Behind every sales team is a sales operations person doing what is necessary to keep them efficient, effective and successful. Sales operations is Robin to Batman. The unsung hero.
As a sales operations leader, you often do the thankless jobs with very minimal resources to fall back on. You are expected to wear dozens of hats and be the jack of all trades. Wow, why would anyone what that job?
Because when done successfully, fewer roles on a sales team can make a BIGGER impact. So how do you make that significant impact? Here are 5 ways you can drive significant value as a sales operations leader.
First, be a service provider. Sales and marketing are your customer. You deliver a set of services to that customer. Treat them like one. Provide a list of services that you offer along with service level agreements. This will set clear deliverables and expectations. Promote the services that you deliver. When and how you deliver them and how they can order them. Run your role like a business. Be laser focused on your services.
Second, IT must be your friend. Yep, they can make or break you. Efficiency and access to data in your role will be driven by technology. Data is king. CRM, ERP, CPQ (you pick the acronym) systems hold the data you need to succeed. IT owns the platforms in most cases. A strong business relationship with your key IT people is a must to get what you need. They also have a thankless job. Take them out to lunch once in a while.
Third, read up on Psychology. Dealing with sales people requires skills in manipulation. It’s about understanding behavior and how to get people to do what they don’t want to do. Like enter key activities in your CRM system or update a forecast. The best advice here is do more for others than what you ask them to do for you. If you constantly deliver to your sales team, the majority of the team will deliver back to you when you need them to. And be assertive but nice about it. Being assertive and mean will only seal your failure.
Fourth, open a two-way dialogue. Interview your sales reps and managers at least once a quarter to determine what they need to succeed. Yeah, they will always ask for everything including the kitchen sink but look for common requests and deliver the things that will make a big impact in the shortest amount of time. If you are not listening to your customers, adding additional services or improving the services that you are offering will be very difficult to do.
Fifth, be proactive. You have access to a ton of wonderful data. Learning how to unlock the data, assess it for insights, and determine on how to best act on those insights. It will take you to a whole new level. Yes, you are constantly being pulled in different directions. Last minute requests are taking valuable time away from what you really want to do. You have to set aside time to be proactive. If you have not done so already, invest in subject matter experts that have the knowledge to translate your data into high impact, high value actions and have the experience to successfully deploy solutions. We all know that data is nearly worthless unless you know how to act on it.
When done well, the role of sales operations has a significant and material impact on a sales team’s success and efficiency. Organizations that nurture excellent sales operations teams will find it easier to enhance sales force effectiveness, achieve consistent, sustainable performance, and maintain a competitive edge. Being able to have such a significant impact on a company is a job worth having.