How Sales Operations Can Improve Productivity

BY Kathy Crosett
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Did you know that sales operations can improve your productivity? This is especially true if you have the right people working as sales operations professionals in your department. As sales grow more complex and the speed of business increases, the old-​school style of relationship selling needs a boost. And this boost could come in the context of formalizing parts of the sales process. Often, this calls for an individual to fill the role of sales operations professional. You can identify the candidate for this work by using an operations sales assessment test.

The formal sales ops department is most prevalent in tech companies and in larger organizations. In fact, only 37.3% of organizations with revenue below $10M have dedicated sales ops employees. If your company isn’t large enough to have a sales ops department, you can assign some of the related tasks to individuals who are best suited for the role and who will improve productivity.

Sales Tracking and Forecasting

Remember that your sales managers should be coaching their teams on how to improve their skills. In doing so, they’ll be helping reps who are developing new business, closing deals and managing accounts. While sales managers may have some idea of how reps are doing in terms of quota, they typically don’t have time to produce the regular detailed revenue forecasts that senior leaders need in order to create organizational budgets and strategic plans. Unless a sales manager has a keen interest in and talent for working with spreadsheets, a sales ops analyst could manage this task.

Lead Management

Another critical element in the sales process that sometimes gets bungled is lead management. As we become more digitized and can classify where a prospect is in the sales funnel, we can also track progress. That way, nobody falls through the cracks. Reps won’t get away with dealing only with their favorite prospects. Good lead management means tracking where each prospect is and who is responsible for the next touchpoint. Your sales operations can improve productivity when the right people focus on lead management.

Sales Technology

The modern sales ops professional is more than a data wonk. As we rely more on technology to keep things running smoothly, sales operations staffers must support systems such as the CRM.

In many companies the CRM is a black hole. 45% of businesses surveyed by Miller Neiman Group in its 2018 CSO Insights report claimed that 90% of their reps used the CRM. There’s a big difference between using the CRM and getting the most out of it. We all know that the data we get out of such systems is only as good at the data we put into it.

Inept use of the CRM is a topic on which sales managers and reps agree. In our 2020 State of Media Sales survey, 25% of sales managers claimed that reps not using the CRM system was a source of frustration. Nearly the same number of reps, 23%, said using their organization’s CRM system was cause for aggravation. This situation calls for a CRM system overhaul.

A team member with technical and operational knowledge could take on the project of reviewing the organization’s expectations for the CRM system. It might then be possible relaunch the use of the CRM system. Charging the right employee with the task of holding weekly training sessions would be a good way to encourage reps to use the system properly. Assigning an always available go-​to person means reps won’t waste time trying to solve their CRM issues and will instead stay busy selling.

Sales Operations Can Improve Productivity

How do you know which of your team members might be able to carry out some of the sales operations tasks? If you asked candidates to take a sales aptitude test during the hiring process, you could already have your answer. A comprehensive sales aptitude test can measure individual characteristics like motivation, work tendencies and decision-​making tendencies. Review the results of these assessment and then decide which employees will have the best fit with the tasks required to carry out productive sales operations.