The panel was moderated by Arik Pelkey (Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Datafox). Sales Ops leaders such as Courtney Hays (Sr. Sales Ops Manager, Marketo), Tobias Muellner (Head of Sales Operations, Anaplan), Stephanie Max (Co-founder, AlwaysHired), and Taft Love (Manager of Sales Development and Sales Operations, PandaDoc) discussed the role of Sales Ops and the skills you need for optimizing sales teams’ effectiveness.
Designing a sales compensation plan requires a little bit of art and a little bit of science. I’ve seen sales compensation plans that were too complex for any salesperson to understand. And I’ve seen others that incentivized the wrong behavior. Regardless of whether you work in a startup or a large enterprise, here are some guiding principles for building compensation plans for Sales Development teams and Sales teams.
As a Sales Ops leader and Sales Optimizer, I’m a big believer in the modern consensus that sales performance should be data driven. By studying patterns in behavior of our reps and benchmarking them against success, we have the power to build the most highly optimized sales teams to hit the industry thus far. We can all achieve quota and we can build a repeatable sales process that enables our companies to scale. This approach has been popularized by modern inside sales experts, who champion the process of coaching with metrics as the best way to build a high-performance team.
One of the most exciting developments shaking up sales teams is the realization among sales leadership that Sales Operations can be so much more than a custodial, reporting role. We call it Sales Optimization.
I have been in sales for 22 years, and Sales Operations for 7. The practice has changed dramatically in that span, especially in the very recent past. For a long time, the main responsibility of Sales Operations was administration. They oversaw the systems that kept all the elements of the sales team plugged in together. They reported on the sales pipeline. They pulled the strings behind the scenes so that the organization stayed up and running.
Sales ops is a critical, often overlooked role in most companies. The Sales Ops Manager is responsible for maintaining the work environment of the sales team and ensuring that the organization can sell as effectively as possible. They’re also in charge of reporting on the past, present and future work of the sales team, making them one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the organization. CEOs looking to improve the performance of their companies could benefit greatly from a conversation with their Sales Ops Manager.
Calculating Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) and applying it to strategic business decisions can get ridiculously complicated when a sales organization is juggling hundreds of customers and thousands of prospects. Proper discipline and awareness of the following pitfalls can make a sales operations manager the beacon of reason in the otherwise messy process of calculating subscription revenue.
The first half of 2015 is complete, posing a challenge and an opportunity. For those of us in sales, this is a key time to evaluate our work and make adjustments that can take our operations to the next level. As businesses prepare for the second half of the year, here are four focus areas to set your sales organization up for a stellar H2.
As a CEO, I feel pressured every board meeting to deliver an accurate sales forecast. I often find myself transferring this pressure for forecast precision to my VPs. They in turn place the same pressure on their sales managers. Almost all sales organizations suffer from this downward motion. By the time this momentum of priority gets all the way down the chain to the sales reps, they get pulled off their accounts and into deal review meetings for entire days to interrogate close dates and guess pipeline stages.
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: