Sales operations plays an important role in many organizations. As many of us have seen, companies are required to do more with less in an effort to improve the bottom line. That doesn’t bode well for sales operations. As a function without a direct link to revenue generation, the sales operations team is often perceived as a contributor to an increased cost of sale. However, with the right set of capabilities and organizational maturity, these teams can expand from a support function (cost) to a valuable strategic sales planning and execution support partner that drives revenue. This transformation is a critical step toward arming the sales force with information, expertise, speed-to-market and efficiency, as well as becoming a partner in winning new business and driving organic growth from current clients. To begin this journey, sales operations teams should focus on improvement within the following categorical functions:
- Data management – Tasked with overseeing the integrity of data in CRM systems and others, sales operations teams increasingly must improve accuracy and completeness of information, which serves as a key competitive advantage for the sales force.
- Reporting and administration – Timely and accurate information, in the form of reports, dashboards and more, from the sales operations team not only provide the sales force with valuable performance data but also highlight areas for improvement to help meet goals and objectives.
- Platforms and systems – Sales operations supports the sales force through the use of flexible and integrated tools and resources that provide insights regarding pipeline data, performance management, forecasting and other critical information to make thoughtful decisions.
- Analytics generation – Savvy organizations base sales decisions on facts rather than instinct. A good sales operations team will provide reliable and robust analytics that enable sales forces to make the right decisions and increase effectiveness.
- Lead generation and management – A solid pipeline is one of the first steps toward a successful sales force. In support of that, the sales operations team is crucial for identifying and nurturing quality leads.
- Pricing and contracting support – By applying quality analytic and knowledge-management systems, sales operations provides the sales force with the resources to produce proposals that are competitive, achieve customer objectives and drive mutually beneficial relationships.
Join me and Scott Forrey, Senior Director, Operations and Planning of Akamai, at Anaplan Hub15 to discuss these and other factors for making operations an essential part of the sales team.