Sales reps get a lot of credit for the hard work that they do, and for good reason. After all, they’re the ones officially closing deals and generating much-needed revenue. But it’s the folks behind the scenes – the sales operations team – that are truly the unsung heroes of sales.
These individuals work tirelessly to ensure that everything runs like a well-oiled machine. And when things are going well, it’s because sales ops either planned flawlessly or fixed a problem before anyone even realized it existed.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the critical things that sales ops does behind the curtains to help power the sales team.
They handle the heavy lifting.
The more time your sales reps spend on activities that aren’t directly related to selling, the less profitable they become. Yet, this remains one of the biggest hurdles sales teams face. In fact, one study by Salesforce revealed that sales reps spend 30% of their day just looking for or creating content. A good sales ops team recognizes that in order for reps to sell more, they need to optimize their time, and doing so means taking many of the non-sales related tasks off their plates.
They’re comfortable with data analysis.
Most sales reps got into sales because they love dealing with people, not spreadsheets or graphs. But data is one of the single most important tools for closing more deals. In fact, companies with effective pipeline management experience 15% higher revenue growth. Sales operations can handle this task, utilizing data to prioritize leads, estimate deal profitability, identify customer habits, etc. and then turn that data into actionable insights to help sales reps make stronger, more effective sales pitches.
They facilitate growth from every angle.
A lot of sales leaders focus mostly on generating new business, which makes sense to a point. After all, more customers equal more revenue. But sales operations leaders view things from a different angle. Not only do they value new customers, but they also encourage sales reps to sell to existing customers as well, thereby increasing per-customer value. Sales ops also work with internal analysts to determine how reps can boost sales across the board, such as through cross-selling, upselling and price increases.
They optimize sales incentives.
Many sales leaders base incentives solely on volume, but while this may seem logical on the surface, it’s not really a practical idea in the long run because it often tempts sales reps to make unprofitable deals just to sell more. Sales operations managers work alongside sales leaders to establish more profitable incentive strategies based on a variety of factors, such as rewards for selling on a target price. Incentives based on the preferences and motivations of each individual rep also tend to be more effective. For instance, some reps may want bonuses while others may prefer more time off.
They provide support and feedback.
Sales operations managers play a unique role in that they are often the first to notice when a sales rep is struggling. Conversely, they are often most keen in identifying strengths and opportunities for professional growth. As such, they are able to provide support and feedback that leads to continuous improvement. With greater support comes greater success, which is better for the sales team as well as the organization as a whole.
They keep a close eye on the competition.
While the sales team is busy going after leads and closing deals, somebody has to keep an eye on what the competition is up to. This task often falls on the sales operations team. They perform regular competitive analysis to identify what’s working for others, what opportunities exist and which direction the sales team should go in next. A stellar sales ops manager always knows how they stack up against others in the industry and leverage that information to effectively drive more sales.
In order for sales reps to be successful, they need sales ops to arm them with the tools, information, support and guidance they need to do their jobs more effectively. These are the unsung heroes and the key to bringing sales to the next level.
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