The author Toni Morrison, who recently passed away after a long and celebrated career, once wrote
“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
Of course, Ms. Morrison was writing about deep, profound themes like slavery, race, inter-personal relationships, and self-actualization, and we would never want to diminish the gravitas of her words.
And yet, we find that her quote also has a lot to say about the far more prosaic world of sales operations.
You see, most sales ops teams start with an imperative to assist with sales administration tasks. We at SellingBrew are big advocates for sales ops evolving beyond that function into a much more strategic role. In order for that to happen, sales ops not only needs to set itself free from the tactical, day-to-day style of thinking that accompanies administrative work, they also need to take ownership of some critical pieces of the business.
This isn’t about making a power grab. It’s about finding places where the sales ops team’s analytical mindset and big-picture perspective are incredibly useful—even essential.
Here are five areas we think sales ops should own:
1. CRM and Technology. Because of that administrative role, sales ops probably knows your company’s CRM software better than anyone else. That also puts you in a position to see what’s missing in your current solution and how it could be better. No other team is in as good a position to evaluate sales technology and find options that can help improve your sales effectiveness.
If your team could use some help in this area, we recommend watching the webinar on Making Sense of Sales Technology.
2. Sales Pipeline Analysis. Printing out the monthly and quarterly sales reports isn’t enough. Leading sales ops teams use their analysis skills to find opportunities for improvement. They’re not simply highlighting what is happening—they’re explaining what the data means, interpreting it, and making suggestions for how to move forward.
Check out How to Use Sales Analysis to Drive More Growth for tips and suggestions for helping your team grow beyond simple reporting.
3. Best Practice Sharing. As they say, best practice is only best until something better comes along. Great sales ops teams stay on top of the best practices in sales and educate the rest of the team about those new approaches. In addition, like a general that can oversee the whole battlefield, sales ops has a unique perspective on what’s working and not working within the sales team. They can understand what the best salespeople are doing and work on bringing those practices to the company as a whole.
To learn more about this sales ops function, see the webinar on Moving the “Meaty Middle”.
4. Sales Process Optimization. In our opinion, this is one of the most important jobs of the sales ops team. Only sales ops has the big picture view that enables them to see the sales funnel as an interconnected system. That means they can also see where the process is breaking down and where a small tweak might yield big rewards. Sales organizations that aren’t looking to sales ops to help finetune processes are doing themselves a disservice.
To understand more about what we mean when we describe the sales process as an interconnected system, check out How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel.
5. Long-term Sales Planning. Most sales teams are so focused on next month and next quarter that they neglect the long term. But someone in the organization needs to think about next year and the years after that, and sales ops is in a better position than anyone else to fill this role. You have the data that shows the historical trends and the knowhow and technology to build predictive models. You should take ownership of this area and develop the roadmap for where the sale organization should head.
For help on creating this kind of plan, watch >Developing a Winning Sales Operations Roadmap.
Yes, these are all big responsibilities. But sales ops is up to the challenge. And in taking ownership of these areas, sales ops not only assures its position in the company, it helps position the company for long-term success.
Making Sense of Sales Technology
It's hard to make sense of the various sales technologies that are available today. How are they different? Do the differences actually matter? What do we need? How do we choose?
How to Use Sales Analysis to Drive More Growth
Sales analysis often has much more potential than it is given credit for. This on-demand webinar explains how to using the analytical processes and underlying data to reveal powerful insights and opportunities for growth.
Moving the "Meaty Middle"
The primary focus for Sales Ops should be on improving the performance of the middle-of-the-road salespeople who comprise the majority of the team. In this on-demand webinar, learn why it's so important and how to make it happen.
How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel
With so many different variables involved, improving sales performance across the board and at-scale can seem like a daunting task. But with a different perspective on your sales funnel, you can generate huge improvements much more easily and with far less risk.