Running a successful business is a heavy lift—there’s no doubt about that.
More often than not, the sales team of a small business is stretched thin, lacks appropriate marketing support, and doesn’t always have the resources they need to attract and nurture leads. All of this compounds, resulting in a team that’s struggling to meet their sales goals.
Enter: Sales Operations, a term you may have heard before that just might be the missing link for your sales department.
What is Sales Operations?
Sales Operations is the process of managing and executing the sales plan. This includes setting targets, analyzing data, designing processes, and managing resources. The goal of sales operations is to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the sales team in order to maximize productivity and drive revenue growth.
Typically in larger organizations there’s a dedicated team for Sales Operations. Below is a list of sample Sales Ops duties to give you an even clearer picture of what Sales Ops does.
- Recommends necessary training
- Sets forth the sales strategy
- Creates the territory assignments
- Researches, selects and implements software and tools to assist with sales
- Enters and manages leads in a CRM
- Implements compensation plans (including commissions, incentives, bonuses, etc.)
- Automates processes
- Reviews analytics and reporting
But how does Sales Ops work in a small business?
In every company, every department, there are bumps in the road. Sales Operations ensures you are always on track to achieve sustainable growth by reducing friction in your sales-related processes. In essence, Sales Operations ensures that your salespeople are more productive and successful. So Sales Operations can exist in any size organization.
Other reasons to include Sales Ops in your small business:
- Improve sales team performance
- Achieve goals faster
- Enhance sales process
- Free up senior leadership
- Close more deals
And while you may not be able to afford a whole team, or even a single person to run Sales Ops for your business, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the strategy.
Isn’t this Sales Enablement?
Sales Enablement is another term you may have heard, and we’ve written about it before. But no, Sales Enablement and Sales Ops are not the same. While both are meant to boost your sales strategy, refer to the chart below for a quick and easy way to tell them apart.
The processes and systems that support the sales team in achieving their goals:
The resources and tools they need to be successful:
How You Can Get Started With Sales Operations in 5 Steps:
1. Define your goals and objectives.
Start with a clear strategy. What does success look like for your sales team? Sales operations should support and enable the achievement of these goals.
Your team should know exactly what needs to be done at every stage of the sales cycle, from prospecting through closing the deal. Document these processes and train your team on them so everyone is on the same page.
3. Select the right tools and technology.
There are a lot of different CRM and lead management systems out there. We like working with HubSpot. Do some research and select the one that will work best for your company’s needs. Then, make sure your team is trained on how to use it effectively.
4. Establish Core Metrics.
Core metrics are the KPIs (key performance indicators) that you will use to measure the success of your sales operation.
Some examples of core metrics that you might want to consider tracking are:
- Win rate: The percentage of deals that are won by your sales team
- Average deal size: The average value of a deal that is won by your sales team
- Sales cycle length: The average length of time it takes for a deal to go from initial contact to close
- Conversion rate: The percentage of leads that are converted into opportunities
5. Automate where possible.
Sales operations can be a time-consuming process, so look for ways to automate repetitive tasks whenever possible. This will free up your team's time so they can focus on more strategic initiatives.
Small Business Best Practices for Better Sales Operations Outcomes
When you are looking at getting started with Sales Operations it can certainly be overwhelming. Here are key ingredients in the overall pie to focus on when getting started:
- Define your target market. Knowing who your ideal customer is will help you focus your marketing efforts and make the selling process easier.
- Create a strong value proposition. Why should your target market buy from you? What do you offer that’s unique and valuable? Answering these questions will help you create compelling sales materials.
- Invest in lead generation. Attracting high-quality leads is essential to boosting sales. There are a number of ways to generate leads, including online advertising, content marketing, and networking.
- Implement a solid sales process. Once you have leads, it’s important to have a system in place for converting them into customers. A well-defined sales process will help ensure that your team is following up with leads in a timely and effective manner.
As you can see, Sales Ops is much more than a buzzword—and putting more emphasis on your company’s Sales Ops can really improve your bottom line. While bringing on a full-size Sales Ops team may be a heavy lift, tackling components of it—or even outsourcing it to a trusted agency partner—can be very beneficial.
Peer has learned the ins and outs of Sales Ops and how to be more strategic in the era of enterprise, SaaS and B2Bs. Got a question for us or need a better handle on it within your organization? Shoot us an email or start by downloading our 90-day sales accelerator worksheet.