- Key Pillars in Sales Ops
- Tips To Increase Sales Ops
- Areas To Optimize
How Do I Improve Sales Operations?
Great sales operations are essential for any organization to achieve success. As a decision-maker, you understand that goals will suffer if your sales team is not properly planned and managed. But do you know how to optimize your processes or train staff on the newest sales ops techniques? How best can you implement systems to increase its products or services’ performance and output?
Improving sales operations can be challenging, especially when faced with limited resources and the need for prior knowledge. This blog post will explore how to make intelligent decisions about improving your business’s sales operations — from assessing what strategies are already in place to pinpointing areas that need attention most. We’ll provide actionable advice on data-driven decision-making and implementation processes.
Sales Operations Overview
Before we get into how to improve sales ops, let’s first discuss what sales ops entail. Sales operations are strategic activities that support sales teams in achieving goals. It is a force multiplier for enhancing sales productivity and a crucial link between formulating and implementing the business strategy and go-to-market strategic plan. It includes, but is not limited to, tracking customer information, managing pipelines, and reporting performance. These operations are important as they help businesses identify and monitor opportunities, mitigate risks, and improve sales performance.
Sales operations also involve coordinating activities such as analytics, process automation, data integration, and customer relationship management. By combining these activities, teams can create an efficient system to manage sales data and identify improvement areas. Boosting sales operations requires you to enhance collaboration among your sales teams.
Sales Operations Roles and Responsibilities
Sales operations roles and responsibilities have evolved since their introduction in the 1970s. The author of Spin Selling, Neil Rackham, claims he first learned about this concept in a team at Xerox that oversaw sales planning, compensation, forecasting, and territory design.
Today, the role of sales operations has expanded beyond those core functions to include activities such as optimizing operations, identifying trends and insights, creating customer programs, and developing sales strategies.
Most sales ops divisions have similar functions and established working procedures to optimize operations. The activities involved in sales operations incorporate tactical and strategic functions.
- Ensure visibility across the organization: Visibility is key to successful sales operations. Sales operations team members must ensure sales performance data is available to all stakeholders, including executives and middle managers.
- Track KPIs: Having a one truth source for tracking data and having a clear set of KPIs should be identified by leadership that is important to them and the success of the business.
- Develop sales training plans: Another core responsibility of the sales operations team is to develop sales training programs. This includes creating materials, providing guidance and support to employees, and tracking their progress.
- Optimize processes and resources: Sales operations teams also optimize the processes and resources to meet sales targets. They should analyze customer data and identify improvement areas and growth opportunities.
- Cross-departmental collaboration: They collaborate with other departments to align goals and smooth sales operations. It could include working with marketing, customer service, and finance to provide process inputs and develop actions.
- Lead generation: This is a tactical function of sales ops, as teams are responsible for qualifying leads and turning them into customers. They use automation tools to manage lead-generation activities, such as outreach and follow-up.
The Key Pillars in Sales Ops
The four key pillars in sales operations are strategy, operations, technology, and performance. Without these elements, sales enablement and productivity won’t be optimal.
Establishing a vision for the team gives it direction and focus while setting objectives. Strategy development helps the team achieve its vision.
Sales operations teams need to understand their customer base and develop insights that are useful in producing better strategies. It includes analyzing customer data, surveying customers and their behaviors, understanding industry trends, and utilizing insights from sales and marketing teams. A good strategy helps develop an efficient sales coverage model and plan territories that boost sales ops.
A 2022 survey by Gartner revealed that 8 in 10 executives believe automation applies to any business decision. Sales op is not an exception. SaaS applications and sales software tools are the key enablers here.
Sales operations teams need to use the right technology to accurately track sales data and customer behavior. CRM customization is essential to host systems, video conferencing platforms, CRM dashboards, and sales analytics tools. CRM integration with other solutions to track data from various sources for accurate reporting.
Your team can also use sale-engaging videos and demos. They can be helpful in showcasing products, informing customers about the company’s offerings, and creating an atmosphere of trust. By leveraging the right technology, sales ops teams can streamline processes and ensure efficiency in today’s ever-evolving business climate.
Sales Operations Management
Sales operations management is one of the four pillars of sales ops. It involves equipping sales reps with the following:
- Training and knowledge management skills
- Operational and administrative tasks management techniques
- Recruitment and onboarding of members
- Tools on sales forecasting and sales planning
Besides, contract lifecycle management is a critical part of the operation pillar. It involves identifying opportunities for better pricing, understanding customer needs and behavior, and providing follow-up to ensure customer satisfaction. These skills help sales teams to optimize sales strategy and increase sales operations.
Sales Ops Performance
Sales ops performance is the fourth pillar of sales operations and among the most important. It helps teams to test their performance, identify areas for improvement, and optimize their processes. It also helps gauge the effectiveness of sales operations initiatives. It extends to selecting favorable performance metrics to measure the performance of sales operations. These metrics include closed-loop reporting, lead response rate, weighted pipeline value, customer satisfaction surveys, and NPS scores.
Tips to Increase Sales Operations
In his book, The Personal MBA, Josh Kaufman discussed four methods of increasing sales revenue. But how do you increase sales to realize that increased revenue? Let’s look at the four general ways of improving sales operations.
