How Sales Operations Drives Success – Part 1: Key Areas of Discipline

Sales operations protecting against selling theives

by Stacey Marsh

For a sales organization, time is precious. Sales professionals invest many hours in maintaining product and solution knowledge, keeping informed on the changing needs within a client’s industry, honing selling skills, and staying in tune with an ever-changing sales process.

Sales Operations plays a critical role in identifying problem areas, making recommendations for improvement, and pulling the resources to facilitate the needed change. The goal is to eliminate obstacles that prevent or slow down sales productivity and the ability to meet revenue or profit targets. Continuous improvement is a daily focus.

Here are four discipline areas where Sales Operations can make the biggest impact:

Strategy. Sales Operations plays a key role in defining the high-level vision for the sales organization and developing strategies to meet those goals. A well-defined sales cadence aligns frontline sellers with leadership objectives.  Sales Operations leads the charge in sales process optimization, sales coverage, and territory planning along with establishing sales methodology and best practices.

Performance. Performance indicators inform leaders on where the organization has been and where it is going. Sales Operations will define and track performance data such as funnel management, key performance indicators, compensation plans, sales incentives, and recognition programs. Deep analysis and the identification of trends will arm Sales Operations with the data to advise leadership on setting strategy and meeting financial objectives.

Technology. The goal of sales technology is to enable sellers with tools that allow them to spend more time on selling and less on administration. Sales Operations leverages tools that provide task automation, app and tool integration, communication management, and reporting and data management. Ideally the sales organization should have easy access to the entire life cycle of each customer. From contract data to billing information to issue escalation, the seller should have the ability to see and know every aspect of their clients in real time. Also, leveraging predictive tools can give Sales insight into where their clients are headed.

Partnerships. A successful sales organization relies heavily on internal partners and stakeholders to achieve its goals. Whether working with HR on hiring and onboarding, or with Legal on streamlining customer contracts, or with Marketing on intelligence and leads, Sales Operations plays a critical role in advancing sales productivity.

With the sales organization being the revenue-generating arm of a company, and  — just as critical — the voice of the customer, Sales Operations takes on the huge responsibility of being an advocate for both Sales and clients. It is imperative for Sales Operations to be cutting edge and not fall into the routine of “same ol’, same ol’.” Some aspects will always be tactical, but as technology advances, how Sales Operations adapts strategy, performance and partnerships with that technology will be the ultimate key to the sales organization’s success.

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Part 2 of this series will address a critical question: “Is your Sales Operations team strategic or tactical?” Be the first to read part 2: subscribe now to have our blogs delivered right to your inbox.