- Components of Sales Ops That Drive Revenue Growth
- 6 Ways Sales Operations Is Improving Revenue Growth
Revenue is an essential part of any commercial business model. Without it, businesses would be unable to stay afloat and continue providing quality products and services. It’s no secret that revenue growth is a business’s top priority. This is because it represents the ability to invest in innovation and create growth opportunities continually. At the center of revenue growth lies sales operations (sales ops). But it’s not just about increasing sales. It’s about how well the sales team can perform their job efficiently and effectively.
Think of sales operations as the link between strategy and execution. It’s the oil that keeps the whole sales process in a business running smoothly. You can’t see it, but it’s critical to the success of any sales team. Sales operations enable better resource allocation, streamlined processes, improved customer service, and a clearer understanding of customer needs. All these factors can lead to increased revenue growth and higher customer satisfaction for businesses.
This article will explore how sales operations can influence revenue growth and how businesses can utilize their sales ops to maximize profits. You’ll also learn the difference between sales operations and revenue operations.
Sales Operations vs. Revenue Operations
Often used interchangeably and confused for the same thing, sales operations, and revenue operations are two distinct but complementary functions. Gartner refers to revenue operations or RevOps as “the convergence of marketing, sales, and customer service.” Simply put, revenue operations is the combination of all teams and departments in a firm that bring in revenue.
On the other hand, sales operations focus on driving revenue growth via operational efficiency. This may include data collection, sales force automation, resource management, customer segmentation and analysis, and process optimization. Sales operations is about understanding the customer’s requirements and creating a plan that allows the sales team to deliver value.
From these two definitions, you could say that revenue operations is the umbrella under which sales ops falls. Sales operations are the means to reach revenue targets, while revenue operations take a more holistic approach.
The Components of Sales Operations That Drive Revenue Growth
Sales operations is more than just increasing the sales team’s efficiency. Its components drive revenue growth and allow firms to reach their goals faster.
Here are the essential components of sales operations that help drive revenue growth for your business:
- People: A successful sales operations team needs the right people with the right skills that are specialized in specific areas: Intergration, workflows, process oriented, QA, etc.
- Processes: Process optimization is critical for sales operations teams. Streamlining processes helps reduce the time and effort spent on mundane tasks, allowing the sales team to focus more on selling. Creating a strong process of which information gets passed and documented is also critical. This needs to include training and quality checks for leakage.
- Technology: Sales teams depend on data to gain insights about customers and prospects. By integrating disparate technologies to work together, different departments are able to communicate and share data. This leads to a more streamlined sales process and reduces bottlenecks in workflows.
- Data: Sales operations heavily rely on data. Collecting, storing, and analyzing customer data allows firms to understand their customers better and develop strategies to improve revenue growth. Having a true source of data with clear KPI’s that are important to what the company sees as “success”. Data needs to flow from first touch to post sale.
- Strategy Focused Leaders: Every successful sales operations team needs a strategy focused, and agile leader who is responsive and adaptive to both technology and systemic changes to oversee the team and help drive it toward its goals. The leader should clearly understand the business objectives, strategies, and targets.
6 Ways Sales Operations Management Can Improve Revenue Growth
1) Decreasing Sales Time Spent on Non-revenue Generating Tasks
If you ask any sales rep what they typically do, chances are they would say “sales.” However, if you dig deeper, you’ll find that reps spend a lot of time on other responsibilities like data entry, creating reports, or other administrative tasks.
Statistics indicate that a salesperson spends only 28 percent of their time selling out of a typical five- or six-day workweek.
While these are necessary activities, they do not generate any revenue and can limit the time salespeople have to focus on selling.
Sales operations can help reduce the time spent on non-revenue generating activities by:
- Automating Mundane Tasks: Technology is often key in making manual tasks quicker and more efficient. However, with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to determine which tool is right for your sales team. This is where sales ops comes in. Sales operations teams’ responsibilities include conducting extensive research to help your business decide which technology investment best suits your needs. Sales ops personnel have a detailed understanding of what the tool will need to do, where it will be used, and how it will fit into your existing systems. For instance, sales automation tools like CRM can help salespeople save time on data entry and administrative tasks while allowing sales teams to focus more on selling.
