Diminishing Authority has two root causes:


  1. Another department has collected superior data – Have your peers outpaced your evolution?
  2. Operations data has not been properly leveraged– Are you tracking the metrics that drive results in 2013?


Our firm has seen this loss of control take many forms.  We have helped numerous Sales Ops leaders take back authority.  In each instance, Sales Ops has defended their turf.  In each instance, it has led to more effective and efficient sales organizations.


Below are responsibilities we have seen Operations lose in the last 2 years. In each case:


  • Consider your authority – Are you currently responsible for the activity?  Do you merely support through assistance and consultation? Or are you on the outside, content to simply stay informed?
  • Address the root causes – Why is another department housing this data?  What are the Major Business Objectives of the CSO? Which metrics will help him evaluate those MBOs?
  • Defend your turf ­­– Devise a plan for taking back authority and your seat at the table.


Download the Diminishing Authority “RACI” Map to determine what activities you are Responsible for, Assist in executing, Consult on when brought in, or of which you simply stay Informed


Marketing is not sharing pipeline data

For generations marketing has been on its own.  Today, your CSO is more interested in inquiry-to-opportunity data than ever before.  He has become reliant on the CMO to provide him with pipeline forecasts.  An Ops leader recently told me marketing resisted handing over the data.  As long as that data is housed exclusively in marketing, Ops is not responsible.   Ops is relegated to Informed status.  


In this case, marketing maintains its seat at the table, and grows its authority.  Sales and Marketing is evolving into one single revenue engine.  Before that evolution is complete, ensure Sales Ops houses all revenue-relevant data.


Learning and Development is determining ongoing training modules

There was a time when Sales Ops determined sales force improvement practices.  You held that responsibility because you made informed decisions based on compelling data.  The numbers told you where breakdowns in the sales process took place.  You calculated the percentage of the sales force affected and monetized the impact.  You estimated the ROI of focusing training on a number of different initiatives.  Now the CSO is asking trainers where the sales team feels they need help.  Ouch


A member of a Sales Ops team recently told me a similar story.  He called it the hardest punch to his gut he’s ever received.  He tried to recover, but is still relegated to Consulting L&D.  Ensure data is being tracked accurately in your CRM.  It’s then easy to allow the numbers to inform the direction of training.


Buyer data is being housed in Customer Service

Customer data is more granular today than ever.  Customer service is not trained to collect and analyze that data.  You’ve bucketed your buyers into personas but lack insight into buyer behaviors.  You don’t know why they chose to buy or not buy.  You don’t understand what pushed them into the market.  You don’t know the questions they asked themselves as they decided between options. Most importantly, you don’t know when your organization lost and the reasons why.


It is not just customer service ineffectively owning your buyer data.  I was recently told by Sales Ops that marketing created collateral for sales reps to deliver to buyers.  With the right data, Sales Ops should be responsible for creating this content.  In both instances, Sales Ops would no longer simply Assist in addressing the needs of the buyer.  They would create job aids and collateral to help sales reps pull buyers through their journey.


Become Responsible

There are 8 key responsibilities of Sales Ops.  The Diminishing Authority Map allows you to determine your role for each.  Bring the map with you through your week and evaluate your authority.  Is the CSO turning to you to make the numbers meaningful?  If not, the organization is suffering.  No one else can  do this as well as you.


The Path Forward

Spend the next few weeks building your map.  Find out how close you are to where you need to be.  Can you fix it yourself?  Is your technology set up to collect the most important data?  If you need assistance, we can help. 


Spend a few weeks defending your turf.  In my next post, we will go on the offensive.  We will discuss what activities Sales Ops can take on to remain relevant.  By bringing informed data to new strategies, Sales Ops can add increased value.  The CSO will see Ops as credible and integral in future decision-making.  You will remain at the table, informing strategy and ensuring you make the number.