Sales Operations refers to the processes within a sales organization that support, enable and direct sales teams to sell better, faster and more efficiently.
If you work in sales, have heard the expression Y funnel, know how to generate leads actively and passively and have a structured process, this text is for you!
Probably saying that there is still something missing in your process seems offensive, but yes, you can still evolve, and a lot.
Five years ago, lead generation was not a problem when it came to Inbound Marketing, but today the scene is much more competitive.
If your main competitor is not present on the internet competing directly with you on specific issues, I can say that you have the scenario that most companies that started with digital marketing five years ago had.
If you’re starting to structure your active prospecting for leads to be independent of inbound or referrals, you’re taking the first step.
This step that some companies, especially those focused on technology and the B2B model, took a little over three years ago.
Now, if you still don’t have well-structured inbound or outbound marketing, let’s get back to basics. Check out the best sales courses available on the market here.
In addition, it is worth looking for good content with those who most understand the content marketing strategy here at Blue World City.
Do you already understand both? Let’s get it on!
What is Sales Operations?
The definition I like best about operating in sales is that it’s about creating a sales-driven ecosystem.
Heck Bernardo, but I already have several pre-established actions that my SDRs have to perform to generate an opportunity or lose a certain lead.
Dude, this is great!
You’re already ahead of a large part of the SMB market, which still depends on referrals and doesn’t deliver scalable results.
You can measure the results and identify the best pattern to get an initial lead conversion, right? Why not expand this to your entire process?
The most common answer I get as a consultant here at Outbound after having structured the entire initial prospecting process and started working on the development of Sales Operations is:
Each lead has a peculiarity and the more advanced in my funnel, the harder it is to have a defined process.
I am (almost) an engineer by training and I know that the greater the number of variables I have in an equation, the greater the number and the more complex the operations needed to arrive at a result.
So it makes more sense to control all the variables, turning them into constants, and leave the ones that can’t be controlled to the leads, right?
Without an assertive sales operation process within your team, there are already some variables that are difficult to control:
- The speech of each seller;
- The volume of contacts;
- The types of contacts;
- The staff turnover.
Sales operations came about precisely to standardize all these points and minimize the chance of error for your salesperson.
In addition, it minimizes the time your salesperson spends organizing the CRM and thinking about what the next action should be with a particular lead stuck in the process.
As I said before, sales operations (or sales ops, affectionately referred to) bring with it a sales ecosystem.
This often-overlooked and sometimes under-appreciated department makes use of data to guide its strategy, staff training and technology, “hacking” success and minimizing process variables.
Due to its broad scope and impact on productivity and efficiency, a sales ops department becomes a strategic and indispensable component, especially in a mature sales organization.
The initial steps of Sales Operations
Sales Ops has expanded its role to include nearly every function that provides the strategic insights a sales team needs to achieve sustainable growth.
The first step in developing a part of sales operations is to process your entire sales funnel.
As a second step, important after the implementation of any process, Team of Capital Smart City advises you to measure the results obtained, both by actions and by each step of the funnel.
Outbound Funnel Example
Defining KPIs and OPIs is essential.
Your key indicators should always answer 3 questions:
- How are sales going so far?
- How are we going to close the current quarter?
- What is the forecast for the next quarter?
Within these three questions there is a range of indicators that must be monitored so that they are answered assertively, without guesswork.
If you’ve reached this point, you probably already have a CRM and feel the need for some other tool that will bring increased productivity to your current team.
Your CRM must show you what the seller already knows after a qualification meeting.
This means that the CRM must clearly present the value to be closed, when it must be closed and, mainly, the probability that it will be closed.
Only in this way will you have all the effort to design, structure and implement your sales process rewarded.
Without predictability, without metrics and without justification, everything that is developed ends up becoming a bunch of actions without foundation and with no possibility of improvement.
The ultimate goal is to have metrics that answer the most important question of your business operation:
What will my revenue be in the future?
Everything we discuss here can be developed by a commercial manager (depending on the volume of managed leads).
From here, we get into points where it is ideal to have a sales operations department separate from the commercial team.
Sales operations department
If you already have processes, large volume of leads and well-defined indicators, it’s time to focus beyond your commercial and create that sales-oriented ecosystem.
