As sales organizations grow beyond the O.G. founding team, and begin to expand to cover additional industries, territories or markets, nailing down a sales operations process that works is as crucial as snagging those front row Rihanna tickets this summer.
And the sales operations leader is center stage when it comes to modern sales teams. (Don’t act like you forgot…)
They’re responsible for creating and socializing the sales process that drives revenue for the business. They’re responsible for the rhythm and cadence of the entire team’s process. And ultimately, a team with a solid sales operations process crushes numbers, while teams that just wing it barely hit quota.
That’s a lot of weight on just one role, but sales operations leaders are the masters of the process, ensuring team-wide success and growth. They’re responsible for these three main process territories:
3. Training & Compliance
Even with the world’s best sales development team, and the world’s best closers, a sales team without a productive and efficient sales operations process will eventually fail. Management won’t believe pipeline projections, Marketing won’t want to invest any time tossing leads over the wall to a disorganized team, and the organization will ultimately fall flat.
But fortunately, sales operations leaders are ready to tackle the task with these 3 core pillars of the sales development process:
1. Predictability: Without predictability (and consistency) within sales activities, it’s nearly impossible to measure both the individual and team-wide contributions to the organization’s overall success.
How do you establish predictability? Simple: with data and consistency.
Sales operations leaders create systems for collecting prospect data and establishing consistent activities and everyday processes to measure sales efficiency.
2. Classification: Once sales operations collects data, trends across that data begin to appear. The stages of the sales operations process are then classified to increase quality of data and remove subjectivity and emotion from the results.
Which sales process components benefit from classification? Both internal factors (like buyer stages in the funnel) and typical factors (like industry, role and seniority).
3. Optimization: The most successful sales operations leaders are continuously testing and optimizing processes, which is made much easier by a predictable and easily classifiable sales process. But optimization constantly challenges previously assumed notions with data.
How do we really know that the buyer is ready to buy after their first consultation? How often do “Verbal Commitments” actually close? With a well-tested and optimized sales operations process, these questions become easier to answer.
Just like any product, process, or tool, no matter how much effort is put into development, if a sales operations process goes unused — it’s simply waste of time.
But one way that effective sales operations leaders foster process adoption within their teams is by involving sales team members more closely throughout the process creation and execution. Since they’re responsible for bringing every team member, from SDR to AE to VP, into the fold when implementing and evaluating a sales process, it’s the perfect platform for them to encourage adoption from the beginning.
For example, when selecting a sales development tool, they’ll immediately implement SDR feedback, instilling ownership in the reps from the very start. That way, no one will say they had a tool pushed onto them if they’re part of the intial selection and adoption process.
Process Training & Compliance
Sales operations process training more than showing people how to login and use their sales development tools — it’s about preparing them to speak confidently about the product, while expertly identifying and articulating customer pain.
To create these product experts, Sales Operations crafts training sessions to educate reps about every aspect of the products and customers. They educate sales teams about the market as a whole to give them a better understanding of the buyer and the context of their pains. Nothing is more sincere than a rep who truly understands the value of what they’re selling — and can actually back it up with knowledge about the market and how much value it adds.
But training isn’t the only aspect — staying on top of compliance is a serious responsibility here, too. And while it’s arguably the least fun part of the job, it’s a necessary one nonetheless. If reps are using tools incorrectly, don’t understand the market well enough, or are mis-classifying buyer and deal stages within the funnel — it doesn’t matter how optimized your process is — it just won’t work.
So you see, the sales operations process is the glue that holds the sales team together.
From prospecting, to sales development, closing, leadership and finance, it’s safe to say that sales operations leaders are the true masters of the sales universe in the modern age. And more importantly, masters of the sales operations process.
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