It was a great read for any leader looking to balance high-level execute initiatives with the day-to-day nuance of an administrative, operational role. If you’ve not already, you can read the full article here.
In summary, the article gives a thoughtful look at the role of the sales operations manager and even includes an actual job description. Someone applying for a sales ops role would have to, literally, “contribute to the 1- and 3-year business vision,” and “oversee sales performance analyses and reporting, territory alignment, customer profiling, targeting activities, and provide data, analyses, modeling, and reporting to support sales force quarterly business reviews.”
Wow! That’s certainly at the intersection of strategic and tactical, and it’s a challenge that the sales leaders I work with every day are trying to overcome. In truth, almost all sales leadership roles are demanding this dichotomy of personality. The article offers up a few suggestions for sales ops to implement like outsourcing and new technologies, but one aspect critical aspect was missing – providing a systematic way to help reps make better decisions.
Why Decision Guidance is Critical
The true difficulty in the sales ops role is effectively helping sales reps profitably grow their accounts. How well sales reps can do so hinges on where they decide to spend their time.
A typical B2B sales organization includes hundreds of sales reps that sell to tens of thousands of customers that buy from a catalog of hundreds of thousands of products. Adding to that complexity are competitive dynamics, new products, new markets and corporate pressures. It’s impossible for each sales rep to know, across the entire customer base, the opportunities most likely to result in a win each and every time.
In this complex environment, sales reps commonly fall back on Pareto’s Principle and spend 80 percent of their time on the top 20 percent of accounts. They just don’t have the bandwidth to identify when smaller customers are beginning the slippery slope to defection by dropping purchase volume in one product category. Or, when one customer is ripe for cross-sell opportunities in a new product category, based on customers who have similar purchase patterns. [Read more…]