- Bridging Interdepartmental Communication Gaps: Sales reps also spend a lot of time on communication tasks as they coordinate with other departments like customer service, sales engineering, and product development. This can lead to delays in sales cycles and missed sales opportunities. Sales operations can bridge these communication gaps by creating clear and effective communication channels such as sales portals, sales process maps, and sales dashboards. This not only helps salespeople easily access the information they need but also helps departments coordinate more effectively, leading to sales cycles that are shorter and more efficient.
- Optimizing Processes: Optimizing sales processes is also a key sales ops activity. This includes analyzing sales workflows and looking for any inefficiencies that can be corrected to reduce sales times and increase sales opportunities. By streamlining processes, sales teams can focus more on selling instead of bogging down mundane tasks.
2) Increasing Alignment Between Sales and Marketing
Businesses can create synergies that drive sales growth when sales and marketing departments align. However, this isn’t always the case for most businesses. In fact, sales and marketing teams often have different goals, processes, and strategies that can lead to a disconnect.
Historically, marketing and sales departments have operated separately – developing their own data sets, strategies, campaigns, and outreach efforts. This results in a traditional conversion funnel that’s disjointed and inefficient.
Sales operations helps to bridge the sales marketing gap by aligning sales and marketing departments around one unified sales process. This unified sales process ensures that sales teams are armed with marketing-approved messages and materials and sales activities are tracked and analyzed continuously.
Here is how sales operations can help sales and marketing teams align:
- Centralizing Sales and Marketing Data: Data is a critical sales and marketing asset. By centralizing sales and marketing data, sales operations can ensure sales teams can access the right information whenever needed. This allows sales and marketing teams to make data-driven decisions about sales strategies and optimize sales campaigns for maximum efficiency.
- Creating Shared Goals: Sales and marketing teams should share the same sales goals to work more efficiently. Sales operations can help create sales objectives that both sales and marketing teams can work towards. This helps sales and marketing teams stay aligned on sales goals, which drives sales growth.
- Creating a Sales Marketing Customer Success Framework: The sales, marketing, and customer success functions should be aligned around one unified sales process. This sales marketing customer success framework ensures sales teams are armed with marketing-approved messages and materials while sales activities are tracked and analyzed continuously.
- Establishing Sales Processes: Establishing sales processes is a key sales operations activity. This helps sales and marketing teams understand what needs to be done to achieve sales objectives and how sales activities should be tracked. It also helps sales and marketing teams collaborate more effectively, increasing the sales growth.
3) Increases Forecasting Accuracy
At the heart of sales is data, which is used to identify trends, anticipate customer needs, and accurately forecast sales. This is key as sales forecasts help sales teams plan for the future and set realistic goals. While sales forecasts may appear straightforward, they can be incredibly complex and challenging for ordinary sales reps.
Sales operations can help sales teams create accurate and reliable sales forecasts by:
1) Collecting Data: Sales operations professionals collect and analyze data from multiple sources, such as customer feedback, market trends, and sales conversations. This allows them to identify patterns in customer behavior and anticipate future customer needs.
2) Analyzing Trends: Sales operations teams also analyze trends in customer behavior and market changes. This helps them identify growth opportunities and improvement areas, leading to more accurate sales forecasts.
3) Creating Models: Sales ops specialists also use predictive analytics and forecasting models to create detailed sales projections. This allows them to anticipate potential customer needs and accurately plan for the future.
4) Increases Technology Adoption and Optimization
Even though the world is in the “digital era,” sales teams still struggle with technology adoption and digital implementation. This is due to sales teams not fully understanding the value of sales technology and how it can help them become more efficient.
As a result, sales teams may be reluctant to invest in sales technology or not use it to its full potential, and when they do, the technology is met with resistance from sales reps.
Sales operations can help sales teams adopt and optimize sales technologies such as AI and sales automation tools. They do this by:
1) Training Sales Reps: Sales operations professionals can train sales teams on how to use sales technologies and the benefits they provide. By understanding the value of sales technologies, sales reps are more likely to use them and leverage their full potential.
