Why Sales Ops Requires Excellent Communication

In 2016, we’ll be placing an extra focus on illustrating the ways that forward-thinking sales ops professionals kick ass at their job. For our first sales ops profile, we sat down with Morgan Leech, Business Operations Specialist for 1-Page.

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Leech started at 1-Page in January 2015. She was brought on with one goal: take charge of Salesforce and Hubspot to create a foundation for growth for 1-Page’s sales team. When she started, 1-Page’s CRM structure hadn’t yet been fully built out, leaving a lack of visibility into the information it held. She saw an opportunity to maximize the effectiveness of both the sales and marketing teams using data.

“I had managed both Marketo and Salesforce in my previous role, so I knew I could put automated systems in place to make a big impact,” Leech said. “Sales and marketing can get really good insight when you set CRM tools up right and the teams use them to their full potential.”

To start, Leech had to create a framework for how leads would be handled, and establish criteria for Marketing Qualified Leads.

“When an MQL was created, it was unclear what action should be taken to capitalize on it,” Leech said. “I worked with the marketing team to build a system in which messaging, content and action plans are created and presented to the sales team before each campaign kicks off. So as soon as a lead comes in, we can act quickly to respond.”

Making a change like this to the sales process can be difficult. Full adoption by both the sales and marketing team would be necessary for it to work.

“For minor tweaks or instructions, I can easily just send an email to the team. But for larger, more complex changes and introductions of new campaigns, I create a presentation to deliver the information,” Leech said. “You can’t just tell the team to make a change. You need to communicate why this idea is being implemented. They need to understand how it will help them, not just help you. If you want a sales team to change their activity, you have to sell them on it.”

And when third-party tools are involved, there’s usually someone better to sell it to the team than sales ops themselves.

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“I’ve found that tons of vendors have customer success teams that are underutilized. These are people whose whole job is to help you get more value out of the tools you’ve already paid for. Why not use them?”

As the person in charge of analyzing and purchasing new tools for the team, Leech found she was spending tons of time training reps on how to use tools she herself had only been demoed a couple times. And after the presentation, there would always be reps who came back to her with questions about topics she had covered in the training.

“Sales reps live in a world of constant urgency. If they get the sense they can prioritize prospect outreach over a training session because I am down the hall and available to help later, then they will,” Leech said. “But if I bring in the expert from the vendor, who will only be available for this specific chunk of time, and instill in the team the importance of getting every question answered while we have them, the reps are way more tuned in. They get a much better education, and I get thirty minutes or more of my day back.”

As the bridge between marketing and sales, Leech is full of useful insights like these from helping 1-Page manage its growth.

“Another place communication can make a big difference is with validation rules. Sales people typically don’t like validation rules, as it forces them to find information they may not have on hand. But they’re hugely helpful from a sales ops perspective.” Leech said. “So when I implement validation rules I make sure to explain them in terms of how the sales reps will benefit. For instance, collecting industry, location and employee count is extremely important for account management and keeping the team aligned.”

Ensuring that the right data is collected is just one part of Leech’s job. She also does extensive work to ensure it’s managed and presented to her team in the most accessible, effective way possible.

“One of the most impactful things I’ve been able to do is create personalized dashboards for each member of the team. When the dashboards reflected just team performance, sales reps could see how well things were going for the organization, but didn’t have a way to see in one place where they could improve their own performance,” Leech said. “So I sat down one-on-one with each rep and we figured out their personal metrics that spoke to their work, and we built a dashboard for each person. It’s helped everyone understand their own work and find ways for themselves to improve.”

Clearly, Leech’s ability to communicate with her team effectively has helped her succeed at 1-Page. As for tips she’d offer others looking to make a similar impact, she advised sales ops professionals to focus on using their time as effectively as possible.

“There’s always something that needs done when you’re in sales ops. Prioritizing your time makes the difference between doing just enough, and pushing your team to greater heights.”

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