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Why Sales Ops Doesn’t Get Credit

During a live webinar for SellingBrew Playbook subscribers, an attendee asked the question, “Won’t any gains Sales Ops tries to take credit for just be chalked-up to changing market conditions or heroic sales efforts?”

Clearly, this is a question born out of experience. The person asking the question has likely witnessed the underlying dynamics many times before.

And so have you.

In fact, just like the subscriber who asked the question in the first place, you already know what the answer is. You know that management’s first inclination will be to attribute any performance gains they see to something other than Sales Ops’ efforts. You know that their initial bias will be toward some other explanation.

And even if they don’t say it out loud, you just know they’ll be thinking it.

No, it’s not fair. But it is reality. And while it might be tempting to wallow in the inequity of the situation, the better course of action is to acknowledge the reality, anticipate the responses, and take steps to preempt them.

In the “Measuring the Financial Impact of Sales Ops” and “Demonstrating the Value of Sales Operations” webinars, we discuss a wide range of strategies, tactics, and tips for communicating performance improvements in ways that are very difficult to dismiss, contradict, or attribute to “advantageous celestial alignments”.

For example, one effective strategy is to get in the habit of using “business as usual” (BAU) as a touchstone. By establishing a set of historical, pre-improvement metrics and trends, you can credibly illustrate what would have happened in the absence of Sales Ops’ interventions, improvements, and optimizations.

Another effective approach involves making comparisons to holdouts or unaffected groups. By tracking and illustrating the performance differences between these “test” and “control” groups, particularly as they trend over time, you’re making it very difficult to attribute the variance to anything other than your efforts.

As discussed in the webinars, there are a variety of ways to preempt this sort of skepticism and bias. The first step, however, is to acknowledge its presence. While it may not be stated explicitly or outright, you have to recognize and anticipate that it’s going to be there, no matter what. Then you can take steps to address it—proactively, credibly, and decisively.

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