A Sales operations department is primarily responsible for the following points:
- Processes in Sales Operations;
- Metrics and KPIs.
Sales operations used to work well with a small team responsible for financial analysis, reporting and sales forecasting same as Capital Smart City.
With the increase in the volume of information, sales operations evolved to a more refined data analysis, which allowed actions focused on:
- Optimization of the sales process;
- Performance analysis;
- Incentive through internal actions;
- Standardized training of the sales team;
- Structuring sales methodologies;
- Selection and use of technological tools;
- Market potential analysis;
- Forecast of growth.
In this way, a person or a Sales operations department is responsible for both administrative and operational tasks:
- Recruiting and training new members;
- Development and execution of incentive actions (in addition to commissioning );
- Definition of accounts and/or area of action for each seller;
- Maintenance of effective communication between areas.
In my view, this is the word that makes clear the reason for so much information and people talking about Sales Operations (I include myself in this bunch).
I know I’ve said a lot so far, but for starters: there is no performance or performance improvement without a process!
Usain Bolt did not run the 200 meters under 20 seconds without any training.
In one of his first competitions in 2001, his time was 21.81 seconds. He only reached 19.19 seconds in Berlin with a training methodology followed to the letter.
Without planning long workouts and sprint drills, this feat would never be possible.
With this in mind, a sales operations department can be focused only on establishing processes and optimizing them, causing salespeople to close more deals and improve their performance.
For this it is necessary:
- Control the metrics adopted within the process;
- Train and evolve the sales team;
- Create an effective “production” line in sales;
- Adopt sales frameworks and methodologies.
All this combined with tools for better process control. Yes, we are talking about a CRM, a sales engagement platform and data analysis tools.
Man did not invent the wheel for nothing. The goal has always been to go further with the least effort.
This mentality continues to be applied in all areas and, therefore, in sales it would be no different.
The number of data analysis tools, with artificial intelligence and machine learning is increasing. This happens precisely so that it is possible to reach more and more people with more quality.
The great difficulty today is that the complexity of the tools available on the market can make it difficult for the sales team to engage.
This is precisely why the operations department must assume this role, train salespeople and ensure the use of fundamental technologies.
Processes in Sales Ops
The biggest benefit of having a department focused on sales operations is the creation of efficient sales processes.
I think it’s obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat. Process!
I’ve attended more than 40 projects in Outbound Marketing consultancy and I can say that establishing actions and reference points for the entire sales team, by itself, already brings an immense gain and a possibility to increase sales.
With this comes a greater volume of contacts and a greater chance of your salesperson getting lost in the midst of so many tasks, neglecting the processes that should be fulfilled.
This brings disappointment and a false impression that the process is not working, but how would it work if the actions are not being performed?
Therefore, there is a need to have a person responsible for managing and optimizing all the points listed below:
- Integration and synchronization of tools;
- Business process;
- Team Workflow;
- Automation of sales tasks ( or not );
- Contact base management;
- Talent cutting.
Metrics & KPIs
For the sales operations team, the main metrics are closely linked to the metrics of the sales team. Some of them are:
- Quota Assertiveness: Percentage of the commercial team that reached 100% of the quota during a given period of time;
- Average of won trades: average of trades closed divided by the total number of trades completed (won and lost);
- Sales cycle: average time taken from the beginning of contacts to the closing of deals;
- The average size of deals: average value of deals being managed by the seller at all points in the process;
- Time spent on sales: actual sales time spent by the salesperson when compared to any other task (internal meetings, training);
- Lead response time: time spent by the lead until it responds positively after a certain speech or call to action;
- Funnel weighted value: estimated value of the funnel at a given stage, used to forecast profits/losses;
- Pipeline efficiency: measuring how salespeople are managing their sales funnel;
- Sales Forecast Assertiveness: error rate of previous forecasts when compared to current results;
- Number of meetings with leads per period: number of prospecting activities related to the number of meetings actually held.
I hope I managed to explain the concept of sales operations well.
If you still have any questions or want to understand more about how to develop this operation in your company, please contact our team or me directly at email@example.com.
Also comment below, compliments and feedback are always welcome!