Many sales executives are in the throes of finalizing their 2018 sales plans. They are tuning territory plans, quotas, hiring plans, etc. You wear the hat and you know the drill. Unfortunately, some of these plans will not address improvements to sales operations – due mostly to resource and/or budget constraints.
A high performing Sales Operations function allows sales professionals to spend the majority of their time doing what they do best – sell! McKinsey & Company’s 2016 research shows that implementation of ‘world-class’ sales operations yields sustained annual increases of 5 to 10 percent in sales productivity. And yet, every sales operations executive we have spoken with recently has been tasked with making Sales Operations do more with less.
Making Sales Operations more efficient while assuming more responsibilities on a leaner budget is no easy task. It starts, however, with identification, location, and sizing of the improvement opportunities. For example, a CSO we know had to say ‘no’ to a budget request for costly additional training of its new business developers. A closer look revealed that coaching was not being implemented consistently and that effective curbside coaching would likely provide the lift in productivity needed among targeted average performers.
Another CSO shared how she achieved an additional 10% revenue growth from her New Logo customers. Sales Operations provided a recommendation that she change her commission plan to extend payments beyond the initial twelve months after New Logo contract signing. New Business Sales Executives increased their time commitment with Account Management and increased TCV by continuing to leverage their relationships with expanded services. Revenue run rates increased and New Logos continued at the same pace after the change.
The point is that improvement starts with a diagnostic effort that drills down and systematically assesses the processes in the following areas of Sales Operations:
Organizing and Developing the Sales Organization
Managing and Directing the Sales Organization
Evaluating and Diagnosing Sales Team Performance
Once you know where the opportunities for improvement reside, how large the opportunities are, and have gauged the potential impact of improvements, you can successfully achieve more with less.