What is sales operations? Sales operations are a process or structure that ensures your sales team succeeds. This includes data management, forecasting, pricing, proposal operations, and accountability structures.
This process is managed and optimized by sales ops managers.
What is sales operations?
Sales operations refers to the unit, role, activities, and activities of a sales organization that enable, support, and drive front-line sales reps in selling better, faster, more efficiently. Sales leaders provide support to sales reps through software tools, training, engagement techniques, and other tools.
Without sales operations, selling is not complete. This department is often overlooked or under-appreciated. It uses data to plan, best practice to guide training, as well as technology to hack success.
A sales ops department is an essential part of any mature sales organization. It has a wide reach and has a deep effect on the top (productivity and efficiency) as well as the bottom (productivity and profitability, etc.
What are the key functions of a Sales Operations Group’s Sales Operations Groups and Sales Operations Groups?
Sales Ops now includes nearly all functions that provide strategic insights to sales teams to help them achieve sustainable growth.
Although the structure, hierarchy and primary role of sales representatives can differ between industries and businesses of different sizes, most sales ops leaders have a core set of functions.
Sales ops started as a small group of number crunchers that did financial analysis, forecasting and reporting. Sales ops has grown to be a more powerful data analysis unit and reporting unit that can provide critical insight into the following areas.
- Optimizing the Sales Process
- Analyses of Performance Metrics
- Formulation of Incentive Program
- Evaluation of Sales Team Training Needs
- Assessment and adoption sales methods
- Selection of Enablement Software and Other Technology Tools
- Forecasting for Growth and Assignment of Sales Territory
Sales professionals manage administrative and operational tasks so that sellers can focus on selling.
- Salesforce Training, Onboarding, and Recruitment
- Implementation of the Recommended Compensation and Incentives Program
- Allocation of Accounts & Sales Territories
- Collaboration and communication channels must be maintained
- Contract Lifecycle Management
Performance and Process
Sales operations were created to improve sales performance. Sales operations simplify sales processes and allow sellers to close more business.
This is where the numbers-crunching skills of sales ops analysts and the expertise they have make the most impact.
- Select the Key Sales Metrics That You Should Choose
- Training & Development (Coaching & Mentoring)
- Optimizing and Implementing the Sales Process
- Sales Activities
- Lead Generation
- Conversion rates
- Implementation of sales frameworks, and methods
- Optimizing Sales Tools, Knowledge Base, and Other Assets
- Data Analytics
- Contract Management
- Templates and forms
- Client Engagement & Outreach
The Structure of an Agile Sales Operations Unit
Due to the variety of organizational structures available, it is nearly impossible to identify the right structure for your sales operations. This is true even among the same-sized players in the industry. You can find organizational templates and models that you can use to create your own structure.
Matt Cameron, the managing partner at Sales Ops Central has written an excellent guide about how to build a sales team for fast-growing companies.
Matt outlined in the guide the stages companies should go through to hire sales personnel based upon annual revenue (ARR).
His matrix (see below), shows that companies with less then one million dollars in ARR can hire a variety tech-savvy employees, analysts and administrators.
- Manage the CRM
- Create, analyze, present and submit reports.
- Manage your compensation.
If the company’s annual revenue exceeds $1,000,000., it should not hire a “Sales efficiency manager”. This person will supervise the onboarding, training, and certification of talent.
If the ARR exceeds $10,000,000, a separate unit may be created.
The newly created Sales Ops unit will be responsible not only for technical and sales enablement but also for the following tasks:
- Go-to-market strategy & planning
- Operational plan, sales growth
- Deals desk
- Design of Territory
- Compensation plan
- Sales process enforcement
Sales Ops Manager vs Typical Sales Manager
Sales ops units support sales managers in achieving their goals and maximising the talent pool (i.e. They are responsible for the sales floor.
A sales ops manager oversees many administrative and operational tasks required to manage a sales team.
This gives the sales manager more time for selling and strategic decisions that will lead to long-term success.
Sales ops managers can take over these areas or processes depending on their organizational maturity.
- Strategy planning is made easier by data-driven insights and forecasts
- Sales personnel can be hired, trained, and onboarded
- Management of content and knowledge base
- Customer contract life cycle management
- It is important to implement incentive and compensation programs
- Forcing processes, methodologies, or performance matrices
- Manage, synchronize, and optimize technology stack, including CRM
The Sales Operations Process
A functional sales ops unit can help to create and implement a sales process for all sales personnel.
Salespeople often return to their existing processes and templates when new challenges or obstacles arise.
The gateway (i.e., demand) is the key to success. In early-stage sales organizations, the gateway (i.e. demand) may be at different points in their sales process or in relation to their operational and structural makeup.
Sales ops can be created to help the sales leader with handling:
- Administrative tasks
- Technical functions
- Strategic responsibilities
In mature companies, sales ops fully assume technical and administrative functions. They provide analytical support to sales leaders when formulating strategy and other crucial decision-making situations.
Here are some areas sales ops can make a difference in the process.
- CRM optimization and administration
- Integration and synchronization with other tools in the technology stack
- Optimizing and implementing sales processes
- Improvements in accuracy and reporting workflows
- Automating non-selling or selling tasks
- Management of knowledge bases, content assets and other information
- Ownership of talent development & compensation
Sales Enablement vs Sales Operations
Sometimes sales operations and sales enablement can be interchangeable. They are not synonyms. They can be used interchangeably and share many common goals. Both are intended to improve the efficiency and performance a sales organization.
