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April 2020
Sales Operations Elucidated
Authored by: Srinivas Dheenashanker



At their core, salespeople just want to SELL. While technology provides new efficiencies and opportunities, they are coupled with challenges. 

The Sales teams leverage and optimize processes, data and applications that support sales operations. 

Sales teams play a crucial role in helping other departments drive strategies for success. 

Given the wider scope in the digital space, the sales team can improve their productivity and performance, e.g. CRM, SaaS based tools, etc. 

Sales operations need to leverage: 

1) Strategy

Sales operations includes financial analysis, reporting and forecasting which have been enhanced by technology to improve customer success and customer experience. A sale operation strategy should consider: 

  • Sales process optimization 
  • Performance analysis 
  • Incentives program alignment 
  • Training needs 
  • Sales methodologies 
  • Tools and assessment needs 

2) Performance

Sales operations have emerged to speed up sales cycle and close maximum number of deals possible by streamlining a process. Sales teams can improve their performance by: 

  • Preparing a streamlined workflow 
  • Implementing sales frameworks and methodologies 
  • Selecting key metrics 
  • Adopting a T&D approach 
  • Optimizing sales process with result-driven pre-sales activities 
  • Using sales tools such as- 

Zoho, Salesforce, etc., 

  • Using automation tools such as- 

Yesware, Hubspot, Pardot, Autopilot, Zapier, Customer.io. Mailchimp, etc. 

  • Using sales intelligence and analytics tools such as- 

Sisense, TIBCO Spotfire, SQL Srver Reporting Services, Alteryx Analytics, Salesforce wave Analytics, etc. 

  • Implementing contract management to build, store, administer, revisit, and track progress pertaining to formal business contracts 

Technology

Any tool should be chosen based on the use and complexity of a particular sales operation. For successful operations, sales leads should bring onboard: 

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) platform 
  • Data analysis software 
  • Contract life cycle management software 
  • Email automation software 
  • Performance management software 

Building Sales Operations Team

Salespeople should be hired based on a business’s recurring annual revenue. Hired sales professionals are expected to: 

  • Manage CRM, 
  • Generate, analyse and present report 
  • Manage sales compensation 

Responsibilities for sales personnels may vary as per a business’s revenue target. Here are a few add-on responsibilities that sales professionals might have to shoulder: 

  • Planning go-to-market and sales growth strategies 
  • Processing deals 
  • Design compensation plan 
  • Structure sales forecasting metrics 
  • Monitor process enforcement 

Process

Sales professionals need to formulate, adopt and execute an efficient sales process, guiding the entire sales organization. 

Sales operations can be enhanced through: 

  • Administrative, technical and well-structured strategic processes 

Measurement

Metrics for sales performance may vary across domains, sectors, and companies. To become a high-performing sales operations team, these metrics should be considered: 

  • Average win rate 
  • Average sales cycle length 
  • Average deal size 
  • Lead response and conversion time 
  • Number of prospects meeting 
  • Forecast insights 

Best Practices

Businesses evolve because of their expansion in size, scope and scale. Sales operations help a business bring its solutions and services in the spotlight, while being the major drive behind revenue generation. Adopting best practices in pre-sales, sales and after sales processes can help businesses grow exponentially. 

Every business has a different structure and objectives. So, the practices implemented by their sales teams will differ accordingly. 

Factors like corporate culture, scale, target markets, and sales maturity shape the ideal sales operations structure for every organization. 

Conclusion

Sales Leaders, Managers, and Executives form the backbone of a sales team. They must keep learning new skills and technologies to design relevant sales strategies. 

About Author:

Srinivas Dheenashanker is a Sales Solutionist at CareerNet Technologies. He manages the sales operations and builds sales solutions for clients. He holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Marketing. 

For more email: srinivas.dheenashanker@careernet.co.in