If you work in sales operations, you know there’s a big difference between being able to create a basic sales report and having true mastery over your craft. It takes years to be able to call yourself a true sales operations blackbelt, due to the sheer complexity of building, managing and optimizing a full-fledged sales teams. To be the hub of the team, you’ll need to excel at peering through the fog of data as well as manage people with tact. You have many jobs and each one is equally important. Follow the steps below to earn your sales operations blackbelt:
The true sales cycle length is one of the most important metrics in a sales organization. Sales operations professionals pore over sales cycle statistics, looking for the points in which deals slow down or speed through, hoping to find ways to shorten the cycle. The shorter a company’s sales cycle, the faster they earn money. By applying insights gleaned from examination of the sales cycle to various elements of their sales process, a company can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales team. There are a few ways to look at the sales cycle, each with its own pros and cons:
Analysis of sales cycle length is one of the most valuable sources of insight for sales operations. Drilling into how long it takes deals to move through the pipeline, from a lead entering CRM to a signature on the dotted line, can reveal ways to improve a team’s performance as well as ways to increase efficiency internally. But figuring out how to analyze sales cycle length and where to apply the insight within an organization can be difficult. Here are five places you can start:
MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson estimates that today, 90 percent of business activity, from communications to marketing to manufacturing, is either created or tracked digitally. He compares this to his estimate that in the 1990s, only about 20 percent of what corporations did could be measured by a digital footprint. This monumental shift is the primary enabler of the “Big Data” trend that has become one of the most hyped concepts in business in recent years.
Congratulations! You’ve just taken a job in sales operations. It’s now your job to turn your sales organization into an airtight machine that uses its employees’ time efficiently and manages its data effectively. This is easier said than done, however. Let’s start with what you can expect.
The modern tech boom has produced an enormous amount of change to enterprise business models. Every aspect of the enterprise has been examined and targeted for disruption by start-ups and established titans alike. Some departments like IT, advertising and marketing have been experiencing upheaval for years. But sales organizations have remained mostly unchanged until very recently. For any company that relies on teams of salespeople to drive revenue, there are a number of tectonic shifts occurring that stand to turn the practice on its head.
According to research published by CSO Insights, less than half of all forecasted sales opportunities actually result in a sales win. Poor forecast accuracy metrics are a nightmare for most companies, as sales forecasts are one of the primary ways to predict revenue. The root of the sales forecasting problem is not lack of data – most sales teams employ some form of analytics to build their forecasts. The problem is bad data.
Sales teams create some of the most valuable data of any department in a business, because theirs is the data that shows exactly when and how revenue is generated. When examined thoroughly and through multiple lenses, this data can often point to ways that an entire company can be improved. There are four key sales metrics to capture, analyze and compare in order to optimize a business:
Aaron Ross created an industry when he wrote his book called Predictable Revenue. In it, he advocated the use of specialized prospecting, or Sales Development, teams as a device to provide a predictable growth curve for a company. Most companies nowadays are adopting these teams not as a means to achieve predictable revenue, but as a pre-requisite to achieving any revenue.
I’m proud to welcome Don Otvos as our VP of Inside Sales and Sales Operations at Datahug. Don has over 20 years’ experience in high-tech sales leadership at companies like Yammer and App Annie. It is a huge moment for us as Don is one of the best known and well respected Sales Operations professionals in Silicon Valley.