sales operations needsWhen Sean Chisholm graduated from law school in 2009, he never imagined that he’d end up as the VP of Operations & Strategy for a high-growth Saas company in San Diego.

A little more than five years later, he’s using that same analytical rigor that’s required in the legal profession to optimize the sales and marketing funnels at Classy, a high-growth Saas company that provides an online giving platform for the nonprofit sector.  

Sean was nice enough to help us understand the number one thing that sales leaders can do to help sales operations: Reinforce the value of operations initiatives to sales reps.

Why Sales Operations Desperately Needs Rep Buy-In

When we asked what keeps sales ops leaders up at night, Sean brought up these two major paint points:

  1. Data Entry:

    It can be a bit like herding cats at times getting the right information captured consistently across a decent size sales force. If your information is off, then everything downstream becomes pretty meaningless…so it’s basic, but fundamental.”

Because sales ops is, by nature, highly analytical, it requires data. Good data. Clean, accurate data.

So when sales reps don’t record sales metrics or enter clean data into the CRM system, your organization is essentially running blind. Sales ops managers are self-starters with problem-solving mindsets. But they can’t fix the problems with your sales process if there’s no data to tell them what’s going on.

  1. Wasted Pipeline:

    “When you realize that pipeline is a finite resource and costs hard dollars in terms of marketing spend and/or SDR salary, you don’t want to miss anything you are capable of doing.”

The Ideal State

The relationship between sales ops and sales reps should be symbiotic. Your reps enter clean data, track activity metrics and engage in detailed pipeline management. In turn, your sales ops manager analyzes the data, identifies pain points in the sales funnel and constructs solutions.

Sales ops wants to remove inefficiencies from the process, which can help reps sell more. So, sales ops and sales reps should work together to create a sales stack with both high adoption and ROI.

2 Ways to Create Sales Rep Buy-In for Operations

Since sales ops needs buy-in from sales reps to do their jobs most effectively, here are two ways sales leaders can help.

  1. Reinforce value.

Sean thinks that the biggest way sales leaders can help sales ops is by consistently communicating the value of the projects and practices to their reps. Oftentimes, reps might be resistant to the idea of spending time entering clean data or recording sales KPIs. At first glance, these seem like administrative tasks that take away from selling time.

“If the reps understand that these things will help them manage their individual book of business more efficiently and win more / earn more over time, they will look at them differently,” Sean said.

Communicate the value of participating in sales ops initiatives on almost a daily basis. Explain that clean data helps the entire organization not only manage pipeline but understanding what’s happening in each sale. Show them that recording activity metrics helps reps understand where they pace against their goals. Make sure they comprehend how this data will not only help them sell better, but help sales ops find other ways to make the sales process more efficient.

  1. Drive adoption.

Sales technology adoption is still a big issue for sales teams. As a sales leader, you can help sales ops, by fostering a sales culture that’s excited to adopt new strategies and technology.

“There will always be some carrot and some stick when it comes to getting reps to follow best practices or make changes to their default mode of doing business, but consistent reinforcement of the importance/value of these practices by sales management can go a long way,” Sean said.  

In addition to communicating the value, consider driving excitement around sales ops initiatives with recognition, incentives and contests.

For example, if one (or more) of your reps consistently records and exceeds their activity metrics, give them a shout-out in a company email or team meeting. To clean up your data, you could run a contest where reps score a point for every data item they clean. The rep with the most points wins a small prize. Or, you could give an inexpensive incentive to every team member that jumps on board with a new technology implementation from your sales ops team.  

The most important thing to remember is that your organization runs most efficiently when sales ops and sales reps work together. Use Sean’s advice to get the most out of your sales ops initiatives.

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The No.1 Thing Sales Operations Needs For Success
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The No.1 Thing Sales Operations Needs For Success
Description
We asked a VP of Sales Operations what keeps him up at night, and what today's modern sales leaders can do to help.
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Level Eleven
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