New Year’s resolutions. Of those who make them, 1 in 3 ditch theirs by the end of January. The top reasons were being too busy or not being committed in the first place. And yet, we all have areas we can improve upon personally and professionally. If sales operations stands still year over year it will quickly fall behind. What does your sales operations team need to address in 2015?
For specific ideas, download our latest research report. You’ll uncover what differentiates leading sales organizations from all the rest. There’s an entire section dedicated to sales operations.
Here are three New Year’s resolutions to get you started:
- Develop a sales operations charter.
A charter is simply a document written on behalf of a team. It concisely describes the team’s mission, purpose, scope of operation, objectives, and intended outcomes. It’s a document to define what you will do and what you will not do. Using a charter unifies the team around a specific set of objectives. It ensures resource allocations are clarified so that the team is set up for success.[p
To develop a charter, follow this three-step process:
- Articulate: Develop your vision, mission, and objectives. Communicate to others. Clarify any ambiguities and gain consensus with stakeholders.
- Implement: Align the sales operations initiatives to the vision and mission. Establish goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs). Establish resource plans that address people, tools, processes, and funding.
- Evaluate: Create dashboards for KPIs. Utilize formal and informal channels to gather feedback from stakeholders. Maintain an agile approach to respond to internal clients and external customers.
- Design territories that map to potential.
When was the last time you re-designed your territories? Do you have a robust territory design process? Is the process based on customers and prospects? Does it consider the changes in potential that occur year over year? If you’re like many companies, territories are rooted in past decisions. Assignments made long ago dictate today’s territory assignments. Unless someone leaves or dies, territories largely remain the same. There’s a better way.
- Map customer and prospect potential: Determine where your customers and prospects are located. To do this you need to understand what market(s) you serve. Identify the market size and the customer/prospect universe. Then, identify how much share you have in each account and how much potential is left to capture. Territories that don’t consider share and potential will be poorly designed.
- Understand your capacity: What is your ideal customer’s buying process? How many sales calls does it take to advance the selling process through to conclusion? This will help you design a territory plan based on how many visits a rep can make. And it will help you keep territories balanced and properly covered.
Of course, there’s more to it than this. Click here for a deeper explanation of territory design.
- Resolve to work with marketing to ensure ongoing alignment on key initiatives.
There is a natural rivalry between sales and marketing. Sales operations stands at the intersection between sales and marketing. As a result, sales operations can be a catalyst to achieve better alignment in 2015.
Do you have a single view of the customer?
Sales and marketing should agree on key buyer and influencer personas. Marketing will benefit by understanding how to market to the people who matter most. Sales will know how to advance the buyer by speaking specifically to their stage in the buying process. Align content, demand generation, and sales enablement with buyer personas to maximize effectiveness.
Have you agreed on common terms and definitions?
There are a variety of terms that are commonly misunderstood between sales and marketing. Terms like contact, lead, account, and opportunity are the usual suspects. Collaborate with sales and marketing to define these terms and their associated business processes:
- Contact: Define when a contact is created, and how it is created. Determine if a marketing contact is different than a sales contact.
- Lead: Define what actions or behaviors a contact must exhibit before becoming a lead. Determine what criteria are used to qualify the lead. Define when a lead is ready to be handed off to sales.
- Account: Define when, and in what system(s), an account is created. Determine where the master account record resides. Decide what information resides with the account and what resides with the contact record.
- Opportunity: Determine the stages of an opportunity according to the customer buying process. Define what data is kept and whether it is stored at the account, contact, or opportunity level.
Are you leveraging the marketing automation system for your benefit?
There are a number of ways you can benefit from gaining access to the marketing automation system. Marketing is tasked with generating awareness and early-stage conversations with customers and prospects. An automation system will track the details of that conversation. The system knows what web pages a person reads and what email messages they open and respond to. Of course, not all that activity is useful to sales. Too much information can be overwhelming. Sales needs the right information at the right time. Here are some practical ways to leverage the automation system for sales’ benefit:
- Key account activity: Using account segmentation criteria, make a list of your most important customers and prospects. Establish a rule in the marketing automation system that watches for activity from those key accounts. Use the system to notify the account manager whenever someone from their key accounts takes an action online. This can increase customer intimacy and help account managers track buying behavior.
- Asset download: Use the marketing automation system to tag specific assets online. These may be white papers, buyer’s guides, or product catalogs. Anything that indicates a purchase decision is eminent. Place the asset behind a form with required fields for basic contact info. Notify the account manager whenever a key asset is downloaded.
- Summaries: Set up a daily or weekly summary of online activity. Aggregate activity by domain name and generate a report. Make the report available to the sales organization. Cultivate the report to gain insights about customer behavior. Sales reps can use those insights to develop conversations with the customer or prospect.
1 out of 3 ditch their resolution before the end of January. 73% don’t ever make it to their goal and give up entirely. Do you want to beat the odds? Have a plan. Creating a plan will improve your odds considerably. Having a plan will give you a platform to share your goals with others. “Tell others your goal,” says John C. Norcross, Ph.D., ABPP, a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of Scranton and author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing your Goals and Resolutions. “Going public increases accountability and allows for more support,” he says.
If you want help developing your plan for 2015, sign up for our strategy session. This free 90-minute workshop is an excellent way to get started. One of our experts will walk you through our research. Through collaboration you’ll gain a better understanding of how to turn your resolutions into an effective plan for 2015. Sign up here or reach out to me directly for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.