Sales Operations has come a long way. Xerox first established a sales ops department in the 1970s. Since then sales ops has become a department that does more than just number crunching.
Perhaps Michael Gerard, formerly VP of IDC’s Sales Advisory Practice, said it best: “Sales ops started as a team whose role was to put out fires wherever they erupted. In time, it’s become more strategic and proactive, with sales ops looking for ways to avoid problems before they arise.”
At most successful companies I have seen sales and marketing technologies are the backbone of any sales ops team. On a daily basis, these unsung heroes of the sales department juggle with many tools, applications and dashboards to provide revenue intelligence to the leadership and territory, quota and account information to the field reps. They are often constructing performance reports and analyzing sales activities to drive efficient sales management and marketing insights.
The Old Model
Traditionally, business processes like sales quotas and compensation management, sales force sizing and territory management have been manual even in large companies. Here is the territory, and these are our physicians. You are going to do this many activities and we are going to count them. In addition, here is a list of things that will drive the outcomes and therefore you are going to do them. Even the highest paid person.
In the era of technology, sales ops professionals would assume administrative and operational tasks to allow hard-core sellers to focus and get better on what they do best: selling. However, this model still failed to utilize the actual prowess of sales ops analysts as they continue to struggle with the optimization of sales tools, knowledge base and assets, CRM adoption, selection of key sales metrics to adopt.
Even then, there could be various reasons for a declining topline: sales have been flat, the market is bearish, competition has launched a better or cheaper product, there is regulatory pressure, or simply finance wants to cut costs by reducing the sales headcount.
Besides, the complexity of enterprise tech landscape is infamously popular for distracting sellers and hence, the right sales ops team would be one that can provide a central nervous system to the sales organization enabling reps to close more deals and empowering executives with visibility into sales performance.
No matter how sticky the situation, you can use it as an opportunity if you have the power. The power to sway the CFO and the power to keep your sales team and sales from dwindling.
In spite of being in ”sales”, your salespeople and sales ops people often speak a different language. Sales Ops feels their method and process is the most suited to increase revenue. After all, they’re managing CRM data, evaluating and implementing sales tools, helping sales leaders with dashboards and reports and working with marketing to provide salespeople with useful content.
The Sales team often feels that the sales ops’ is disconnected from their needs. They can’t find the desired information in the CRM when it is needed on the field, there are too many systems in the sales org. hard to learn and navigate, sales leaders can’t get through clunky dashboards and reports, and marketing content and campaigns data is all over the place.
How do you resolve the strife between sales and sales ops?
Bridging the gap between sales ops and sales reps comes down to communication, managing expectations and getting the data right!
The New Model
Modern sales ops teams are gaining the much-deserved spotlight and have earned their chair at the table because their sales teams harness the power of big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to improve performance and future proof profitability by using conversational AI technologies such as, whiz.ai.
In this current era of conversational AI,
Sales reps perform data guided call planning. They do some outcomes based understanding. Which physicians should we be meeting? What activities will drive real value? What material should we be using? Will the data tell us that you’ve hit the max outcomes in this hospital and there’s no need to go for any additional calls there?
Sales ops too is moving away from dashboards and reports. Proactively, they’re able to listen to the questions asked to whiz.ai and prepare the data to address their queries. They understand better what salespeople need based on real-time insights into their requirements, at different stages in the sales process.
Executives are happy as they don’t need to login to clunky applications to analyze heaps of reports. They just ask whiz.ai and get contextual insights delivered to them on both desktop and mobile via a simple voice and chat interface.
The power of conversational intelligence platforms like whiz.ai lies in linking people, activities, and engagement across the sales processes. It is thoughtfully designed to handle the crucial V’s of big data, that is, it sees through volumes of variety of data (structured, unstructured, complex, and ambiguous) to deliver valuable insights at high velocity to business users.
At a personal level, we interact with AI in so many different ways. If you just sit and recount your interactions with technology on a given day, you’ll realize how AI could be powering everything from your toothbrush to your television. Naturally, you feel stalked with AI everywhere. It is pervasive at times!
However, inside the four walls of our companies the story could be different: a pervasive concierge might be truly appreciated!
Do you agree?