2) Identifying the Right Tools: While tech adoption is essential, not all tools will work for your sale model. Sales operations can help sales teams find the best tools for their operations by researching, testing, and analyzing sales tools. This ensures sales teams are using the best tools to maximize sales growth.
3) Finding the Right Tech Balance: One of the biggest reasons sales teams struggle with finding the tools that work for their sales process is because of juggling too many tools. Too much automation can lead to sales reps feeling overwhelmed, as well as a decrease in sales efficiency. Sales operations help sales teams find the right balance between automation and manual sales work, allowing sales teams to focus on sales activities that drive revenue growth.
5) Shortening Onboarding Time and Ramp-up Time
One of the biggest challenges sales teams face is onboarding and equipping new sales reps with the necessary skills. On average, it takes three months to onboard and train a new sales representative before they are ready to engage with customers.
Moreover, getting the rep up-to-speed after that can take up to 11 months. Not to mention that if those responsible for onboarding lack expertise in sales, this process, unfortunately, may extend far beyond the initial three-month period.
Sales operations can optimize the onboarding process and shorten ramp-up time for sales reps by:
1) Conducting the Training: Instead of having sales reps trained by trainers who do not understand sales, sales operations leaders and specialists can take charge and provide sales-specific training. This ensures sales reps receive comprehensive sales education and the necessary sales skills.
2) Creating Onboarding Materials: Sales ops can also create specific onboarding materials to help sales reps understand sales trends, customer buying behaviors, and strategies. This helps sales reps become sales-ready faster as they are familiar with sales topics upon arrival.
6) Shortening Sales Cycles by Identifying Bottlenecks
Sales cycle lengths can vary depending on the sales process, strategy, and customer behavior. For instance, long sales cycles can result from teams not understanding their customers’ needs or inefficient sales processes. This can result in sales reps losing sales opportunities and sales cycles stretching beyond their expected deadlines. In the long run, this can lead to sales revenues taking a hit.
Sales operations can help sales teams identify sales bottlenecks and shorten sales cycles by:
1) Analyzing Sales Processes: Sales ops personnel must first analyze sales processes, workflows, and objectives. This helps them identify inefficiencies or areas where sales cycles can be shortened.
2) Optimizing Sales Processes: Once sales operations identify bottlenecks, they can optimize sales processes to help sales teams close sales faster. This could include creating sales scripts, automating sales activities, and standardizing sales processes to ensure sales teams are equipped with tools such as CRM platforms to close sales faster.
3) Monitoring Sales Performance: Sales operations can also regularly monitor sales performance and activities. This helps sales teams identify areas for improvement and take corrective action to ensure sales cycles close on time.
Why Sales, Marketing & Revenue Operations Should Work Together?
Revenue operations is an emerging strategy that combines sales, marketing, and customer success teams to optimize sales performance.
When sales, marketing, and revenue operations work together, businesses can realize a strong impact on both top-line (productivity) and bottom line (efficiency) performance.
Here are some advantages of sales, marketing, and revenue operations working together:
1) Improved Sales Performance: By combining sales and revenue operations, businesses can optimize their sales process and ensure sales teams are sales-ready. This increases sales rep productivity, improves insights, and creates more sales opportunities.
2) Enhanced Customer Experience: Businesses can provide a more personalized customer experience by combining sales and revenue operations. This leads to improved sales conversions, higher satisfaction levels, and increased revenues.
3) Enhanced Sales Visibility: Sales and revenue operations can also help sales teams gain better visibility into sales activities. This leads to sales teams making data-driven sales decisions and sales teams being able to track sales performance in real time.
Sales operations teams are undoubtedly essential in helping sales teams drive sales performance. By optimizing sales processes, bridging the sales marketing gap, and increasing sales technology adoption, sales operations teams can help any business maximize sales growth. Nonetheless, sales operations teams need the right approach and strategies to be successful.
Does your business need help with sales operations management? At SFE Partners, our sales professionals can help with that. We partner with businesses to help grow revenues by optimizing sales operations and increasing sales performance.
Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help your business take your sales operations to the next level.