5 sales ops best practices to drive performance
The sales ops function continues to mature and play an increasingly integral role in a company’s sales success. Our 2nd Annual Sales Operations & Technology Study found that roughly two-thirds of sales organizations have a dedicated sales operations team. And nearly 10% of companies that participated in the study indicated that they planned to add formal sales operations in the next year.
But, as sales organizations continue to invest in the sales operations function, they need to start asking how they can optimize their sales ops team.
With the following 5 sales operations best practices, you can ensure that your sales operations team achieves peak performance year after year.
Two-thirds of sales organizations told us that their sales ops team takes a forward-thinking approach to goal setting. In some cases, this means defining priorities with leadership. In others, they formally commit to a business plan using metrics.
Whatever approach they use, proactively setting goals works. The study showed that sales organizations that took a reactive approach often struggled to perform well. They had win rates that were 7% lower and quota attainment that was 14% lower than those who used a proactive approach.
Sales operations’ scope of involvement within the business is massive, and it seems to expand every day. Our recent study identified 21 activities across four categories that sales operations typically owns or extensively involves itself in:
On average, sales operations teams owned or played a heavy hand in managing 11 or more of those 21 practices. The highest performing sales organizations in the study reported that their sales ops team took the lead in more than 14 activities. They also played a larger role in strategic activities, such as sales insights and analysis or data strategy, compared to the average sales organization.
Sales ops’ breadth shows no signs of slowing down. The most successful sales ops teams embrace that approach, investing in owning or playing a significant role in more of these activities than their peers at the average organization.
Most sales ops teams focus on traditional sales operations best practices like metrics, forecasting, reporting, sales process, and data management. However, those teams that invested specifically in sales support activities saw stronger results.
Sales support activities include sales enablement (which continues to fall under operations in several sales organizations), proposal support, pricing, lead generation, and prospecting. Strikingly, the highest performers in this study invested in this area of sales operations activities, covering nearly 75% of the practices that fall under it. The average for the full study was just over 50%.
Managing the sales technology stack increasingly falls under the rubric of sales operations. The average organization uses 10 tools and plans to add more than 4 in the next 12 months.
CRM systems come the closest to being universally adopted among sales organizations, with 94% of study respondents indicating they used one. Yet a sales technology stack that integrates tightly with the CRM remains elusive.
Less than 30% of study respondents said their sales tech stack integrated well with their applications and their CRM. A similar percentage indicated that their tech stack aligned well with a seller’s workflow.
The lack of alignment represents a missed opportunity for sales ops. Integration plays a major role in improved sales performance. Sales organizations that indicated they had a more integrated sales technology stack saw 9% higher win rates and 8% higher quota attainment.
In general, moving toward formal and dynamic sales processes results in higher performance. This is also true when it comes to sales operations, and particularly with sales forecasting.
In 2014, fewer than half of sales organizations used formal or dynamic sales processes. By 2019, that number had risen to nearly two-thirds. By evolving from formal processes to dynamic processes, sales organizations can move faster, employing agility and analytics to continually keep up with buyers’ processes and expectations.
This is also true for sales forecast accuracy. A dynamic forecasting process uses predictive data, historical data, and information from both sellers and sales managers to pull together forecast results.
That approach literally pays off. Organizations that use formal and dynamic forecasting within sales operations reported win rates that were more than 8% higher than those that took an informal or ad hoc approach. Just 21% of sales organizations in this study made that investment.
Sales operations continues to grow. With that investment comes opportunity.
By following the five sales operations best practices that we have outlined here, you can align your sales operations team to drive stronger performance and support your sellers. You’ll also have a tightly aligned sales technology stack, a strategic sales operations model, and, best of all, better quota attainment and win rates.
You can also create a roadmap for aligning your sales operations team to improve overall sales performance by using a tool that helps you understand your current performance and shows how you can evolve your sales processes. For that, you need our Sales Performance Meter.
This helpful diagnostic tool evaluates your organization’s sales practices. The Sales Performance Meter will give you insights into how to improve your strategies, strengthen your sales operations model and build a sales technology stack that yields deal success.
In short, the results from our Sales Performance Meter will show you how to move your sales ops team forward. Start your journey toward peak sales operations performance and contact us today.