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The Crucial Takeaway in Sales Ops Best Practices

I heard this cute little story more than a decade ago and it’s stuck with me ever since…

A father takes his youngest son to a drive-in so the boy can experience his very first cheeseburger and fries. After getting their order and finding a good place to park, dad then teaches the boy how to hold a piping hot fry in front of the air conditioner vent for a few seconds before trying to eat it.

The kid catches on fast and dad is so proud!

A short time later, however, the father notices that even long after all of the fries have cooled, his young son is still dutifully holding each fry up to the AC vent before eating it!

The boy has clearly mastered the “how” without any understanding as to the “why.”

This story has stuck with me over the years because it illustrates…in a relatable and entertaining way…just how important it is to learn the principles behind the practices.

After all, specific practices are often situational, in that they that may work great in one particular situation while being ineffective or impractical under different circumstances. On the other hand, the principles behind the practices tend to be much more universal and broadly-applicable in nature.

And when we understand the underlying principles involved, we can adapt or develop appropriate and doable practices for nearly any situation.

In the “Better” Practices for Sales Operations webinar, we demonstrate how this works in the real world. After highlighting the height of best practice in a number of areas, we break down the underlying principles that are involved. Then, we show how some teams have leveraged those principles to develop practices that are simpler, but still effective.

While the resulting practices are not the absolute “best” they are nonetheless significantly “better” than business-as-usual because they’re rooted in sound sales operations principles.

But beyond the business ramifications, this principles-versus-practices distinction can also have significant career implications. Simply put, a sales ops practitioner who understands the principles behind the practices isn’t confined to specific industries or business models. And their ability to be successful isn’t limited to situations that exactly match the specific sales practices they’re currently employing.

At the SellingBrew Playbook, we feel so strongly about understanding the underlying principles that it’s been a core tenant to our educational approach from day one. So while we highlight and expose sales ops best practices in a wide range of areas, from analyzing performance data and diagnosing sales problems to using selling technologies and garnering organizational support, we also strive to explain the core principles from which all of these specific practices have evolved.

To our way of thinking, the specific practices are important for showing what’s possible, what others are doing, how things play out in the real world, and so on. But understanding the principles behind those practices is the real key to becoming a sales operations professional that can be successful in any environment.

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