How has Sales Operations done this year? Do you look back with accomplishment? Did you directly enable the sales organization to close more business? Did you help keep sales expenses in check?
With focus, Sales Ops leaders can positively impact sales revenue and costs. If company goals weren’t reached this year, what might you have done differently? There are multiple ways you can deliver tangible results. Our Sales Ops Get Well Plan will help you focus for next year. Click here to receive your own copy.
Physician, Heal Thyself
In our work, we encounter many great sales operations groups. Leaders that are laser focused on taking action to drive performance. Conversely, we’ve come across teams that throw their hands up in despair. They point to others as the reason they’re ineffective. You’ll always have obstacles to overcome. Stay focused on those situations you can control. Get the help needed to influence those you can’t fully control.
Within your sphere of influence, you can deliver results for sales leadership. Commit to focus on those initiatives that will improve performance or reduce costs. Look inside your team as well as outside to make this a reality.
When you consider your team, here are some areas to consider heading into the New Year.
Talent: Do you have the right team with the right competency to get the job done? In a previous post (click here) I dug a bit deeper into this topic. Most important items to remember – screen and select on competencies and pay on a competitive scale. Without the right team, all else suffers.
Data Access / Availability: Does your group have access the right data to make good decisions? All the discussions about Big Data Analytics don’t matter otherwise. Having an enterprise-wide Customer Master File (CMF) is the ideal first step.
CMF’s provide a unified view across the organization of your customers. Sales, Finance, Marketing and Customer Service need this alignment. All your data is rolled-up to a common definition of the customer. All interactions align to this view. This work also includes data governance and process flows. IT needs to step up here. If this is not yet a reality, find a work-around in the near-term. Talented, persistent people find ways to fill the gap.
Training: Have you given your team the right training? Some people just need the right information and training to become more productive. If budgets are tight, have your superstars conduct mini trainings. Put that in their personal development plans for next year.
Identify and Prioritize For the New Year
After evaluating your team and their tools, you might ask “Where do I start?” What projects or initiatives will have the most positive impact next year? Stay focused on a small number of important efforts. The sequence you take is critical. Don’t do a territory redesign project without knowing exactly who you’re targeting. Revising the comp plan without aligning it to a defined sales strategy won’t work. Here’s an overview in sequenced order of the big opportunities for you next year.
- Account Segmentation – For a good primer on Account Segmentation, click here. Having a clear understanding of your ideal customers and prospects is essential to success. Without that, virtually all else below is drastically marginalized.
- Buyer Process Maps (BPM’s) & Personas – See this post by John Kenney for more detail. Armed with BPM’s and Personas, sales and marketing become much more effective. Messaging is focused, content is relevant, closing rates go up
- Channel / Routes-To-Market – Understanding BPM’s and Personas will provide a base line here. Routes to market must align with how your customers and prospects want to be served. It’s also dependent on the segmentation and relative attractiveness of each.
- Sales Process – Again, without the preceding steps, a Sales Process will languish. Having the tools, process, management commitment and cadence will deliver results. Social Selling is part of the Process. Social will greatly improve your top on the funnel. Here is a link to a great webinar with LinkedIn
- Sales Structure and Sizing – Here’s where both revenue attainment and cost reductions converge. Do you have the right number of resources doing the right things?
- Territory Design – Like structure and sizing, efficient territory design improves revenue and cuts costs.
- Sales Compensation and Quota Setting – A good comp plan with bad quotas doesn’t move the needle. A bad comp plan with good quotas will drag you down. Again, this has both cost and revenue implications for you.
Download our Sales-Ops Planning Guide here. Bite off what you can chew. Identify a small number of priorities and do them very well. As you review your teams’ performance, what did you conclude? Where would you rank your effectiveness in direct support of making the number? How will this assessment change what you do next year. I’d like to hear about your priorities for Sales Ops in the New Year.