I’ve been following the rise in sales enablement technologies and the latest trends in sales optimization, but yet clients still come to me asking why their sales teams are not more productive than they were before these sales improvements. Docurated recently released a report on the State of Sales Productivity in 2015. The research revealed that sales reps are struggling to find and use the basic systems and processes needed to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. According to KiteDesk, less than 50% of a salesperson’s time is spent actively selling.
Sales reps are overwhelmed with administrative tasks, like updating CRM systems, reporting pipeline and forecasts, creating content, providing status updates…all non-selling related activities. By investing and dedicating resources to a sales operations function, businesses can ensure sales reps spend 90-100% of their time performing the activities that have the greatest impact on sales results. Companies that employ a dedicated sales operations team see a direct correlation to an increase in revenue.
According to the Sales Operations Center of Excellence, 54% of sales operations departments are less than 3 years old. Early adopters are seeing the importance of the sales operations role and the key contributions they are making towards the overall success of a company. Joe Galvin, CRO for MHI Research Institute, recently wrote for Salesforce.com, “Through the strategic framework of sales performance management, the sales operations role has evolved into an active participant in improving sales productivity.”
The reality is that most sales organizations either don’t have a properly functioning sales operation team or don’t have the capability all together. Here are a few guidelines for structuring a dedicated sales operations team:
1. Think Strategic: Move Away From Reactive And Tactical
Historically, many sales organizations utilize sales operations as a resource to manage sales process, run reports, and administer CRM tools. Today we are seeing a shift from managing tasks to optimizing tasks. More companies are relying on sales ops to solve sales process problems, evaluate sales technology enablement tools and re-design sales structure based on market or product changes.
2. Think Smarter: Don’t Just Report The Numbers; Interpret The Numbers
These are the companies that understand the importance of data-driven decision making, driving consistent performance and measuring results. A highly successful sales operations team understands sales goals and success factors, analyzes results to determine sales efficiencies, and ensures that reporting is relevant based on business changes. The savvy sales operations team doesn’t spew out sales numbers and quotas, but rather tells a story about what those numbers mean and how it ladders up to larger business objectives.
3. Think Leadership: Lead The Change
Sales operations teams that identify improvement opportunities and implement change and measure progress are catalysts in impacting the overall success of the sales organization. The ability to influence others outside of their reporting structure and lead cross-functional change towards achieving strategic goals are imperative.
According to InsightSquared, “The ultimate goal of every Sales Operations team is consistent: Their job is to maximize the efficiency of revenue generation.” The specific roles and responsibilities of sales operations will vary from company to company. Regardless of the role, sales operations are focused on identifying and optimizing people, process and tools that help drive sales productivity and revenue growth. “The earlier you begin thinking about how to structure and scale your sales team, the greater its impact will be on your sales results.”
To sum it up: Sales operations is the catalyst for making sales teams successful, and companies that recognize this are making immediate investments and seeing immediate results.
If you are interested in learning the best practices in structuring a sales operations team and how to get started, download this guide on Sales Operations.