“Do more for less” is the tagline by which the sales executives are working. Sales leaders have a top priority of increasing the revenue and profit growth. As businesses grow, conventional methods like adding more sales executives to expand will not scale up and are not practical either. Sales leaders are simply expected to do more with less, in most cases. At the same time, new trends are forcing sales leaders to rethink how they sell.
If you’re a sales leader looking to get more efficient, consider the following sales operations improvements:
- Strategy and Planning
Sound strategizing and planning is imperative for any successful sales company. Operations must keep the plan in correlation with the company’s guiding principles and external market trends. For a growing company, it is extremely important to produce a strategy that is ready to scale with the rest of the organization.
Strategy and planning priorities include: development of a go-to-market strategy, definition of the sales hierarchy and the alignment of sales teams accordingly, redistribution of accounts, definition of territories, and, finally, sales compensation.
- Sales Intelligence
Sales Intelligence is often misinterpreted and goes by several definitions. No matter how skilled your workforce is, it’s very tough to close sales, nurture leads and move leads along the sales funnel if they are talking to the wrong customers. Identifying the right customers is one of the most overlooked steps in selling a product or service.
Sales intelligence is the array of technologies, practices and applications that uses customer data. Sales intelligence gives sales organizations pertinent information and better insight into who their campaigns are reaching, the prospects they are selling to, and, from there, come up with solutions and adjustments that will result in better performance of sales teams.
- Process and Design
Sales operation’s main focus should always be to simplify, streamline, and accelerate the sales process. Usually in larger and quickly growing companies, the sales process will be complex. Sales reps can find themselves contradicted on certain standard procedures.
To solve this, create several concrete processes, each of which define the deal stage, the probability of close, how to forecast, and what needs to be done before moving onto the next step. Design a solid decision tree for executives which optimizes the workflow.
- Project Management and Support
As businesses have expanded, so too have sales operations, though often in an uncoordinated way. Increasingly, our clients are realizing that having multiple sales-operations groups scattered across different regions leads to unsustainable inefficiencies as well as ineffective sales support. Many are therefore centralizing and consolidating various aspects of their sales-operations function into regional or global hubs.
It is all about creating a standard order that everyone can use and understand. Regularly revisit and reevaluate your alignments. A well-developed territory strategy will control the cost of sales, drive revenue with effective resource allocation, and allow reps to service more customers. Staying on top of your alignment will help you make the most of your sales talent, and adapt to market changes.
- Deal Pursuit
Sales operations also face the challenge of onboarding and deploying salespeople flexibly. During high growth, sales ops have to gently shift alignment of salespeople and customers without risking active opportunities. Approvals are important, but so is cycle time. By automating approvals based on set rules, you can accomplish control without sacrificing speed.
Getting the right talent in place with the right level of resourcing and empowerment is critical in allowing sales operations to become a trusted advisor and change leader. Often, sales operations are perceived as overhead and not resourced at the levels required to drive continuous improvement programs while simultaneously running the business. If the deal is simple enough, you can pass it through approvals without having to engage the deal desk, saving resources for more important or complex deals.
Sales operations cannot be looked at like handling payroll, which can be outsourced with no issues. Intimately knowing these issues is key to the function of sales ops, and the company. You should understand the systems and be able to make changes on the fly. You should also keep the data at hand to get to those strategic insights fast. Keeping strategic functions close will help you contribute to key company decisions and be successful.