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7 Big Sales Ops Don’ts

How much does your sales ops team contribute to the bottom line of your business?

If you don’t know, it’s time to find out.

Because sales ops is a relatively new discipline, executives don’t always intuitively understand the value of the function the way they might grasp the value of a function like accounting or marketing. Also, many sales ops groups start out with a primarily tactical purpose. As you move towards a more strategic role, questions about whether that new role is worthwhile will naturally arise.

In our research, we’ve uncovered some great methods that can help you prove your financial value. But perhaps even more importantly, we’ve also discovered seven things that you absolutely should not, under any circumstances, do.

  1. Don’t focus just on financial metrics. Yes, the financial metrics are very, very important, but you also need to be able to demonstrate some qualitative value as well. And convincing upper management of your qualitative value will have a much more potent effect in the long run than even the prettiest spreadsheet.
  2. Don’t fabricate data to prove a point. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to be scientific in your approach to the data. No matter how tempting it is, don’t fudge the numbers or make stuff up. Instead, follow the data wherever it leads you.
  3. Don’t hide bad news; fix it. If the data leads you to discover that something your sales ops team has been doing isn’t working all that well, stop doing that thing and move on to something else. Making mistakes — and learning from those mistakes — is an integral part of doing business. If you hide your mistakes, you will never improve.
  4. Don’t wait until you’re asked. When people ask you to prove the value of sales ops, that means they think there’s a problem. If you are proactive with this process, you can uncover — and correct — any problems in advance. It also makes it less tempting to fabricate data.
  5. Don’t lean on activity metrics. It’s all well and good to say that you sent out a dozen RFPs and called 500 prospects, but management really wants to know what all that activity accomplished. It’s good to be busy, but it’s much better to be effective.
  6. Don’t rely on a single measure. Markets are complicated. No single number is going to tell the whole picture. Always present a combination of different metrics to give a more nuanced analysis. After all, even if one particular metric looks really good this quarter, it might not look so great next quarter, and you’ll need to keep that in mind as you prepare your reports.
  7. Don’t be afraid to change metrics. It’s a truism of business that you get more of what you measure. But the things that you need and are measuring today may not be the things that your company needs tomorrow. You should reevaluate your metrics on a regular basis to make sure they are keeping your team focused on what is currently most important for your organization.

We cover these seven don’ts in greater detail — as well as providing a whole lot of other best practices — in the webinar Measuring the Financial Impact of Sales Ops. You can also get some great tips for measuring both qualitative and quantitative results in the webinar Demonstrating the Value of Sales Operations.

If you haven’t gone through the exercise of demonstrating your worth before, we recommend that you do so right away — before someone from upper management calls it into question.

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