In Yosemite National Park, the rangers have a saying: “A fed bear is a dead bear.”
You see, once bears get a taste for human food — whether it’s from a garbage can or an unattended picnic cooler — they keep coming back for more. That puts humans in danger, which means the bear in question must be relocated or euthanized.
This problem would go away if bears would just stop trying to eat human food. But strangely enough, the rangers spend exactly 0% of their energy trying to train the bears not to eat human food.
It just seems silly, doesn’t it. Bears gotta eat as much as they can to get ready for their long winter naps. Bears aren’t going to stop eating anything tasty that’s easy to get to. Bears are gonna bear.
Instead, the Rangers install bear-proof trash bins and work on educating the humans on how to live in harmony with the bears.
Something similar happens in the relationship between sales ops and the sales team. We spend so much time and energy trying to get sales to do the right thing. It’s frustrating because the things we are asking them to do are ultimately going to benefit them — but so often they just won’t change. Whether it’s entering data into the CRM or just bothering to look at a report, getting sales to do anything new is like — well, like training a bear not to eat leftover peanut butter sandwiches.
But maybe, just maybe, instead of trying so hard to change their nature, we should change our own behavior instead.
You see, sales is gonna sales. They are always going to be laser-focused on getting deals signed. It’s going to be really hard to get them to focus on anything else — unless of course, it aligns with their own personal goals.
That’s the trick: aligning what sales ops is asking with sales’ existing processes and desires.
Sometimes this is as simple as emailing them a report instead of asking them to log in to a separate system to view it. Or maybe it’s adding a pop-up to the quoting tool that reminds them how different price points will affect their personal compensation. The possibilities are endless — but it requires some thought and creativity to find the solutions that will work for your organization.
Because the relationship with sales is such a common and persistent problem for sales ops, SellingBrew has a wealth of resources dedicated to the topic. Here are four of the best:
- The Sales Ops Guide to Enabling Sales Managers
- Neutralizing the Sales Team’s Go-To Excuses
- Making Change Happen
- Delivering No-Brainer Sales Guidance
Sadly, there’s no such thing as a completely bear-proof container. As one Yosemite Ranger noted, “There is a considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smartest bears and the dumbest tourists.”
Similarly, you may never achieve perfect harmony between the needs of the sales ops team and the behavior of the sales team. But we have the utmost confidence in the intelligence of B2B sales ops teams to design better systems that allow them to work with sales instead of trying to counteract their nature.
The Sales Ops Guide to Enabling Sales Managers
Sales managers are critical points of leverage and enablement. In this on-demand webinar, learn a variety of strategies and tactics that others have used to influence sales managers and drive performance improvements at-scale.
Neutralizing the Sales Team's Go-To Excuses
When things don't turn out as expected or desired, it's just human nature to look for explanations beyond what might be perceived as a personal failing. Learn how Sales Ops can address the common "reasons" for poor sales performance.
Making Change Happen
How do you get an organization to move away from the status quo and actually embrace doing things differently? With the dynamics involved, effective change management requires a more strategic approach.