several weeks, IDC will be publishing a sales enablement report highlighting best practices in marketing content management from a lifecycle management, technology, and measurement perspective. Detailed company case studies will be also be included. […]”

In 2004 it was IDC’s ‘The Cost of Information Tasks to the Enterprise’:

Whitepaper IDC Hidden Costs 0405

In its February 2010 issue CRM magazine looked at Sales Enablement Tools:


  • $135,262 is spent, on average, in support costs per year for each salesperson.
  • 7 hours per week is what the average salesperson spends looking for relevant information to prepare for sales calls.
  • 50 percent of the information is pushed through email.
  • 10 percent is “made available in a useful format.”

Source: Forrester Research & IDC Sales Advisory Service

I have not double checked the following numbers I found in the post ‘Sales people who research cost you big time!’:

“[…] So, what is the actual hourly value for a B2B salesperson? We’ve developed an excel calculator to help do the math. Let’s use a typical experienced B2B enterprise salesperson at a software company and apply these sample figures:

  • Annual compensation (at plan, or meeting quota): $200,000
  • Benefits Paid (20% of a 70K salary): $14,000
  • Annual Quota: $2 million
  • Include 2 weeks vacation and holidays

This salesperson’s true “hourly value” is $1,198!

For companies with higher quotas (I’ve seen annual quota’s as high as $14 million), this figure is even higher!

If you’d like to figure out your own salespeople’s hourly value, send me an email at and I will email you the calculator.

The next time you see your salespeople doing research, take interest. Using salespeople for anything other than selling, negatively affects your bottom-line. Find ways to remove those activities from their daily to-do list. It could be costing you over $1,000 an hour! Your sales people must focus on the thing they do best… selling!”

3 thoughts on “business case data for sales enablement solutions”

  1. Thanks for sharing this data all in one place. As someone who’s worked in the space for almost 5 years now, it’s amazing to see how Sales Enablement has grown – particularly within the past 12 months or so. More organizations are realizing that the “pain” of insufficient Sales Enablement has severe cost and revenue implications.


  2. Thanks for your comment, Colleen.
    It would be interesting to hear from you what you think the annual revenue / market size of Sales Enablement software is.
    We have all seen the growth but numbers are hard to come by.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: