June 3 by Patrick Wolf
Sales operations was once overlooked by companies looking to scale. Now many organizations around the world are discovering the importance of sales operations in improving sales processes, increasing win rates, and driving revenue. Companies rely on sales ops to leverage new technologies (cloud applications, mobile technologies, big data, etc) in order to increase effectiveness and eliminate inefficiencies for the sales team. To create an effective sales ops teams, companies must clearly articulate there goals and mission statements. Here are some of the sales ops department’s functions and why they are crucial for revenue success.
Key Responsibilities of Sales Ops
Data Management– The effective management of company data is paramount to the success of sales teams. Sales operations helps decide which data sets are the most important to a company, and is responsible for making sure that the information is consistently accurate and complete. The sales teams must have complete confidence on the accuracy of available data if there is any hope of them putting it to use.
Platforms and Systems– Sales ops is also pivotal in the integrations of the various systems available to sales teams and companies as a whole. Sales ops decides which platforms and applications will be most effective for the company and facilitates integration throughout.
Reporting and Administration– Sales operations has a major hand in producing various reports and making sure that they are completely accurate. Most decisions are at least partially based off of these reports, and it is therefore imperative that they are accurate and meaningful.
Pricing and Contract support– These also fall under the domain of sales ops. They are responsible to establishing a smooth process through which sales teams can accurately price deals and create contracts. Hold up caused by inefficiencies can have a strong negative effect on revenue production.
Analytics and Business Insight– Sales ops must empower sales teams with insightful data analysis that will propel them throughout the sales cycle. Methods of analysis must be well defined and repeatable, allowing for consistent improvement.
Lead Generation and Management– Sales ops has an important role in facilitating the cohesion between marketing and sales teams. These two teams must work together to produce the highest quality of leads through the creation of effective content. The development and maintenance of a seamless pipeline is an important facet of sales operations.
Sales Operation’s Role in Creating a Successful Sales Team
One of the primary functions of sales ops is helping to define the overall sales strategy (who, what, when, where, how). They must provide the data necessary for the executives to concretely define this strategy. Sales ops must also make sure that every individual understands the end goal and the path they need to take to get there. This will inevitably prevent mass confusion, while creating a scalable and repeatable sales force.
Tools of the Trade
In helping to create an effective sales team, sales operations must equip the teams with the proper tools to help them achieve their goals. This includes maintaining the CRM system and selecting new applications that will help streamline the sales reps’ day-to-day tasks. Sales ops must also ensure that data within the CRM is accurate, complete, and consistent so that reps have all the correct information at their fingertips. A powerful and accurate suite of tools will enable teams to sell more effectively.
Lead Generations Programs
Sales operations must work hand in hand with the marketing team to execute sales programs. These programs can consist of education of buyers, reaching new markets, fostering general awareness, etc. Sales reps must be able to spend the bulk of their time engaged in the actual process of selling, not creating and carrying out the programs that foster leads.
Sales ops has a pivotal role in creating and solidifying the sales pipeline. This process needs to be well defined and repeatable, with concrete stages that individual reps can follow to a “T”. Reps must be able to know when and how to progress through the pipeline, and sales ops must help constantly maintain its quality and accuracy. A consistent process will help with analysis and improvement.
Sales Analytics and Metrics
Business analytics and insights is another key duty of sales operations. This includes building reports and dashboards to track metrics important to sales management. Sales ops also helps with forecasting to enable financial planning for future quarters. Sales ops helps maintain the accuracy of data and helps determine the KPIs that the company must rely on
Sales training is an integral role of sales operations. First and for most, new sales reps need to be trained how to operate within the sales process that ops has facilitated. To develop an effective sales team, the first step is the training of each new sales member to fit within the company wide sales process. Sales ops also develops approaches to training up employees on product changes, best practices and market trends.
Sales ops is also responsible for helping with organizing the sales team, which includes carving out sales territories based on industry vertical, geographical area, or company size. Sales ops also play a part in designing effective compensation plans for reps in order to align behavior with organizational goals.
Although the practical application of sales ops may vary by company, it is important to remember that at its most basic sales ops provides support for the revenue producing teams. Be this maintenance of the CRM, managing administration programs, etc, it is up to the sales ops team to facilitate an efficient sales process.