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Centralized Sales Operations Is A False Choice

Whether yours is an established sales operations function or your company is just starting to create a function, a question often arises about the best organizational and/or operational approach. This question is usually framed like this:

Should sales operations be a centralized or distributed function?

In other words, should there be one centralized sales operations function working to support and enable various sales teams, market initiatives, or business units? Or should each sales team or business unit have its own sales operations function?

Of course, there are a number of pros and cons to each approach…

For example, a centralized sales operations function can leverage common processes and tools across the board, driving more consistency and taking a more holistic view of the overall sales operation. On the other hand, a centralized sales operations function may not be as responsive to the unique dynamics of specific sales efforts and initiatives.

A distributed sales operations function…located within a business unit, for example…is more in-tune with the specific situation and more likely to develop tailored solutions and processes. At the same time, a distributed sales operations function is somewhat blind to developments in other areas and those tailored solutions and processes are less likely to contribute to overall efficiencies.

And the list just goes on and on…

So, what’s the answer? Which approach is best for driving sales effectiveness and efficiency? Which approach should you choose?

Frankly, it’s a false choice. These aren’t the only options and you don’t have to pick one or the other. In fact, you can choose to do both.

The “third way” for many is the Sales Operations Center of Excellence. By applying the Center of Excellence model to the sales operations function, companies are able to achieve a high degree of centralized oversight and efficiency, while enabling more effective and responsive solutions at the point-of-need.

With a Center of Excellence, it’s not an either/or decision. In a very real way, a Sales Operations Center of Excellence is both centralized and distributed.

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