article | February 10, 2016
3 Questions Every Sales Ops Leader Needs to Answer
We invited Steve to speak with us about his sales operations strategy. Specifically how he develops, and then executes his strategy at Genesys. Genesys is an enterprise software company with over 3,000 customers in 80 countries.
We started the conversation at a high level. What is the first question sales ops leaders should be asking themselves?
Start at the top – what do you need to accomplish? Steve narrowed in on 2 points of focus for his sales ops organization. Their number one priority? Helping the company’s executive team understand the outlook for the business. “First and foremost, we have to give the number and the confidence behind how we’re looking short term, and long term,” said Steve.
The second objective for his team is to give guidance and tools that enable their global sales team to sell. The sales reps need to be able to sell, and do it well, with as much ease as possible. This is where sales ops and enablement comes in.
Having two very well-defined objectives has been key to developing Genesys’ sales ops strategy. These objectives align with the goals of most other sales ops leaders as well. In the end, they set the foundation for a clearly defined sales ops strategy.
Too often the role of sales ops has become a catch-all. The team ends up doing the tasks that need to be done, but no one wants to do. And these tasks don’t necessarily have anything to do with the strategy.
In order to avoid this, Steve’s team has defined their key processes. For example, they own the sales forecast. They also own the deal review process, discount approvals, and pieces of sales training. Additionally, they own social selling, and defining the sales process among other things.
Another key activity done by the sales ops team is win/loss analysis. This is a huge contribution to the organization. Why? It helps executives make key decisions. How do they do this? First, they have instituted a formal process. His team understands what is expected of them, and what the outputs need to be. And the best part? These insights affect more than just the sales team. They are also used by the product and marketing functions.
Another big piece to the sales ops strategy puzzle is data. When it comes to data, there are three stages most sales ops leaders use. It starts with descriptive data, which describes what has happened in the past. The next step is diagnostic data, which answers the question, “Why did that happen?” The final step is predictive data. This answers “If all things remain stable in the future, this is likely what’s going to happen.”
Achieving predictive analytics is a hard feat to pull off. Steve and his team have been successful in their pursuit of predictive analytics. Their journey is still in progress. But they’ve gone from descriptive to diagnostic, and are on the edge of the predictive stage.
They’ve also taken data architecture into account. This allows them to collect, and even more importantly, keep clean data. This data is used to perform sales analytics. How have they done this? By partnering with their IT team and leader. Their data architecture revolves around data management. Additionally, they’ve started with the end in mind. What are they trying to accomplish? And how are they going to scale the business? This allows them to put all the pieces together.
At the end of the day, Steve is responsible for making the sales team both more efficient and effective. It’s a 1-2 punch, and the output is a company that is easy to sell for. And easy to buy from. So, how do they do it? By developing and executing a comprehensive sales ops strategy. If you are struggling to do this, consider downloading our playbook here. It will give you the road-map you need to get started.