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3 Ways Sales Operations Can Improve Productivity

Most B2B firms decide to create sales operations teams because they want to improve the productivity and efficiency of the sales team. Sales operations can handle the paperwork and all the other stuff that sales needs to do but doesn’t want to do, the thinking goes. That will give the salespeople more time to concentrate on actually selling.

This approach is a good place to start, but it really doesn’t capture the full value of the sales operations function.

As a sales operations team matures, their scope of responsibilities often begins to broaden. Over time, good sales operations professionals see more opportunities to streamline existing processes. They make small, incremental improvements that give the salespeople even more time to spend nurturing their accounts.

This approach is better, but it still doesn’t capture the full value of what sales operations could—and should—be doing.

The best sales operations teams aren’t just improving the efficiency of the sales team, they are helping the sales team become more effective.

Sales operations groups that focus on efficiency are all about time management. They give the salespeople more time for the most important parts of their job.

But all the time in the world isn’t going to make a difference if you aren’t working effectively.

Imagine that you need to chop up a big pile of firewood, but you’re trying to do the job with a hand saw. Obviously, it’s going to take forever.

To help out, you bring someone else in. That person handles the grunt work like picking up a log off the pile, holding it still while you saw, and then stacking the chopped firewood. You’ve become a little more efficient, but you still aren’t really being all that effective.

A really good helper is someone who can say, “Hey, stop using that hand saw, and instead try this ax.” You’ve suddenly become a whole lot more effective, not just more efficient.

So how can a sales operations team help the salespeople become more effective and not just more efficient? We have three suggestions:

1. Improve the profitability of deals. If every deal your salespeople sign is generating higher margins for the company, you’ve suddenly made them more effective without having them do any more work. It’s just like swapping that saw for an ax. To find out how, check out the webinar on Negotiating Profitable Deals. It details several strategies and tactics for helping your sales team do a better job with pricing.

2. Improve close rates. No sales team likes to waste time going after accounts that don’t pan out in the end. The sales operations group is uniquely positioned to see which types of deals your company is closing most often and point the sales people in the direction of business they’re more likely to win. For practical tips, see the webinar on How to Improve Your Close Rates. Despite what your salespeople might think, many companies have dramatically increased their close rates without dropping their prices.

3. Improve retention. Everyone knows that it’s much more profitable to keep the customers you have than to go after new ones, but few sales teams do a really great job of managing their current accounts. The sales operations team can help by identifying customers in danger of defecting and suggesting strategies to keep them happy. The webinar on How to Retain Your Key Customers explains how.

If you truly want to help your sales processes become more effective, and not just more efficient, give one of these three strategies a try and see how it improves your productivity.

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