Sales operations is the backbone of any sales organization. It ensures that all processes are running smoothly and efficiently, from lead generation to customer acquisition. But what does sales operations do? And how can it help your business? This article tells you everything you need to know about sales operations including the roles and responsibilities of the operations team.
What is sales operations?
Before we answer this question, ”what does sales operations do” lets understant the term sales operations.
Sales Operations is a broad term that can cover a lot of different areas.
Sales operations has come a long way since it first started in the 1970s. Back then, sales operations focused mainly on analyzing data to give sales reps direction and insights. Nowadays, the roles and objectives of sales operations are much broader.
Sales Operations is about providing strategic support to front-line salespeople and helping them sell more effectively and efficiently.
The roles of marketers and salespeople have broadened.
Sales ops fills both a strategic and a tactical role.
Sales operations is responsible for a company’s sales strategy and making sure it is executed effectively. This includes managing the sales team, developing processes, implementing best practices, and using data to drive decisions. Sales ops also oversees things like lead management, CRM, pipeline and opportunity management, and the order-to-cash process.
So what does sales operations do exactly? Lets continue reading to find out!
What does sales operations do?
Sales operations is a field of business that is responsible for the efficient and effective running of a company’s sales team.
It is responsible for ensuring that the sales team has the necessary resources to do their job, and that they are using those resources in the most efficient way possible.
Sales operations also works to improve the sales process itself, by constantly looking for ways to make it more efficient and effective.
Below we break down the goals of today’s sales teams, the functions that they perform, and best practices for each team.
Sales Ops Vs. Sales Enablement
The line between sales and operations is blurry. Many people use these terms synonymously, and there often is some overlap between the roles that each department plays.
The ultimate goal of both teams is to increase sales and increase revenue.
So what’s the difference?
Sales Enablement teams are different for every organization. Some organizations may place their sales teams first, while others put their marketing teams.
Sales operations, on the other hand, tend to focus on high-level support and enablement for sales teams, such as territory planning, technology, and reports.
Because the structure of sales teams differs between companies, we will cover a broad range of possible positions under the Sales Ops banner.
What are the roles of sales operations?
Sales operations teams play a vital role in the success of any organization by performing a variety of functions including strategy, data analysis, hiring and training, forecasting, territory design, and sales process optimization. By taking on these important responsibilities, sales operations teams help to ensure that businesses are able to achieve their goals and objectives.
The role of sales operations is to ensure that the sales team has the resources and information they need to be successful. This includes developing and implementing strategies, managing technology and data, overseeing day-to-day operations, and measuring performance. By providing support in these areas, sales operations can help the sales team close more deals and reach their quotas.
Sales ops helps define high-level goals for sales teams, and develops strategies for meeting these goals.
Sales operations is responsible for a company’s sales strategy and making sure it is executed effectively. This includes optimizing the sales process, evaluating sales technology and methodology, planning sales coverage and territory, setting goals, analyzing data, and forecasting sales.
Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and other tools available to businesses.
While new technology and data are making it easier for sales teams, the complexity that comes with using multiple systems can end up overwhelming reps and wasting their time.
Sales ops is the department that manages the sales team’s technology. Their job, essentially, is to make sure the reps have the tools they need to do their job.
Sales operations is responsible for a company’s sales strategy and making sure it is executed effectively. This includes managing the sales team, developing processes, and using data to improve performance.
They also play a key role in customer relationship management (CRM) and ensuring that the right tools and applications are being used. Sales operations need to be able to communicate effectively, manage data, and automate tasks in order to be successful.
Sales ops ensures that the sales department runs smoothly and efficiently by taking on administrative and operational tasks. This allows salespeople to focus on selling, which in turn contributes to high performance and expertise throughout the department.
Sales operations is responsible for ensuring that the sales department has the information and resources it needs to be successful. This includes analyzing data to identify areas of improvement, developing and implementing processes to optimize performance, and providing training and support to sales reps.
Additionally, sales ops teams may also be involved in hiring new sales staff and managing knowledge management systems.
Operational tasks and responsibilities include: product training, sales training, hiring and onboarding top talent, market intelligence support, contracts and SLAs, KB management. The roles of sales operations are to complete these operational tasks and responsibilities in order to help the sales team be as successful as possible.
Sales operations is responsible for improving performance and productivity by eliminating barriers and smoothing processes for sales representatives. This may include focusing on specific performance priorities in order to achieve the best results possible.
The sales ops team focuses on these key performance metrics:
Customer relationship management (CRM)
Pipeline and opportunity management
How to Run a Successful Sales Operations Team
These tips will help you run a successful sales team.
Create a Mission Statement For Your Sales Operations Team
A well-defined purpose is essential for any successful sales team. Without one, your (sales) (operations) team will fail.
Sales ops should be created with a clear goal in mind. Without one, you’ll end up creating extra work for your team and wasting precious time and resources.
Your sales ops team will function more effectively if they have a clearly-defined mission and set of goals. This will allow them to better guide their strategy and decisions.
Manage and Scale Processes
Sales ops teams are responsible for helping sales teams scale their processes and become more efficient.
Your organization should centralize its best practices, processes, and standards for the sales department.
By following best practices, documented processes and company procedures, everyone will be operating efficiently.
To ensure that sales ops is as effective as possible, the team should document all processes and standards in a centralized location.
Updates and changes should be communicated effectively to ensure smooth transitions. The most effective channels should be used to communicate across the organization.
Sales Operations Challenges
Sales Operations faces many challenges, but here are some of the most common:
Sales operations teams play a vital role in ensuring that companies are able to reach their sales goals. However, they face a number of challenges, including keeping up with the rapidly changing landscape, dealing with bad data and outdated technology, and lack of support from leadership.
