A lot happens behind the scenes before a sale occurs, and sales operations take care of everything to ensure a smooth ride. Overlooking that department can make your company lose money.
So, what are the best practices to ensure sales ops miss no opportunities?
Sales operations must set realistic goals, streamline the sales process, and seek ways to improve. Adopting new technology and implementing an accountability system helps them achieve their goal as long as there's strong leadership in place. A structured department boosts productivity.
Best practices are there to ensure no lead goes to waste as well as skyrocketing productivity. However, knowing what to do is as important as how to do it, and rushing your way through improvements can lead to several issues, like overlooking great sales opportunities.
How to Ensure No Opportunity is Overlooked in Sales
Sales Operations (sales ops) is all about helping salespeople make sales happen. It is important for developing a system that will allow your sales representatives to sell more effectively and quickly. However, that's not as easy as it sounds.
An entire process takes place before a sales rep can talk to a customer. Ensuring best practices occur is vital to increase productivity and profits, and the very first thing you have to do to make that happen is set realistic goals.
1. Set Realistic Goals
There's no way to succeed in your mission if you don't know where you're going. Sure, sales ops are there to ensure salespeople have an easy time selling goods and services, but that's far from a defined goal.
What's the best way to define what sales ops need to do?
First, create a mission statement. Make sure it's short, simple, and easy to understand. That statement will work as a foundation for your team's goals.
Don't confuse your mission with your goals. A mission is like a mantra that helps you understand why you're doing what you're doing. Goals are objectives you can measure to see if you did well after the time's up.
2. Help Salespeople Focus on Sales
Sales Operations is there to help salespeople meet their goals. In other words, someone in sales ops knows they're doing a good job if those in sales are selling more, though that's far from the only metric to follow.
There are two ways to make that happen. You can maximize efficiency or reduce costs. Both of these things will increase the return on investment your company has. However, the important part is figuring out which one needs improvement. Most companies could use a boost in both areas.
3. Streamline the Sales Process
Automation is the name of the game for almost every business area, and sales operations are no exception. The right software will skyrocket productivity by freeing your reps from repetitive tasks.
Look at your time-sinking sticking points to figure out where you need to automate processes. In other words, figure out where workers waste a lot of time doing the same repetitive tasks.
For example: Artificial intelligence can help with lead generation, one of the vital parts of sales operations. Using AI can free time and increase productivity by streamlining the sales process.
When that happens, employees can focus on more important things and, at the same time, avoid burning out.
4. Set an Accountability System in Place
Let's say you implement every item in this list except this one. That means you'll have no accountability system, so you'll never know what works best for your team. It's difficult to get to the finish line if you're walking in the dark.
Having an accountability system in place may sound like a waste of time and, even worse, money. However, not knowing what your employees are doing (and when they fail) means your business is losing money. Even worse, you don't know why that's happening.
At the same time, you'll see morale plummet without this system. Workers won't bother going the extra mile because there's no difference in making an effort.
5. Pick Strong Leaders
Having an accountability system in place is difficult if workers don't know who's in charge. Confusion is commonplace when there's no authority to appeal to. More importantly, places like sales require strong leadership because it's a competitive, fast-paced environment.
That leader should come from someplace high on the corporate ladder. Having a direct line with the company's CEO or COO makes a world of difference regarding sales operations since it's a critical piece of the company's puzzle.
A Harvard Business Review study shows how critical leadership in sales is and how destructive and borderline-bankrupting poor sales leadership can be.
6. Integrate New Tools to Your Arsenal
We've briefly spoken about using AI to streamline the sales process, though that's not the only way you can use tools to improve the sales experience. You have other ways to improve workflow.
However, it's important not to rush the process or confuse using something new with an automatic productivity boost. You need to look for tools that are intuitive to use unless you want to see productivity plummet thanks to using confusing systems.
At the same time, overhauling is far from rewarding. Use or replace one tool, then another, and so on. Wait until you see an increase or decrease in productivity to continue changing workplace practices. (Related: Top 14 Sales Prospecting Tools: Prospecting Made Easy)
7. Always Leave Room for Improvement
Making a sale is straightforward. You get a lead, make a sale, and focus on customer service. That's it. However, how you follow each step can improve, and each improvement can boost your productivity.
Take streamlining the sales process, for example. AI-driven lead generation can create a 50% productivity boost, helping human workers have more free time to handle more important and less repetitive tasks.
Remember, sales ops are there to help salespeople work easier. The only way to make that happen is via constant improvement.
Sales ops reps must focus on setting realistic goals, streamlining the sales process, and seeking ways to improve to help salespeople. Having the right leadership, adopting the right tools, and implementing the right accountability system are the keys to ensure no opportunity is overlooked in sales.