©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.
By, Michael Gerard
If you’ve had a chance to read any of my prior posts, then you know how strongly I believe in the next generation sales operations team taking on a role that covers 3 key areas: Strategy – Productivity – Automation; and breaking free from simply being the forecasting, SFA and compensation team. In fact, let’s not call it “sales operations” any longer, and use a new brand – the Sales Excellence team. I’ve covered the pathway to maturity for this team in prior blog posts as well as in IDC’s Next Generation Sales Operations study (contact me for a copy email@example.com ), so I’d like to focus here on the need to establish a vision for your team.
Too many sales excellence teams are juggling too many tactical activities for the limited amount of resources that they have at their disposal. The figure below provides details about the different areas that can draw attention from a sales excellence team’s time and resources.(note that Sales Enablement cuts across several areas, and requires collaboration with marketing)
And if this team is going to build credibility with their sales executives and drive impact in sales productivity across their organization, they must do 3 things: (with collaboration and/or input from your executive team and internal customers)
1. Develop a succinct visi on/goal for the sales excellence team. Examples include:
- Give time back to sales reps in order to spend more time with their customers/prospects.
- Increase sales productivity
- Enable the sales team (executives, managers and reps) to be more effective and efficient. . . Meet/Exceed Quota!
2. Establish an accompanying list of:
- Objectives (which tie into sales’ annual and quarterly plan(s) – go here for examples)
- Metrics to track success at meeting those objectives (quantitative and qualitative)
- Targets for the specific metrics
- Roles and responsibilities for the sales excellence team, including clear bounds as to what the team should and should not be working on. (e.g., try a RACI process – who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed for each process area or project)
3. Communicate the vision, objectives and related bounds throughout the organization. And there’s no doubt that sales reps and others will test these bounds over time, increasing the risk of you not reaching your objectives and the ultimate vision of the team due to a lack of focus. Therefore, be strict about these bounds.
Without the above structure in place, you are simply “flying blind” in managing your team’s time and resources. And you’ll be simply going about “business as usual”, and will learn the extent of your (and your team’s) success based upon if you have a job at the end of the year or not.