How Sales Operations Drives Success – Part 3: How can Sales Ops get Internal Stakeholders on their team?

How can Sales Ops get Internal Stakeholders on their team

Converting stakeholders to business partners.

Daily Sales Operations focuses on driving sales objectives while staying in harmony with the overall business objectives. This is no small feat when the two appear to be on their own distinct paths at times.

Sales Operations realizes that the Sales organization tends to believe that everyone in the business exists to serve their needs. To some degree that belief is true. The sales organization is the face to the client and represents the client internally. Sales is the voice of the customer and their advocate. Sales is the revenue-generating arm of the business. If the selling stops the business ceases to exist.

How Sales Operations Drives Success – Part 3: How can Sales Ops get Internal Stakeholders on their team?Sales Operations also recognizes the flip side. If the product team stops researching, designing, developing, Sales will have no product or services to sell. If the marketing team stops promoting and driving brand awareness, Sales will have no leads and the company will lack presence in the marketplace. If the finance team stops evaluating profitability, margins, and cost, the business will lack the resources and capability to serve Sales and their clients. These are only a few examples. But if Product, Marketing, and Finance teams stop fulfilling their roles the business as a whole will cease to exist.

So how can Sales Operations lead Sales and the rest of the business to work cohesively towards the same goals? To start, Sales Operations must guide all parties to stop looking at each other as just stakeholders that are only interested in outcomes impacting them. So, what do stakeholders bring to the table? They are visionaries and influencers with power or position. They are decision-makers or approvers. They bring expertise, experience, and insight. The goal is to leverage the stakeholder’s skill and knowledge to become champions of the Sales Organization. Sales Operations can move stakeholders to partners by changing the conversion to “how can we succeed together?”

  1. REMEMBER: Silent and Listen have the same letters. To be a good listener, one must learn to be silent. Make the utmost effort to listen with the intent to understand and not with the intent to reply. Effective communication comes by spending equal time between being silent and listening. You may find that one team is not so different than the other and each has something to contribute to the other’s success.
  2. Stop Finger Pointing. Laying blame solves nothing and it’s a waste of time and energy. Instead of Sales telling Marketing that the leads they send are a waste of time, or Marketing saying Sales never follow up on the leads provided, focus on the steps required to achieve the desired outcome and work collaboratively on identifying each team’s part in the challenge.
  3. Connect Goals. Find commonality in each other’s objectives. Look at each team’s pain points and identify if your team is contributing to the pain or is feeling the same pain. Offer ideas of what can be done differently so everyone can benefit. You may find that each team has the ability to lighten the load of another team with a few minor adjustments in the approach or process.

    A good example of this is the joint goal of Finance and Sales to achieve the company’s revenue objective. Finance needs to understand sales cycles and the time required to convert a sale to revenue. Sales must understand that Finance needs a realistic sales forecast in order to subjectively project revenue outcomes.

  4. Partner in the Resolution. As a team, identify each organization’s goals as it contributes to the larger outcome. Set milestones for completion and have regular checkpoints to communicate progress, challenges, or request assistance. Assign an owner in each group and hold each other accountable. Remember that all outcomes, whether positive or negative, affect everyone.
  5. Win Together. Lose Together. There is strength in collective efforts. When Sales, Marketing, Product, or Finance come together to share challenges and work in unison to resolve it becomes apparent that individual success is not an option. It’s either succeed together or fail together.

Converting a stakeholder to a business partner has its challenges, especially when each stakeholder may have different areas of expertise, key objectives, and vantage points into the priorities of the broader organization. For Sales Operations to establish an effective working relationship, it requires a thorough understanding of the stakeholder responsibilities and the nuances of how to best work with each unique group. Take the time to know your partners. Be intentional and meaningful in your engagements. Consider what Sales Operations can do for them, not just what they can do for Sales Operations.

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