What is Revenue Productivity?

Revenue productivity is a new and emerging discipline, but it can be overwhelming to understand how it fits into your organization. This post will help you make sense of it, and provide some practical areas to get started.

First, let’s start with a definition of revenue productivity:

Revenue productivity is a set of processes, strategies, and technologies used to enhance sales performance by utilizing seller data, revenue analytics, sales enablement, and front-line sales coaching.

When executed properly, revenue productivity can help organizations improve the participation rate of each seller and put more of them on a path to attain 100% of their quota. From a management and operations standpoint, it can improve the accuracy of their forecast by pulling in a more complete set of data points, combining deal information with seller behavioral data. In doing so, they can not only predict outcomes more reliably; they can remediate each of them at a team and individual rep layer faster.

Today, the emergence of revenue productivity platforms can help you bring this concept to life. Revenue productivity platforms help businesses consolidate a variety of tools surrounding their CRM system in one central place, including sales forecastingsales training & enablement, sales content management, sales conversation intelligence, sales coaching, and digital sales rooms.

Here is a five-step process for thinking about what revenue productivity projects contain.

  1. Seller data unification
  2. Revenue analysis inclusive of deal + seller data
  3. Training and enablement content that’s triggered, personalized, and diversified
  4. Sales content management and buyer engagement
  5. Optimize for future performance

Seller data unification

To enhance the productivity of sellers, it’s vital to understand all the different systems in which a seller generates data. This, by the way, is not just your CRM system. While your CRM is great for tracking opportunities, closed-won data, and managing customer & prospect data, it doesn’t account for a variety of interactions your seller has with a customer. You need to collect that under a singular ID.

Here are some examples:

  • Sales engagement data for email outreach, such as email opens, click rates, and replies
  • Sales conversation intelligence for meeting data, culling things like topics and messages covered, time spent talking versus listening
  • Sales training data, such as scores out of 100 on key certifications and courses

A revenue productivity platform should federate that data about each seller in a Unified Seller ID. From there, it can be paired with their deal and opportunity data within your CRM. This will have two benefits – mainly, better analysis for forecasting and the ability to customize training and enablement content for each rep. Read on for more information on those pieces.

Revenue analysis inclusive of deal + seller data

Once you have your data unified, a revenue productivity platform should provide you the ability to analyze that data for a more comprehensive forecast and view of org readiness. This will be a project led in large part by your revenue operations or sales operations team.

The first area is sales forecasts. Most sales forecasts today – even the ones enhanced by AI tools sitting on top of CRM – still mainly rely on deal data to provide leadership with a line of sight on performance. By injecting seller data into that forecast, you can get a more accurate picture of what business will close, and what’s at risk.

For example, if you see a deal entering negotiation phases in your forecast, if your revenue productivity platform knows the rep working that deal indexes low on negotiation because of historical sales conversation data and low training scores in negotiation, you know that deal is at greater risk of closing.

The second area is around flagging productivity issues immediately. Your revenue productivity analysis should leverage the data you have about each individual to provide managers with insight into what areas need to be remediated from a training or coaching perspective. For example, if a sales region relies heavily on reps to source their own pipeline without help from marketing, then the system should automatically alert management if reps are indexing low on qualification and discovery skills, and recommend specific training and content to address those issues.

To make this in-field analysis compelling and accurate, every revenue productivity platform should utilize a sales conversation intelligence platform to track interactions in each call with a buyer, analyzing themes, messages, and buyer reactions.

Training and enablement content that’s triggered, personalized, and diversified

Most companies today still leverage a traditional, calendar-based enablement schedule to ready their reps for in-field interactions. Everyone gets the same content and training regardless of the skill sets and knowledge they exude in-market. The challenge with this approach is that it’ll mean the majority of programs and content delivered to them will not be relevant. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that CSO insights found less than a third of these programs meet rep expectations.

When sales enablement, training, and readiness programs are migrated into a larger revenue productivity project, companies can flip this calendar-based, generic content model on its head. Revenue productivity platforms will empower revenue leadership, revenue operations, and front-line sales managers to trigger personalized programs for each rep based on the skill strengths and gaps they show in real-world selling scenarios.

In addition, a revenue productivity platform will leverage a variety of engagement mechanics to keep these programs fresh and reinforce knowledge after it’s passed on. These engagement mechanics include things like quizzes, missions, and learning series and modules.

Sales content management and buyer engagement

Once team readiness has been addressed and people are engaging with customers in the field, revenue productivity platforms should make it easy for sellers to engage with their buyers in a personalized, compelling way.