Additionally, poor organizational alignment can prevent sales ops from being effective.
How do you measure the success of sales operations?
The types of measurements you use to track your sales performance depends on a number of factors, including your goals, the sales cycle of your product, and your industry.
Here are some metrics you can use to evaluate your ops strategies:
One important metric for sales operations is the quota attainment rate, or the percentage of reps that meet or exceed their targets. Another key metric is pipeline value, which measures the estimated value of all deals in the pipeline. Additionally, sales ops teams often track average win rate, average deal size, and average sales cycle length.
This is just a small sampling of the many ways you can measure the effectiveness of your sales process.
The key to making sure your analytics are actionable is focusing on specific goals and answering specific questions.
Sales operations can be successful when time spent selling is increased and the tasks that take away from selling are automated, eliminated, or outsourced. This helps to free up time for sales representatives so they can focus on making sales and meeting quotas.
Quota attainment rates can help you understand the effectiveness of your sales operations. If quotas are not being met, it may be necessary to rethink your approach to training, hiring, or sharing information.
How to build a winning sales operation strategy?
Defining what goes into building a successful strategy to drive growth isn’t easy. Because of this, it can be difficult to know where to start.
According to Gartner, a “basic” framework for building your CRM strategy includes:
1. Set clear goals.
What are your goals?
2. Assess the current state of your sales department. This includes reviewing, assessing and mapping out your existing team, their talent and their tools, as well as what’s available in terms of technology and materials.
3. Develop a strategy: In order to optimize your sales enablement strategy, you must first equip your sales force with the proper tools and technologies needed to sell more effectively and efficiently. By doing so, you will not only improve your chances of making a sale, but also increase your overall efficiency as a company.
4. Define what an optimized sales operation looks like for your company.2. Work with leadership to establish efficient processes and implement the necessary changes.3. Drive conversations around the importance of an optimized sales operation and how it can benefit the company as a whole.4. Continually monitor progress and make adjustments as needed to ensure optimal results.
Now, how you “fill in the blanks” depends on your business’ goals, your team’s dynamic, your sales ops’ level of maturity, and so on. However, here are some basic tips that you can implement into your strategy.
The Keys to a Successful Sales Strategy
While it’s important to be flexible, it’s equally important to be prepared.
The complexity of the sales process means that proper documentation of your conversations has never been more important.
1. Build a formal charter
A charter helps set standards for a sales rep’s pay, territory, and metrics.
The Executive Sponsor can help facilitate support from other executives, as well as from external partners and customers.
It ensures all teams are in sync when it comes to communication, sales process, and the big picture.
2 Build dynamic Sales Processes
According to sales guru, Elizabeth Marrino, sales teams must constantly adapt their approach to the market, buyers, and the tech they use.
What that means for ops teams is that they must take a page out of the software development playbook and embrace agile processes focused on continuous improvement. This way, they can keep up with changing market conditions, buyer expectations, and an ever-evolving tech stack.
On the other hand, sales teams have to be very careful about experimenting with their approach during a buyer interaction. Doing something differently could jeopardize the entire deal.
Instead of following the same process every time, the Heiman group suggests creating a more dynamic approach.
The Miller Heiman Group defines “dynamic” processes as those which are agile enough to adapt strategies in real-time via analyticsguided selling tools, yet structured enough to ensure reps apply proven best practices on the job. This allows sales organizations to make faster, smarter decisions using real-time data.
With SalesLoft, sales teams can make faster and better-informed decisions based on real-time information.
A dynamic approach to forecasting can help sales organizations close deals 7% faster than those using random or static processes, according to new research.
3. Achieving Cross-Functional Alignment
While sales ops is responsible for running the program, they aren’t the ones driving the cultural changes.
The ops team at the company serves as a bridge between various departments such as IT, the C-suite, product & marketing teams, and of course, the sales & service reps. The goal of the ops team is to make sure that all teams are aligned around the same goals and working from the same data. Additionally, the ops team strives to ensure that best practices are being followed by all employees.
But it’s about making sure that all teams are on the same page, working towards the same goal, and using the same information.
The sales ops team ensures that all revenue-affecting players are on the same page.
As customer journeys become more complex, sales operations can no longer be outsourced. Organizations need a dedicated, full-time team to ensure all revenue-influencing players are functioning as a unified front.
4. Focus on customer retention
Building off the idea of aligning with your customers, it’s important to keep building relationships with them long after the sale.
Closing a deal is the start of your relationship with a client.
Sales ops teams are there to not only find great leads to contact, but also help move those leads into the pipeline at lightning speeds.
But, it’s their responsibility to help their customers solve their problems and seize new opportunities.
Because the role of a Sales Operations team is data driven, they are in a unique position to help retain customers.
Sales operations teams can use customer data to improve a number of different areas that impact customer relationships beyond the close. For example, they can use data to improve ongoing training efforts, demo strategies, communications, and contract negotiations. By doing so, they can help ensure better post-close outcomes for their customers.
5. Show business decision makers how to become data driven
Sales technology is changing all the time, and sales teams need to stay on top of it. Otherwise, they may find themselves with a disconnected set of tools that prevent them from selling effectively.
Sales operations teams play a vital role in helping leadership teams and sales managers overcome the problem of being “data-rich, but insight poor.” By providing data-driven insights, sales operations teams can help business leaders make informed decisions that drive results.
So what does sales operations do? Sales operations is responsible for a lot! From generating leads and acquiring customers, to managing data and analytics – they’ve got it covered.
But more importantly than just keeping things running smoothly day-to-day, the team also provides valuable insights that help business leaders make informed decisions about where to focus their efforts next. So if you’re looking to become a data-driven power user, Sales Operations is definitely the way to go!