article | March 28, 2013
Hit the Road to Improve the Stick-Rate of Your Initiatives
Download the Sales Ops Field Kit Here
Think about the last big effort you drove for sales. Rolling out a new CRM tool or territory structure. Delivering enhanced training or instituting new performance dashboards. Redesigning compensation or quotas.
The bigger the project impact, the harder you must work to make it stick. The big initiatives are the ones that get the most pushback from the field. Your time is limited but you need to see what’s happening on the street.
When was the last time you spent quality time in the field? Losing direct connection to today’s sales effort erodes your credibility. Observing in real-time allows you to see the gaps.
Step 1 – Get out there. You and your sales ops team should hit the road. Here are three specific activities for you to do this:
Within the Sales Ops Field Kit (click here to download), there are tools to support you. Guides to your observation, questions to ask, ways to facilitate.
So you might be asking: “Isn’t a lot of this the direct sales manager’s job?” Yes, in general, it is. But one of your key responsibilities is to be an objective voice. Your CSO needs to get your direct feedback that he can trust. If you don’t really know what’s going on, how can he trust you?
Face it – many sales managers and directors are too biased. You can hear them saying “It’s not the team’s fault. We didn’t make the number because (pick an item they say they can’t control)”.
One last point on this step. Listen most closely to your “A” players. They win every day and make it work regardless. Sales success isn’t like an election. You’re “A’s” votes count for more than the also-rans.
Step 2 – Track and respond. Keep track of the success, failures and the adjustments needed based on observation.
Just rolled out new quotas? Use your time in the field to validate or call into question your approach. What if an assumption you made about new revenue opportunities was overstated? Listen, observe and ask questions.
You’ve put new CRM and related tools in place. Watch how the reps use the process. Are the tools actually useful and do they help them sell? Are the tools and process in synch with the buyer process? Simply watching as they enter data in your CRM helps. Is the data entry and flow intuitive or clunky?
New dashboards recently introduced? Do the measurements match with real life and success on the street? If you’ve put together a new QBR template, does it meet the customer need?
Step 3 – Bring Back the Goods. Using the tools and tracking your observations, deliver your insights. You might be the leader of Sales Operations but sometimes you need to sell. Share with front-line managers. Get into the field regularly and set a monthly meeting with your CSO. Walk through your key discovery. Paint the picture with the stories you bring back.
Show in an unbiased way what’s going on out there. Layout the solutions. This might be the evidence needed to light the fire to gaining traction. I’m not suggesting a witch-hunt. I am recommending another way for you to get adoption of your initiatives.
Use this effort to build a case for further adoption of the team’s work. In addition, you’ll build credibility with Field Sales. You’ll gain more trust with your boss as his advisor with the real scoop. Your team will respect you more because your going to bat for them.
Download the Sales Ops Field Kit Here.
That’s some solid benefits for simply hitting the road every few weeks.
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