For starters, that means having one place for sellers to easily search and access all the externally-facing content they need to serve customers, including presentations, product overviews, industry literature, thought leadership, data sheets, and other PDFs. This should be found in a sales content management module.

In addition, revenue productivity should include an avenue for buyer enablement and engagement. Digital sales rooms should provide an easy way for reps with no technical or coding experience to build customized pages for their buyer to access all the relevant content shared throughout the deal, and access call recordings between the two parties.

Optimize for future performance

After driving early success, it can be tempting to try to anecdotally repeat the process over and over. But companies that embrace revenue productivity know better. They will analyze the tools deployed throughout the sales process to better understand how they modify their sales process and the content utilized throughout the buyer journey.

The analytics from content shared and accessed via a digital sales room is a critical avenue, as well as verbal feedback from conversations tracked in sales conversation intelligence. The supporting cast of leaders in the revenue organization — such as sales enablement or readiness teams, marketing, and sales ops — should apply these learnings to improve the efficacy of their programs, processes, and content.

Getting a revenue productivity project off the ground can be daunting, but Mindtickle can help you. Click here to learn more about how you can get started on a revenue productivity transformation.

What is Sales Readiness? (And Why it Matters)

There’s a cruel reality facing many revenue leaders today: most sellers aren’t ready to adapt to the fast-changing business environment they face daily. It’s not that they aren’t talented; it’s that traditional sales training and enablement programs are failing them.

While the statement sounds hyperbolic, plenty of research supports it. According to CSO Insights, only 27.5% of stakeholders feel that sales enablement initiatives meet or exceed their expectations, and another research report found that 90% of sales training programs fail after 120 days.

This squares with my experiences. Prior to Mindtickle, I’ve seen firsthand the challenges of enabling hundreds of sellers. The basic problem? Large scale certification and kickoff events create an initial burst of knowledge transfer and skills development, but fall off day-over-day, week-over-week, and month-over-month.

To transform revenue organizations, they must embrace sales readiness. This post will offer a definition for it, and a framework for how to make it a reality.

What is sales readiness?

At Mindtickle, we define sales readiness as:

Sales readiness is a continuous state of excellence to grow revenue by utilizing a suite of tools and processes to increase knowledge, enhance performance, and adapt to change.

How do I achieve sales readiness?

We’ve developed a Sales Readiness Framework that outlines what revenue and sales leaders must do to achieve it. Whether you have a sales readiness platform to help you do it, or you manage it with separate tools, spreadsheets and serious hacking skills, the concepts remain the same.

The Sales Readiness Framework includes five core steps:

  1. Define excellence
  2. Build knowledge
  3. Align content
  4. Analyze performance
  5. Optimize behavior


Step 1: Define excellence

Most organizations track hard sales metrics such as quota attainment, pipeline and revenue. While you could argue hitting those goals constitutes excellence, excellence in this context is an order of magnitude more specific: what is the ideal rep profile and associated competencies? This notion of excellence needs to become more scientific than “this rep has an ‘it’ factor” and other vague business cliches that don’t create organization-wide excellence.

Every business is different, but some that have been important for Mindtickle customers include:

  • Competitive knowledge
  • Product and services mastery
  • Industry proficiency
  • Persona and buyer comprehension
  • Sales process discipline
  • Product demo proficiency (without requiring a sales engineer)
  • Use case development

Every organization will prioritize and weigh the importance of each competency differently. Take the time to partner with other members of sales leadership to define a readiness index based on the competencies you believe make up the ideal rep profile. It will help set a baseline for what knowledge, skills and capabilities each sales rep in your organization should possess.

Step 2: Build knowledge

According to Gartner, B2B sales reps forget 70% of the information they learn within a week of training, and 87% will forget it within a month. To move beyond the once-a-year kickoff meetings when sellers sit through hours of training, best-in-class sales organizations invest in modern sales enablement that emphasizes continuous excellence. These programs include three core components:

  • Spaced reinforcement to create “everboarding.” So much focus in enablement is on onboarding, but what happens after? With spaced reinforcement, you can intelligently create programs that revisit key themes and topics by facilitating scenario-based questions with videos, images, and explanations. The program should automatically adapt or double-down on questions where rep proficiency looks weaker.
  • Micro-learning. Sellers are busy, so it’s better to let them chip away at knowledge building bit-by-bit with quick-hitting notifications and questions. While each one may not be as comprehensive as traditional training programs, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Engagement mechanics. While selling is serious business, learning the skill sets necessary to win can, and should be, fun. Time-bound quizzes, missions, achievements, leaderboards, and the elevation of top performer’s reputation is proven to drive more engagement with sales enablement.

