December 17, 2015

The (Sales Ops) Force Awakens — Becoming a Sales Jedi Master

David Bao

David Bao

David Bao
David Bao

Former Employee

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As Yoda would say, the mantra of every salesperson is “Sell. Or sell not. There is no try.” Without selling, nothing else matters. But salesperson expectations go beyond active selling. Mundane activities grab precious selling time: sales strategy, territory planning, account reviews, forecasting, reporting, updating CRM tools, and more … each chipping away at the 2,000 selling hours per year. Various surveys suggest almost two-thirds of a sales person’s week is spent doing something other than selling.

That’s a problem.

Less selling time equals less sales. But with so many demands, being effective is hard. And when salespeople aren’t effective, there’s a serious disturbance in the Force (er, revenue). Making reps more effective is where Sales Operations can step in as true sales jedi masters and bring balance to the Force.

Balance to the (sales) Force means reps hit their number this quarter with sufficient pipeline next quarter. It means sales management has visibility into brisk deal progress. It means reps have personal engagement with prospects while they manage an entire territory as a business owner.

If you are in Sales Operations, here are 3 ways you can reach your destiny as sales jedi masters:

Force Enabler #1: A Sales Jedi’s Strength Flows From Data

With all the CRM tools and technology available, we’ve got plenty of data. But do we have what matters? Can we use it effectively … and instantly? The hero’s journey for Ops is extracting the right data, discovering trends that matter, and delivering recommendations to Sales leaders todrive strategy and boost revenue. Who is the data champion the team needs? Sales Ops. You can be the trusted source of practical knowledge for the sales organization. As a jedi needs a lightsaber, you may need your tailored sales analytics tools, but once armed, you’re ready.

Force Enabler #2: These ARE the Metrics You’re Looking For

Metrics must align with business strategy and objectives. And powerful metrics don’t only measure past performance, they are leading indicators. Metrics that fit one team won't fit another. If your focus is new logos, metrics will hit sales cycle time and lead gen conversion. If it's all about revenue, your focus may be upsell, cross-sell, and reducing discount rates. When your metrics match your strategy, make them visible. Visible metrics have the power of the Force because we know what gets measured, gets done.

Force Enabler #3: Bring Balance to Sales and the Rest of the Organization

The sales team owns the deals. But they don’t win alone. Hans needed Chewy. And your reps need the company — marketing, finance, legal, etc. As a Sales Ops leader, you’re in a perfect position to be the liaison between sales and other functions. And you can help build a customer-focused culture where collaborations and support are simply easier (and far more common) than interdepartmental friction. Talk about an invisible Force!

Is some of this hard? Sure. Does the mountain of daily requirements seem to bury your attempts to drive change? Probably every day. But returning to Yoda’s advice: Do. Or do not. There is no try.You may need to inspire your sales leaders to understand how much better their life will become when Sales Ops is empowered to learn and lead. Helping them understand the full potential of your role is part of your own hero’s journey. You can demonstrate how you’ll give sales leaders the gift of time and the insights to exceed short-term expectations while setting the foundation for success long into the future. You can know where Sales Reps need the most support, deliver new tools quickly, track adoption, and refine … at a pace unthinkable in a time not-so long ago and far away.

When decisions are data driven, confidence and effectiveness skyrocket. Operations goes from unsung to celebrated … just as they should.

Are you a Sales Ops leader — or do your know one — ready to use the Force to elevate your team’s selling? Could your organization benefit from more effective Reps, more informed Sales Managers, and more empowered Sales Operations? If so, we are on this journey together, so please click here and let’s talk. You’ll be seeing and delivering new insights at lightspeed (yes, we had to get one more in there!).

May the (sales) Force be with you!

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