Building Sales Ops in a Startup – How It Will Help You Scale

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If you’re looking to grow your startup rapidly, the single most powerful weapon you can have in your arsenal is sales ops. Think about it. One of the biggest hurdles to rapid scaling is the sales force. At some point, if you haven’t reached that point already, you’re going to need to hire a sales team to start improving upsell, renewal and cross-sell opportunities. As you scale up that sales department, you’ll need to recruit, train and make several new salespeople productive, and quickly.

 

Does your sales director or VP really have the time to handle all of this? Writing job descriptions? Screening candidates? Developing and implementing training programs? Coaching and monitoring new sales reps? The time it takes to bring a new salesperson up to speed can make or break a startup. That’s where the sales operations function becomes so critical. Here’s why.

 

VPs are leaders, not operators.

 

Having a strong leader at the helm is important. But when that leader is not so great at the minutia of things, progress will stall. Most VPs and sales executives are great at managing the big picture, but they rarely enjoy analyzing metrics, working out compensation plans and staring at spreadsheets all day. It’s those little details that are so important where the sales ops role comes into play.

 

Aligning sales and marketing is difficult in the trenches.

 

Your field staff shouldn’t be distracted by the latest in packaging or pricing, or bogged down trying to identify and explain which sales tools are lacking. Their time is far better spent following up on hot leads than chasing down the ones that got away to find out why. Yet, these things are of critical importance to your startup’s success. That’s why sales ops is so valuable. They handle all of the behind-the-scenes analyses to achieve continuous process improvement without disrupting the sales team’s progress.

 

Gathering insights from your CRM is essential, but cumbersome.

 

CRM tools like Salesforce are pivotal to rapid scaling, but somebody has to become an expert at them. Do you really want your sales reps wasting precious time in the office trying to run pipeline reports or produce eye-catching presentations to be shared with the executive team on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis? Of course not. You want them out there closing more deals and generating more revenue. This is another area where sales operations can help.

 

Technology adoption is critical but can be disruptive.

 

The purpose of adopting tools like marketing automation, analytics platforms, dialers and CRMs is to streamline the sales process and make it as efficient and productive as possible. But it takes time and strategy to identify, implement and deploy this technology – time that your sales reps and sales executives simply don’t have to spare. Sales ops ensures that the sales team is armed with everything they need to execute their jobs most effectively.

 

If you want to scale your company rapidly, the key is enabling your sales team to spend more time selling and less time worrying about things like operational management, cross-functional coordination and reporting. Likewise, you can’t move forward in a big way if your VPs and sales execs are bogged down with tasks like hiring, onboarding, training and coaching.

Sales operations can be the ultimate difference maker, enabling, supporting and enhancing the sales team’s overall productivity for rapid growth.