In crew, coxswains don’t row the boat, but they use their intelligence to help the boat run more efficiently. They steer the boat straight, keep everyone on rhythm, and correct any technical errors.
Much like the coxswain, a sales operations manager might not sell themselves. Rather, they enable the sales department to do their best work. They provide value by engineering optimal conditions for the team to do their job, and focus their team’s time on the highest-yield prospects.
At the heart of it, sales operations is about problem-solving. They find solutions to help sales reach their full potential, often bridging departments like marketing, finance, and sales.
Given the complexity of the issue at hand, is it possible to find the right fit for the sales ops manager? Yes, if you consider the following requirements.
Can they define and implement a strong, scalable sales framework?
Your sales reps are all good at communication and presenting to prospects. A sales framework can help them focus their talents. Taking the guesswork out of what to do and say, and defining best practices is the bread-and-butter of a sales operations manager’s work.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when planning your sales framework. In the context of your own business needs:
- What are logical sales milestones and steps to take at each point to drive the sale forward?
- How can we standardize the sales process? For example, utilizing scripts, simplifying transaction process.
- What does a sensible compensation plan look like?
- Do you plan on growing? A sales ops manager should have a plan for assessing the success of sales as your organization grows.
Ask your candidate to walk through his/her thought processes on these points.
Can they improve your salespeople’s efficiency?
Sales ops managers should maximize time salespeople have to sell. In addition, they should help your team focus on the highest-yield opportunities. An ideal candidate knows how to put historical sales data to use in future decisions.
Use sales forecasting analysis to find the sweet spot of company size, firmographic, opportunity value, and age of opportunity.
For example, if your average sales cycle lasts 45 days, and your salespeople are pursuing deals for 60+ days, perhaps their time should be spent elsewhere. Likewise, pursuing a low-value $5k deal is a missed opportunity when you could be spending that time nurturing a $50k deal. In addition, perhaps the companies with the best close rate for you have had 50-100 employees, so you have decided to stop pursuing the 500+ demographic.
Intuitively this is common sense, but understanding is only half the battle. A great sales ops organization will codify and disseminate best practice through the organization through sales training or smart incentivization.
Can they own integration of tools?
There are many sales ops tools in the repertoire that can make your life a lot easier, and the right candidate knows how to automate tasks in order to avoid manual tasks. But double entry of data or incomplete records are difficulties that come along with purchasing different pieces of technology. The smart sales ops will budget time and money to integrate these tools.
By talking about integration, we come to the classic topic of buy vs build. For a simple connection, a custom solution will work. But when dealing with more than two applications, or a high volume of data, purchasing a turnkey solution is often the way to go. Don’t underestimate how long it will take to build a custom connection between apps. In addition, problems of reliability arise at scale with app integrations.
Hiring the right sales ops manager pays dividends down the road. By implementing a strong, scalable framework, sales ops assures consistent performance. A good sales ops manager will also provide frameworks to maximize sales opportunities and eliminate effort on low-yield prospects.
Lastly, integration of tools is the glue that brings everything together, ensuring a consistent source of truth for customer data across all departments.
Azuqua is an integration solution that enables multiple sales, finance, and marketing apps to work in conjunction. This leads to benefits like engaging your leads the second they submit a form. For example, their free Salesforce-Slack widget lets you automate a Slack message whenever a lead is assigned to you in Salesforce. Add in a connection to Marketo to reap even more benefits – Azuqua will automatically put them into smart list to receive an email nurture campaign for new leads.
Follow up on leads instantly with a free Salesforce-Slack widget.
Enable your salespeople to respond to new leads instantly. Interested in learning more about integration of your tools? Here is a free widget that connects Salesforce and Slack, letting your salespeople know instantly when a new lead is assigned to them. Enable your salespeople to respond to new leads right away.