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Making Time for Strategic Sales Operations

As we interact with Sales Operations teams around the world, we hear a common refrain about time. Many report that the daily firefight is so all consuming that it leaves no time for anything else. These teams are fully aware that there are more important things they need to be doing. And they recognize that tactical activities can only go so far and that they need to become much more strategic.

But they just can’t seem to find the time.

As a result, they put off the important to deal with the urgent. They delay the strategic to address the tactical. And they find themselves stuck—just “hoping” to “someday” have the resources and time to get beyond the firefight.

Of course, we’ve also interacted with a number of Sales Operations teams who’ve already made the transition. These teams are focusing on what’s important and eliminating much of the urgent as a result. They’re executing toward strategic priorities and in doing so, reducing much of the tactical firefighting.

So, how did they do it? What’s their secret?

Most often, it started with a single decision. Not a big or complex decision, mind you—just a simple decision to carve out some time. Instead of just “hoping” they’d eventually find the time to become more strategic, these teams simply forced a window of time into their calendars.

In most cases, the window was very small in the beginning. One team scheduled a two-hour block of time every Monday morning to focus on the more strategic aspects of the sales operation. Another team blocked the last hour of every day on their calendars. In another instance, the team was able to dedicate every Thursday afternoon to their strategic transition.

The power of this simple strategy comes from the forced cadence. While an hour or two every week may not sound like much, you’ll be amazed at what can be accomplished through consistent focus. Your people will begin to think more strategically as a matter of course. Your strategic initiatives will move forward, slowly but surely.

As the results begin to manifest and the tactical fires begin to be prevented at their source, that hour can become two…then three…and so on. And it can all start with just single decision to schedule a small window of time.

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