The Importance of Sales Operations

If I told you that you could improve your sales teams success tenfold by leveraging the data already in your CRM you would want to, right?

Some of my favorite memories throughout my career in sales and recruiting are when my company builds their foundation, sees explosive growth, and A/B tests new tools to that would help us reach our goals. Even with my team at TwentyPine, we share wins, we share losses, and we are constantly refining our process.

The most important piece of this stage is the utilization of sales operations. A lot of scaling companies are missing out on an opportunity to target their sales approach, and they are failing to measure the success of their efforts correctly- both of which are detrimental as they start to double in size.  

Now, not every B2B sales organization will need sales operations right away, but it is important to know what it is, the benefits it can have on your organization, and the signs of when you will need it (because you will). For those companies already using it- fantastic! However, it is equally important to know how to build out a team to maintain that function as your team continues its growth.

So, what is sales operations?

You have probably heard the saying that sales is an art, and I agree with that statement. However, it is no longer enough for your SDR to be extremely persuasive and polished on the phone. Now your SDR has to use data and science even to get the right person on the phone in the first place. It is no longer enough to have an entire team of SDR’s spinning their wheels with leads that will not convert into a deal. You have to get your sales down to a science. You need a faster, highly targeted, and specific approach to your sales process- this is where sales operations comes in.

At a high level, sales ops encompasses the activities and processes that help your sales organization run in an effective, and efficient way to support your company’s business objectives. I like to think of it as the key to enabling your sales team to work smarter rather than harder.

At the granular level, sales operations can provide tools, and structure that will allow your sales team to spend more time selling, and less time doing administrative tasks or logging information. But more than that, it will drive growth and revenue for your organization by pulling insights from the data found within your CRM.

Someone focused on the sales operations for your team can pinpoint what stage your SDR’s are losing deals most, and even why.  It will help you tailor your approach by showing what industry, or maybe even region your team has found the most success. It will even help you define your ideal customer profile.

Sales ops also takes on a lot more functions, including territory planning, commission/incentive structure, and perhaps most importantly, setting the KPIs and metrics for your sales team to follow.

When do you know you should build out this function for your team?

There are a number of reasons for a company to start building out sales ops within their organization.

At TwentyPine, we see a lot of startups build out sales ops when they start finding bad data within their Salesforce or CRM. This is very common for both companies that are young, or teams that recently scaled significantly. However, bad data means you are missing important insights or what you have is way off base. Without that information your forecasting and reporting are much less effective and it only gets worse as time goes on.  

On the flip side, some clients have been collecting all the right data, but now they do not know how to use all the information to their advantage. Sales ops can design dashboards (or improve data quality of your current dashboards) that will enable managers to coach through their team’s specific problems and recognize where top performers are finding their success.  Other reasons to build out sales ops can be that your sales reps are spending too much time on administrative tasks, logging information, or fighting for deals that are going nowhere. As we mentioned in our article on the transition to Lightning, fewer clicks should equal a faster sales process and Sales Ops professionals are well-versed in designing these workflows.

At the end of the day, remember that the longer you wait after identifying these issues the bigger the mess can be when you start to bring in sales operations hires. Second to that, bringing in a Sales Ops Analyst or Sales Operations Manager does not mean all of the problems will be fixed right away, but these hires can be the start to a solution.

Looking for more information about sales ops?

I am excited to announce that TwentyPine will be hosting a Sales Operations Panel with some of the best Sales Operations Leaders in NYC on April 11th. Our first event will focus on helping companies further understand when to build out sales ops at their organization, and what challenges they can expect.

Check out our Eventbrite page for tickets and event details, and follow our Facebook and LinkedIn pages for updates about the incredible people on our panel!

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