Sales operations will be focused on the entire organization, including its structures, processes and technologies. Sales enablement will however be focused on the efficiency and customer experience.
This context may lead you to think of sales enablement, which historically has emerged much later than normal, as a subset sales operations.
Many companies have sales enablement teams that fall under the sales operations umbrella. This is not always true. Sometimes, the two units can be managed by the same person as the branches of the same sales organization.
Modern sales ops are responsible to manage the operational aspects of selling, including account assignment, territory planning, compensation, and overall management systems.
Sales enablement focuses on the aspects that directly affect sellers’ performance (e.g. Sales enablement includes staff training, customer communication tools, and process efficiency.
Sales Operations Best Practices
The sales operations unit was created to integrate science, system, best practices, and technology into the selling process.
Sales ops is now an integral part of any sales organization. There are many ways to run an effective sales organization.
Many factors influence the ideal structure for sales operations, including corporate culture, scale, and maturity of sales.
SAVO Group has published a comprehensive guide to best practices in sales operations for mature businesses. Here are some highlights:
Key insight #1: Sales leaders and sales personnel must work together to create strategy. This collaboration should be based on the field experience of both sales leaders and market empathy and domain expertise. It should also consider the data-driven insights provided to it by the sales ops unit. These are some of the key inputs that sales ops can provide:
- Greater predictability and better outcomes
- Identification and implementation Key Performance Metrics (KPIs)
- Analyze the territory allocation and plan for assigning accounts
- Evaluation of sales processes and salesforce structure
- Formulation of a long-term compensation plan
- Evaluation of go-to-market strategies and methods
What are the responsibilities and roles of a sales operations manager?
Sales operations are designed to reduce friction and ensure that salespeople succeed. A sales operations manager’s role is to manage a sales team, establish goals and KPIs, forecast revenue, and oversee the execution of those goals. This requires leadership skills.
1. Accurate visibility into the performance of the sales team
The manager must monitor the performance of the entire sales team and provide reports. Each member of the sales team must set monthly, quarterly, or annual goals. However, it is important to establish goals and KPIs for all sales personnel.
While it is important to set goals individually, setting goals for the entire team will help you monitor their performance and identify areas for improvement. There are three things that you must do to effectively manage your team’s goals:
- A successful sales process
- Good CRM
- Simple way to track the performance of sales reps
2. Assist with the sales funnel
You are responsible for managing the sales channel as the sales operations manager. You are responsible to ensure that all contacts go through the firm’s sales channels seamlessly.
All data must be analyzed to determine the impact on sales velocity. You should also check the conversion rates at each stage in the sales funnel. Based on this analysis, you can make suggestions to improve the funnel.
3. Optimizing the Sales Process
Sales operations managers are responsible to optimize and ensure that the sales process runs smoothly. Most likely, your company already has a sales process. Most likely, you already have a sales process in order. You likely already have a sales process in place. Are you sure it is working?
A sales manager can help pinpoint the areas that are causing problems in your sales process. The sales operations manager can help you identify the problem and suggest solutions.
4. How to choose and manage automation tools for sales
The technology stack is the responsibility of the sales operations manager. This includes tools and capabilities that will benefit your sales team.
Managers must also ensure that your company has the best systems possible. Managers need to evaluate the capabilities and use of tools in order to achieve success.
5. Responsable in sales forecasting
Each member of your team may be focused on their individual goals. They should all be aware of the larger goals they should be working towards. Forecasting can be used for accurate predictions of the performance of each member in your team. It is possible to set realistic goals that are achievable for your team.
6. How to choose and maintain sales tools
Sales operations tools are required for maintaining and choosing the CRM. Trusted CRMs that are used by sales reps will allow you to get your team working together. Transparent CRMs enable reps to evaluate the quality of prospects.
7. Leading Sales Operations Professionals
It can be difficult for a complex organization to manage all aspects of sales operations. A strong team of experts in sales operations will achieve the best results. They will ensure that all tasks get completed.
What is the Sales Operations Department?
Sales operations, also known as sales ops, can be found in the sales operations department.
This department is responsible to many responsibilities, including maintaining and creating growth. Sales operations roles include lead management, sales strategy, and data handling.
What are the components of a successful sales operation?
Here are five key components to a successful sales team.
1. Data Management
A well-maintained database is essential for your sales operations. Proper data management will make you and your company successful. It will give you all the information you need to make informed decisions.
2. Analytics and Reporting
The right data can help you identify areas that perform well and those that are most likely to fail. It can also help you identify the best opportunities for success. Analytics and reporting can be used to aid in decision making and the evaluation of success or failure.
Proper forecasting is essential for any organization. Without forecasting, an organization could either spend too much to reduce margins or too little to miss sales. Forecasting is essential to your success. Forecasting can help you predict future sales.
4. Pricing and proposal operations
Proper pricing guidelines are essential for proposal operations. These guidelines should be simple, practical, and provide valuable insight to sales ops.
Lack of accountability is the most common reason sales operations fail to perform well within an organization’s sales department. Sales reps who aren’t held accountable will see lower revenue, higher costs and lower margins. Sales operations managers can hold sales reps accountable and motivate the entire team.
Sales operations are a process or structure that ensures your sales team succeeds. This includes data management, forecasting, pricing, proposal operations, and accountability structures. Sales ops managers manage this process. This helps to maximize sales performance.