Sales operations (sales ops) plays a key role in creating a system for your sales reps to sell better and faster while working efficiently.
In this article, we’ll walk you through 7 sales operations best practices that can help speed up your sales process and drive revenue growth.
1. Form the Professional Sales Operations Team
According to Gartner, the most effective sales operations teams “serve as ‘chiefs of staff,’ coordinating everything from sales strategy to execution — both within the sales function and among stakeholders outside of sales.” That’s why building a skilled sales operations team from the ground up is critical for your success.
Follow these tips:
- Hire driven and talented salespeople with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Some roles you should hire include sales operations analyst, sales operations manager, and technical operations advisor.
- Ensure your team’s skill sets cover strategy, operations, process, performance, and especially data. Gartner’s survey found that data and analytics skills “will be much more important for sales operations staff in the coming years than they are today.”
- Provide clarity on what you want them to achieve, what areas they need to handle, and how their performance will be evaluated. Better clarity leads to better focus and better results.
2. Set the Long-Term Sales Operations Strategy and Goals
Salespeople often think in the short term, and their goals are very straightforward — making more calls, scheduling more appointments, sending more proposals, and closing more deals. But as sales need to work in sync with marketing and other teams who work towards long-term goals, salespeople also need to have their long-term plans.
According to Gartner, today, 57% of sales operations functions support marketing departments, 38% support product, and 35% support finance. This means sales operations needs to align their strategy and goals with other teams’ to synthesize data from all functions and draw insights that managerial stakeholders can use to make high-stake decisions.
3. Determine Relevant Sales Operations KPIs
Establishing a set of relevant KPIs is critical for your sales operations team to evaluate past performance, track current sales activities, and make accurate forecasts.
When doing this, you may want to consider metrics like salesforce quota achievement rate, average win rate, average sales cycle length, average deal size, time spent selling, lead response time, pipeline efficiency, and forecast accuracy.
4. Expand the Sales Operations Function
Historically, sales operations is responsible for developing tactics and guidance. But due to technological advances and changes in B2B customers’ behaviors, sales operations has expanded its role to include more complex tasks, especially regarding developing data-driven strategies and supporting decision-making.
In a thought leadership article, Bain & Company also emphasized that a sales operations team’s responsibilities now go beyond groundwork. They’re “control tower, engine room, and nerve center combined,” handling crucial tasks like developing a go-to-market plan and generating actionable insights through data analytics. Keep this in mind to get the most out of your sales operations team.
5. Choose Your Sales Operations Tech Stack
Equipping your sales operations team with the right tech stack can give them a boost in their performance. For example, with AI-powered software, they can get a full view into processes and pipelines, quickly identify significant events through real-time signals, and stay alert on trends that affect forecasts.
Generally, your sales operations team should have access to the following functionalities, at a minimum:
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Communication and conferencing tools
- Email automation
6. Make Sure Your Data Is Accurate and Up-To-Date
Sales operations will increasingly rely on data more than ever and “must improve its capabilities to collect and analyze data to provide on-demand insights to reps and sales leaders,” according to Forrester. Hence, you should keep your data accurate, updated, and consistent across channels.
The best practice to do that is to adopt an AI-powered sales platform that centralizes your data across salesforces in a dashboard, making it easier for your team to access the data and preventing data silos.
7. Invest in Sales Operations Software
Sales operations software like Revenue Grid can help streamline your sales data management and provide a detailed picture of your sales process. It includes powerful tools that can help you turn current data into clear guidance for your sales reps to capture more opportunities and close more deals.
Your sales operations team can use Revenue Grid to:
- Visually document sales processes and pipelines to optimize sale cycles, identify obstacles, and reduce bottlenecks.
- Get real-time insights to identify revenue-generating patterns.
- Deliver insights and next steps to the right reps.
- Coach reps with data-driven practices to close deals faster.
Request a demo of Revenue Grid today to discover how it can help you get started with sales operations in the right direction.