The Increasing Importance of Sales Operations
A hot topic in sales operations circles today is how to balance people, power, and automation. At its core, it’s a sales operations dilemma. It’s like the folktale of John Henry — the steel-driving man — swinging his mighty hammer in competition against a steam-driven railroad machine. The question becomes, is it more reps making more calls or increasing automation that will win the day. That’s the question that highlights the increasing importance of sales operations.
The world of sales doesn’t revolve around a phone and a phonebook anymore. There are lots of things that need to happen before a rep can make a call. We need John Henry, but we’ve got to give him quite a bit more assistance. This is where sales operations comes into play. The march towards better technology is one of the reasons why sales operations continues to be increasingly vital to sales success.
What is Sales Operations?
Sales operations is a set of activities and processes within a sales organization that helps reps sell more effectively, and deliver results in line with the company’s objectives and strategies. As a business unit, sales operations is a strategic function that helps reduce friction and optimizes the sales process.
The goal of sales ops is efficiency. Moreover, there is a growing expectation that technology and data analytics will bring about greater efficiency. This expectation creates anxiety surrounding whether sales ops will drop the ball before the rep has a chance to make a call. Consequently, sales ops professionals are always on their toes.
Rapidly Changing Sales Ops Technology
Underlying sales ops technology is developing so quickly that it can be challenging to keep up with the rapid change. While Salesforce is the 100-pound CRM gorilla, there are hundreds of small technology providers that are coming up with better,faster, and cheaper ways of accomplishing important sales ops functions.
One of the main drivers is the quest for efficiency. New Salesforce add-ons and standalone apps are popping up daily with the promise of eliminating the need of several other products by combining their functions into one tool. This puts sales ops professionals in the constant state of discovering which is really the most effective and efficient tool to handle a task.
Sales Ops Is More Than Technology
An essential part of sales ops is formulating a strategy that meets the organization’s objectives. Sales ops professionals are tasked with defining a high-level vision for the sales organization along with developing the strategy that will be used to meet those objectives. Although it might involve evaluating and selecting the best technology, this task goes beyond the underlying evaluation and tactical deployment of technology.
Additionally, sales ops can contribute to the performance of the sales department by assuming the burden of administrative and operational tasks. To ensure that sales reps have the knowledge and skills to succeed, sales ops can take the lead on hiring, training, and knowledge management.
Other responsibilities that sales ops can assume include:
• Defining and refining sales processes for efficiency
• Managing sales data
• Analyzing sales data
• Organizing and maintaining sales collateral
• Reporting campaign results
• Sales forecasting
• Managing compensation plans
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Acquirent Is Your Sales Ops Partner
John Henry ultimately won the race against the machine. However, he died in victory with his hammer in his hand. Had John Henry worked with the support of the machine, he would have survived. There would have been more balance between physical labor and technology in the process. And, the railroad company would have laid quite a bit more track that day.
Today, great sales reps – and great sales results – are the product of great sales operations. At Acquirent, we customize our sales ops support services to your needs. We can direct everything from the very first cold call through the closing of the deal. Or, we can fit our services into your system. Whatever sales ops resources you need, we can provide.
Authors: Shannon Kita and Jaime McGillan