Download the Guide to Understanding Your CSO here.
Think about your most valued sales ops team members. What do they deliver that separates them from the others? At the core, your best sales ops employees:
- Deliver insight, not just data
- Identify and solve problems to make your job easier
- Build trust among Sales Management as dependable, resourceful and experienced partners
- Speed adoption of your initiatives by broadcasting success to illustrate the payoff
- Help sales make their quota
As sales ops leaders, you value these outcomes because they directly support your objectives. They help you get a good night’s sleep.
Think Like Your CSO
Now consider what the best Sales Ops leaders do that separates them from the also-rans. To do so, we need to look deeper at what good CSO’s want from Sales Ops.
We’ve gained insight from thousands of CSO’s and Sales VP’s. We update our understanding of them in real-time whenever we interact. All of our sales enablement work, interviews and observation tell us what they want.
CSO priority one is to make the number with regularity – quarter after quarter. But there are other demanding questions your CSO needs answered. We know this because we hear them ask these questions all the time.
More than “How Do I Make My Number?”
Gone unanswered, the following questions can turn your CSO into a bleary-eyed insomniac. Find the answers and you drive your CSO to success.
- How do I win more new business? Who are the best prospects and how are they making purchase decisions. It requires reps to have the skills and experience aligned with the new buyer. Are my reps able to leverage social platforms, connecting with buyers at the right time?
- How effective is my team? Benchmarks are essential. Average deal size, closing rates and revenue per rep are examples. Your performance compared to peer groups and world-class. Knowing what good looks like helps you get there.
- Why do I lose big customers or big opportunities? Having a Win / Loss intelligence program will answer these questions.
- Why do I lose top talent? When “A” level reps and managers leave, your CSO needs to know why. Are some mangers driving great reps away? Is the comp plan or territory design pushing reps out the door? Exit interviews will do the trick here.
- Are we targeting the right customers? Do you a clear understanding of where your ideal customers are? If the sales team isn’t aligned to these opportunities, it’s inefficient. More wasted resources.
- Are my selling costs too high (or low)? Again, benchmarking here is the answer. Comparisons to peers and the very best performers will solve for this.
- Do I have the talent to make my number? Knowing what your “A” players look like is a start. Your CSO then needs a plan to source, hire and develop more “A” players.
- What are my competitors doing? Know about competitive products, pricing, after sale support and market share. How do they compensate their reps and how are they structured? Mystery shopping and customer/prospect research will support here.
This is what your CSO is asking himself. Many of these are the questions the CEO is asking your sales leader. If your CSO doesn’t have these answers, they won’t survive to long. You and your sales ops team might become collateral damage too.
But, armed with the answers and the actions to take, the number is made. Happy and successful CSO’s make for happy CEO’s. This is a recipe for your success. You become more than “sales ops”. You become sales’ “Chief of Staff”.
Finding the Answers
So, how will you get these answers for your boss? How will you prioritize? First, download the Guide to Understand Your CSO. Walk through the guide and answer each item in an unbiased way. Identify the gaps in knowledge or where new insight is needed.
For example, let’s say you think you know why your top reps leave. If you haven’t been getting exit interview results on a regular basis, you don’t. Is the sales force aligned to your best opportunities? Without recent account segmentation, you can’t know the answer.
Once you know where the gaps are, take action. Gather what you need. Analyze the right data. Consider getting outside support. Turn that effort into insight for your CSO. How do these answers impact how sales should operate? Now turn the insight into action. What actions must the team take to fix a problem or exploit an opportunity?
One of the most important tasks in any job is to make the boss’ life easier. Find ways for them to meet their stated objectives. Help them be the star on the executive team. But first you have to understand your boss. Look beyond the obvious to figure out what your boss needs.