Breakthrough Barriers

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Top performing Sales Ops professionals break through the clutter.  They prioritize their efforts to most effectively help sales make the number.  They follow a sequence that builds on strategy focused on the customer.


Download the Project Priority Grader Here.


Project Priority Grader


Many Sales Ops leaders tell us there’s not enough time or resources to do it all.  But that doesn’t stop the requests from coming in.  You’re looking for an answer to one question: How important is this project compared to everything else?


To answer this, view all your requests through four criteria:


  • Requestor – Who asked for us to work on this and why?
  • Strategy – Does this help us execute our sales strategy and focus on our Ideal Customers?
  • Buying Process – Does this project link us to our ideal customer’s specific buying process?
  • Sequencing – Is this the right time to do this project?  Is there other work I need to accomplish before it makes sense to do this?


Who’s Asking?

If the request came directly from the CEO it probably goes to the top of the list. If it came from the CSO, it also carries a high priority.  Assign each requestor – including you – a priority level. 


For example, on a scale of 1-5, your boss and the CEO should rank as a 5.  Give yourself a priority of 4.  Give your peers reporting to the CSO a range of 2-4.  Assign the peer priority based on items such as:


  • How much influence do they have on making our number?  Requests from an RVP responsible for 50% of the total target should weigh more.
  • Do they consistently outperform their peers?  If so, they carry more influence with executive leadership.
  • Are they seen as a thought leader?  Could they be the next CSO?


Aligning Your Projects

Your efforts should be aligned to the sales strategy.  Your strategy is all about targeting your ideal customers and aligning with their buying process.


Assume an RVP has asked for a new report regarding his team’s completion of recent training.  Does the report help him gauge how they are doing against the strategy?  If the training doesn’t link to getting or growing ideal customers, score it low on “Strategic Alignment”.   If it helped sales understand the buyer process and lead to more deals, score it high on “Buying Process Alignment”


Sequencing Your Projects

Your boss has asked you to design a compensation SPIFF’s for next quarter.   The SPIFF is for new product revenue targeted to a new vertical.  The project requires a lot of data crunching to estimate payout scenarios and ROI. 


First, ask yourself what the reps need to know.  Do they know much about this new vertical?  Who should they approach?  Why would the prospect care?  If they don’t know what they need to execute, the SPIFF will be a flop.


Sequencing your projects is like building a new deck on your house.  Without solid footers in the ground, the top of the deck will never be stable.  A clear understanding of who you’re targeting and why is needed before you determine how.


Look here for more details on how to sequence your sales enablement projects.


Final Thoughts

There are many factors that influence the priority a project can have.  I’m not suggesting that you dictate all priorities to all requestors.  But here are some additional tips:


  • When one person has more than one project on your plate help them decide the priority.  Make your case for which of their projects aligns best with the strategy.  Discuss the importance of sequencing to success.  Lastly, have them “compete with themselves” for your time.
  • Always consider the source.  Just because your requestor thinks it’s urgent doesn’t make it so.
  • When there’s conflict, bring a strong point of view.  Position on how the project enables sales to make their number, fits the strategy and is correctly sequenced.
  • Teach the organization about strategic fit, alignment to the buyer and project sequencing.
  • If you’re still putting your weekend plans on hold, consider outsourcing.  Execution-based organizations can help you cut through the clutter, prioritize and enact what’s important.