The Sales organization isn’t short on data, it is short on knowledge. Every Sales Leader needs innovative recommendations right now. As the Sales Operations Leader, you are the solution that will provide those recommendations.
There are 3 reasons why you, not technology, are the solution to provide innovative recommendations to your Sales Leader:
- Technology cannot identify the sales problems.
- Only you can define what data is needed to analyze your problem.
- Technology cannot analyze your problem or benchmark your solution.
How are you going to help your VP of Sales to hit the number? Register for our Q3 Tour – Making the Number session and learn what your peers are doing today to make the number.
Technology is difficult.
Putting the systems in place to collect the data you need is not easy. In fact, “20% to 30% of Enterprise Resource Planning projects fail, and 50% to 60% are considered compromised,” according to Gartner research.
So for some, the technology in place is working against them. Sales organizations are struggling to collect and identify the data they need to be successful. But if the data is there, then you can still be the solution.
1. Identify the sales problem that needs a solution.
Most organizations know sales problems exist, but they can’t successfully identify them. The answers are buried somewhere in the data. The ability to identify and define problems is a skill unique to the Sales Operations role. Developing that skill, however, proves difficult because many organizations can’t evaluate themselves objectively.
Recently I was with a client who believes they have a sales compensation problem. But after spending thirty minutes in the field with a sales rep, I quickly realized the real problems lie elsewhere such as:
- Marketing wasn’t providing qualified leads to the sales team.
- A Sales Process did not exist.
- There was no Sales Territory Design in place.
To correctly diagnose the problem, your organization has to take an objective viewpoint. If you feel you can’t make an objective assessment of the situation, then enlist the help of a consultant to give you a complete, unbiased opinion. Together you can correctly identify the sales problem that needs a solution.
2. Define what data you need to analyze your problem.
After you have identified the core problems hindering your organization, begin to measure the problem. Identify what data you need and focus on finding that data. Regarding the client mentioned earlier, we approached the problem by focusing on one of the four problems we saw in the field: Territory Design.
Since we were solving for a Territory Design issue, we don’t necessarily need to know how long an opportunity sat in a specific stage of the funnel. In this case, we needed to know all of the companies within a given zip code, their potential spend and account penetration. If we would have chased the original suspect, a compensation problem, our focus would have been on different metrics such as historic sales figures, total available market, and talent evaluation.
By properly identifying the problem, we saved ourselves valuable time by outlining the metrics that matter.
3. Analyze your problem, benchmark your solution.
Now that you have selected the important metrics, take this last step to analyze and provide a solution. The analysis of the Territory Design data in our example yielded results, but we needed a reference point. What was the competition doing? How did the client stack up against best-in-class?
Benchmarking is the critical ingredient to analysis and delivering results. By comparing our client to World-Class performers, they were able to see empirical, quantitative evidence of what an effective Territory Design is.
A new Territory Design was deployed based on World-Class metrics. Today, the client is measuring the client’s success against a consistent set of meaningful benchmarks.
Technology will provide data for everything it measures, but it is still incapable of making the big strategic decisions. The value of analysis and benchmarking can only come from you.
Sales Leaders are searching for solutions.
Sales Operations professionals who provide innovative recommendations are in high demand. “Through 2012, 80% of organizations will struggle to recruit the talent required to meet their business analytics objectives,” according to Gartner. Companies and Sales Leaders have data, what they need is knowledge.
Focus on specific, relevant data in order to provide strategic direction. When you do that, you are the solution.
Want more ideas on how to provide strategic value to your Sales Organization? Dan Perry is an expert in creating World-Class Sales Operations for companies like yours. Contact him today to learn more.
Author: Dan Bernoske
- Gartner “Address Six Key Factors for Successful ERP Implications”, Denise Ganly, 24 March 2011
- Gartner “How to Leverage Advanced Analytics for Strategy Maps”, Christopher Iervolino, 17 February 2012