Ingredients for Successful Sales Ops
Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Sales is the lifeblood of any company, especially for B2B businesses who have to manage a direct sales force and long sales cycles. But what makes a company successful at sales? Assuming you have a product the market wants, I believe the three key ingredients to sell successfully are knowing your value proposition, optimizing your sales process and of course managing your sales team.
You need to know what customers want, what problems or opportunities they’re trying to address and more specifically the exact benefits they would get from buying your product or service. In most cases, you have multiple value props, depending on the market segment you’re targeting or the individual you’re selling.
The good news is that sales people are in the front line talking and listening to customers everyday. If they’re listening to the answers, they can figure out what messages and words resonate best with each customer segment. More than likely it will take several conversations and testing multiple messages, but eventually the sales team will arrive on the value props that work best with each audience. Ideally, they share these insights with marketing so marketing can be more effective in their lead generation campaigns. Together, sales and marketing can attract and convert more customers with consistent, relevant messages that resonate with the end-customers.
Everyone knows you need a clear and repeatable sales process for all sales people to follow. However, many times this process is not documented well or maintained. Not only do you need to figure out what steps work best for your company at each point in the customer journey, but the team needs to be trained on and managed against it. It should also identify what tools should be used to efficiently source new leads, qualify opportunities and manage the sales funnel. How to use the tools also needs to be documented and training provided. Where possible, templates should be included such as emails that are proven to convert.
This process should continue to be refined based on salespeople input and looking at your sales data. The market is always evolving from new competitors and changing customer needs, which means your sales process needs to evolve with it.
Finding the right sales people for your business is not an easy task. Sales people are in high demand and not every sales person is good at all sales roles. Some are better at giving a demo, while others are better at closing the deal. Hunters are usually a different sales personality than a farmer type sales person. An inside versus outside sales rep is also a different type of person. It usually also varies by industry, type of customers and required product knowledge. No matter what, the qualities of successful sales people include being authentic, personable and persistent.
Once you’ve determined the make-up of your sales team, setting targets and motivating them is the next challenge. If you want your sales team focused on winning new business, then provide them with more commissions upfront, rather than trailers that go on for years. You also need to have processes to proactively coach them, measure their performance and provide constant support.
Once you’ve figured out your sales or go-to-market strategy, these are the key areas that need to be operationalized for a successful sales organization. There are hundreds of details to sort out along the way, but making sure your value proposition is clear, the process is clearly documented and you have the right team will help ensure you’re setup for success.
About Bobbi Leach
I started selling as a little kid going door-to-door to get my neighbours to sponsor me for softball. As my career started after university, I found myself doing fundraising sales as I helped to secure corporate sponsors for various organizations. When I moved into the tech world in the late nineties, I was managing inside sales teams and helping companies scale their sales operations. In today’s climate, doing virtual selling well is a requirement for most tech companies and this is the type of sales I’ve managed for two decades.