‘Sales’ is the backbone of any organization and an organization’s survival greatly depends on it. If observed carefully, you can map the evolution of sales operations from a few years back to today. With this, the role of the sales operations manager has also changed and advanced to a mind baffling extent.
That is, sales operations originally functioned as a small team of number crunchers who executed financial analyses, reporting, and sales forecasting. As the volume of business information exploded, sales operations have evolved into a more powerful data analysis and reporting unit that can provide critical insight into the following domains:
- Sales process optimization
- Performance metrics analyses
- Formulation of the incentives program
- Evaluation of sales team training needs
- Assessment and adoption of sales methodologies
- Selection of enablement software and other technology tools
- Sales territory assignment and growth forecasting
‘Sales operations’ today, is all about the perfect balance between strategy, technology, and automation. And, the sales operations manager plays a crucial role in getting all this done – which is no piece of cake. This can mean a lot of things. As a sales operations manager, you are responsible for creating reports, setting goals, and creating revenue forecasts. In addition, you are also responsible for the team’s technology stack and deal with their compensation as well.
A sales operations manager is an organization’s in-house sales technology expert and master of efficiency. As a matter of fact, this role has many responsibilities and these responsibilities keep expanding and evolving. Here’s how a sales operations manager can add tremendous value to your team and organization.
Top 5 sales operations of a sales operations manager
1. Selecting, managing CRM systems and other sales tools
Teamwork is central to organizational success. One way to get your team to work together is to choose a CRM that your sales team likes and trusts. Because selecting a CRM that your sales team is not happy about just spreads distrust. And many things go upside down when your sales team is not getting enough or quality leads and may feel their hard work isn’t being accurately measured – especially when all of this gets tied down to the CRM they are unhappy with.
Thus, a CRM that offers transparency on these things will help the sales team assess the quality of their prospects and convinces them that their work is being seen.
That being said, there are numerous ways to leverage CRM systems and this differs from company to company. But there is a common catch – a great sales operations manager is the key to a successful CRM implementation. Because it is he/she who ensures that CRM continues to work optimally for sales as time goes on. He/she not only selects the CRM systems and other tools but ensures they do what they are supposed to do – from managing lead lists to correct entry of fields, verifying leads, managing the API, and so on. And his/her role doesn’t end there. He/she is also responsible for making sales forecasts and drawing team and product performance reports from time-to-time, with the data collected from the CRM.
2. Evaluating and Implementing sales technology/stack
One thing that’s always on top of the sales operations manager’s mind is – ‘how can I improve my sales teams’ efficiency?’ They are always on the lookout for industry’s best acceleration tools that can make their sales team’s life easy, productive, and most importantly – less complicated!
However, not all tools may suit your organization’s needs. The key is to select the one that meets your organization’s and the sales team’s requirements and expectations. This is where the sales operations manager pitches in. As a sales operations manager- you play a crucial role in evaluating and implementing the sales technology stack that’s right for your business in all ways! By doing so, you will be helping your sales team connect with more prospects, automatically log data in the CRM, route inbound callers to the right reps, prioritize sales leads, leverage email templates, and also predict the companies that need to be targeted.
3. Monitoring and improving team performance
The sales operations manager is responsible for his/her sales team performance. It is crucial to come up with a well-planned and progressive sales performance management process, especially when you’re scaling up. This must include things like constantly optimizing the team’s sales process, changing what doesn’t work, and focusing on what does so that your sales team can maximize their success.
Every team member has their own goal for the month, quarter, and year, but are you setting goals for the entire sales team?
If not, it’s time you start. Because sales goals for the individual team members are an important tool, but without team goals, it’s hard to track your team’s performance and report their progress.
A successful team performance management revolves mainly around 2 things:
- A CRM that suits your organizational needs: A good CRM will provide you with all the data that you need to compare the sales performance of all your team members so that you can quickly prepare reports about team progress.
- A well-defined sales process: A good sales process prescribes the activities that need to be happening in each stage of the sales pipeline, for instance, making calls, setting meetings, scheduling demos, etc. Thus, an effective and activity-based sales process with well-defined KPIs will help you to track your team’s performance from time-to-time.
In addition, this also provides an opportunity to look into when things aren’t working the way they are supposed to and take corrective actions. For instance, imagine a team member hasn’t performed that well this quarter. By gathering and comparing his/her current and historical data, you’ll be better able to understand the reason why he/she is struggling. Maybe he/she is just having a bad month and needs a little push from your end. Detailed analysis like this will help you make informed decisions.
You may also see that many of your team members are having trouble with one particular stage of the sales pipeline. This may imply: you may not have a problem with your team members, but there may be a problem with your sales process. So, it may be time to re-evaluate the process and change what’s not working.
In conclusion, a window into the performance of each sales team, down to the individual team member, will help you make informed decisions going forward. And having dashboards that show you real-time information means you can see the problems and address them now, as they’re happening, rather than at the end of the month, when your targets haven’t been met.
4. Helping the sales team make better and smarter decisions
Sales operations managers contribute a significant amount of value by creating the right dashboards for the organization. This differs from one organization to another. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of the sales operations managers to ensure that the right reports and dashboards are in place to help sales leaders make informed decisions. For instance, sales operations managers can help leaders visualize data from Salesforce, marketing automation tools, and other platforms to fit their company’s individual needs.
5. Joining hands with marketing to enable sales
Marketing and sales team are like the right and the left eye – always complementing each other. Problems with any one eye will by all means affect the overall quality of the vision. Similarly, marketing and sales teams are interlinked and have to support each other to achieve greater results. That being said, though marketers create great content for salespeople to use, the problem is that the sales team often doesn’t know what content is available or how to effectively leverage the same in the sales process. This is where the sales operations manager can pitch in. By partnering with the marketing team – you will be helping your sales team understand how to successfully utilize content like eBooks, case studies, blogs, and videos.
As a sales operations manager, it’s you who has to set goals and drive team growth. Though this may seem challenging at times – the right tools can help you can track, measure, and forecast more reliably and efficiently. Thereby, pushing you to constantly improve your team’s performance as well as your own regardless of how fast your company is growing.
You got this. Happy Sale Surfing!