Step 3: Align content 

Alignment is the critical word here. While partners in marketing can create compelling content, today the majority of it goes unused by sellers. The reason is simple: while the intent by marketing is to help advance the buyer journey, there’s a pragmatism sellers employ with content. They will leverage it if it’ll advance a deal forward; they’ll avoid using it if it won’t.

When sellers are enabled and equipped with relevant content, it plays an undeniably important role in driving deals forward. The key is enabling sellers to be ready to use it. A great example would be when a new case study is available. It’s vital that it’s not only shared in a central location, but sellers are given quick training on what it is, who it’s relevant to, when to use it, and how other sellers have leveraged it to move deals forward.

Step 4: Analyze performance 

For so long, we’ve spent significant time, money and resources on enablement programs. While they transfer important knowledge, they’re often done in more hypothetical, academic environments. The good news is that the rise of conversational intelligence abilities means we can start to see how these pieces of information actually resonate.

Sales readiness means you have visibility to analyze the messaging, themes, and topics that are carried to market in the real-world interactions between sellers and customers. It’s imperative for sales leaders to understand the habits of great sellers if they are to course-correct those reps who need more guidance. A comprehensive sales readiness strategy should include conversational intelligence capabilities that leverage AI and machine learning to provide sales leaders insight into what’s happening in the field, and tie that back to competencies that were or weren’t achieved from an enablement standpoint.

Step 5: Optimize behavior

Based on the insights you gain from analyzing field interactions and rep competencies, the final step is to follow up with effective sales coaching programs. Role-play scenarios, scorecards, and practice are important first steps at the human, manger-to-rep level. But a comprehensive sales readiness program should also leverage AI to make programmatic changes and recommendations for coaching based on critical gaps that get identified in real-world selling scenarios.

These coaching activities help sellers practice and prepare so they know how to handle complex selling situations. With these activities in place, you are essentially closing the readiness loop and ensuring feedback makes its way back to not only individual reps, but to your entire readiness program.

Why sales readiness matters

Without a structured sales readiness program in place (no matter if you’re following this one or not), the same problems will continue to persist. Sellers won’t be prepared for the moments that matter – when money is on the line. Understanding and prioritizing readiness activities helps organizations create the culture of sales excellence that is essential to driving revenue.

Why I Joined Mindtickle

Today we shared the news that I joined Mindtickle as its new Chief Marketing Officer. There are several reasons why it’s an honor to join this company. First, Mindtickle has a strong culture that values its employees as its most vital asset. Second, it provides a compelling product that thousands of companies need to compete. And finally, it has an amazing marketing team that I’m excited to work with!

From an intellectual standpoint, Mindtickle’s value proposition resonated most with me because I’ve lived the challenge of helping enable and train large organizations, particularly at companies with complex and frequently evolving product portfolios. While I’ve led B2B marketing teams that take a content-heavy approach to marketing, we learned content can only carry a company so far if you don’t instill the actual knowledge necessary to carry those messages to market. As marketing and enablement teams applaud completion rates and content downloads, the hard reality is many sellers don’t translate that into revenue growth. Even on the blowout quarters where you “hit the number,” a small portion of the team closes the majority of the revenue. What’s worse, companies just accept this reality and plan around it. CFOs actually bake these low productivity rates into their math.

Then I saw the problem from the customer’s end of things. During the past couple of years, as a practitioner in consumer marketing, where I lived the grind of planning campaigns to a daily sales number, I sat through dozens of pitches for products and services. While almost every rep I interacted with could get through a pitch deck or demo, if I asked a next level down question, many either leaned on a sales engineer or said they’d get back to me. They had been taught to recite and memorize messaging, but not actually gain mastery of the topics.

Mindtickle is addressing that challenge head on, and the ways in which it can help may well extend beyond the sales function.

I truly believe the readiness gap of many 21st century workers will become a crisis across all functions and industries if we don’t address it. While AI and machine learning are being viewed as a panacea across many digital transformation projects, the reality is people still need to provide the insight and strategic approaches to carry our world forward (I mean, just look at your consulting bill on your last digital transformation project!).

I’m very excited to be joining this team as I believe it has, and will continue, to create a positive effect on the business world, and I’m honored to be a part of it.