Hire the Right Sales Team
The sales division is the backbone of any organization. Sales operations involve different activities, from customer service and data analysis to marketing and sales. Top talents with the right skills can significantly improve sales operations.
Here are four principal skills needed to improve sales operations:
- Problem-Solving & Analytical Skills: The ability to identify and solve problems is essential for sales operations. An employee must understand the customer’s needs and think of creative solutions. Analytical skills are also helpful, allowing employees to make more informed business decisions.
- Interpersonal & Communication Skills: Sales operations require staff to interact with customers and other staff. Your sales team should effectively communicate with customers, understand their needs, and build relationships with them. Customer relationships will help you create successful campaigns and close more deals.
- Technology and Data Management Skills: As technology has become integral to all operations, your team should be competent in CRM and other software. They should manage databases and organize customer data for analysis. Such skills enable the team to gain insights into customer behavior and make data-driven decisions, improving sales ops.
- Technical Skills: Technical skills such as coding, software development, and web design are also valuable for sales operations. These skills enhance the creation of custom solutions for customer requirements, improve the customer experience and increase sales. Your online presence should pass the test of user experience (UX) and interface (UI).
Strong Marketing Campaigns
A powerful marketing campaign can influence sales operations. Here are four tips that successful sales personnel should use:
- Product Development and Distribution Options: The product must meet customer needs and be available in the right quantities, at the right time, and through multiple channels. It is important to have a solid distribution network and provide customers with convenient access to the product.
- Promotion: Promotional activities help raise awareness of your product or service, drive leads, and convert sales. It will help if you use free sales tools, such as webinars, social media campaigns, newsletters, and email marketing, to reach and engage customers.
- Marketing Metrics Review: Analyzing and interpreting sales and marketing metrics is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of a campaign. Your team should review the data and determine which tactics worked and which didn’t. This evaluation will help you adjust your strategy for improved performance.
- Brand Management: Maintaining a consistent brand image across all sales and marketing channels is important. Establishing trust with customers by being consistent with your messages will help you close more deals.
Establish an Excellent Customer Relationship
Building customer relationships is key to improving sales operations. Developing a strong customer relationship is one of the best ways to increase customer loyalty and retention. How do you create solid customer relationships?
- Personalization and Customization: Personalizing customer experiences boosts customer loyalty and retention and helps improve sales operations. It is important to customize customer experiences and make them feel valued.
- Excellent Customer Service: Customer service is integral to customer relationship building. Training your sales staff to be customer-centric increases customer satisfaction.
- Building Loyalty Programs: This is an effective way to increase customer loyalty. Offering exclusive offers or discounts for loyal customers helps increase sales and increase customer lifetime value.
- Introduce add-ons: Offering add-ons or complimentary services increases sales and helps improve the customer experience. For example, offering free shipping or an additional service for a special price can encourage customers to make additional purchases. Another example is extended warranties on certain products.
Technology plays a major role in sales operations. It helps you improve sales operations in the following ways.
- Automation: Automation helps increase efficiency and accuracy in sales operations. It can help streamline customer service processes, automate marketing tasks, and improve data analysis.
- Analytics & Reporting: Sales analytics tools enable sales teams to analyze customer data and draw valuable insights that drive sales.
- Data Visualization: Data visualization makes it easier to visualize complex data and gain insights into customer behavior. It helps create and deliver comprehensive sales reports.
Areas to Optimize
It is essential to optimize certain areas to improve sales operations. It will help if you consider the following areas to ensure success.
- Data Management: An updated database is essential for success in sales operations. Keeping track of customer records, contact information, product inventory levels, and other related information can help streamline your sales processes. Access to accurate and timely data helps sales teams develop more effective strategies to grow your business.
- Forecasting: Predictive analytics can help you understand sales trends and customer preferences. This information lets you make educated guesses about sales outlooks and lay an effective plan.
- Pricing: Accurate pricing strategies help sales teams determine the most competitive product prices. To remain competitive, a sales team must understand the market, the cost of goods sold, competitors’ prices, and customer preferences.
- Accountability: Establishing sales goals and tracking employee performance helps sales teams stay accountable. When team members are held accountable, sales operations will be more efficient, and underperformance can be addressed.
Improve Your Sales Operations With SFE Partners
Sales operations involve various processes and activities essential for success in sales. The four key pillars — strategy, operations, technology, and performance — are fundamental for sales ops. To increase sales, recruit the right team, leverage powerful marketing campaigns, establish excellent customer relationships, and use technology. Also, optimize data management, forecasting, pricing, and accountability to increase sales operations. Mastering these essential elements benefits your business with increased sales and improved customer satisfaction.
SFE Partners is your trusted partner to build a robust sales engine that wins. Our team of industry-leading sales professionals has the resources and experience to turbocharge your sales department by designing an optimized revenue engine. We help you optimize your sales ops with the latest industry trends and technologies to increase your company’s valuation materially. From sales operations to sales performance, our sales force effectiveness philosophy will help you maximize your revenue and drive success.
Contact us today to create a high-performing sales team for improved sales operations. Together, we will develop the best strategies for success.