How To Scale Sales With Sales Operations
For high-growth companies, hiring more salespeople is not enough to achieve your ambitious goals. You need to create a reliable sales machine that you can measure and improve. Sales operations can help you achieve it.
Why Hiring New Sales Reps is Not Enough
Especially after closing a round of funding, it is expected that you bring on new people. With increased growth ambitions, it only makes sense that a good number of these hires are made in the sales team.
The problem most companies face though, is that the majority of their revenue is closed by just a few superstars on the sales team. This can work initially, but you will soon find out that this model doesn’t scale when you add more people.
If your sales results stayed almost the same, even after bringing on new people, or if the common response when targets are not met is to fire people, then you are already hitting the limits of this approach.
Creating A Model That Can Scale
To create a sales model that continues to scale as your company grows, you’ll need to approach your sales funnel in the same way you’d run a marketing funnel. That means measuring each step of the process and systematically improving conversion rates.
By dividing the process into smaller steps, you get a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your sales process. You can make data-driven decisions on which parts of the sales process you want to invest in.
Last but not least, it allows you to increase results in a much more targeted way. Let’s say you have a 7-step sales process. Increase the conversion for each step by 10%, and you’ve actually doubled your sales. This is your sales machine.
The SaaS Sales Method is a great book on this approach. It provides a good framework to grow your sales in a scientific way. Measurement of this framework comes from good sales operations.
Build Your Sales Machine with Sales Operations
To utilize data at every step of your sales process, you will need to make sure that all your sales tools are connected and you are able to measure your sales process reliably. This is where Sales Operations comes into play.
The fundamentals of good sales operations consist of:
- a sales technology stack that enables the sales team to perform,
- reliable measurements on each step of the process, and
- a consolidated dataset across the sales stack for end-to-end reporting
Many high-growth companies fail to get this in place, making it impossible to consistently find the next best place to increase results.
For example, if you rely on your sales reps to enter key data to the sales process manually into the CRM, or if every improvement to the sales process is countered by resistance from your sales reps, you are probably one of them.
Creating a Measurable Sales Process
Although Sales Operations is mostly known as a role, you don’t necessarily need to hire someone straightaway to get started. You can easily take the first steps yourself.
How? Start by looking at your sales process and making sure the definition of each of the stages is objectively measurable. A definition like “discussing terms” is more ambiguous than for example “proposal sent”. Be specific.
Then look at your sales stack and assess if all defined steps are being tracked – ideally automatically. You might want to adapt your definitions based on the tools you are using, to make sure measurements are accurate.
Consolidating Your Sales Stack
When all data is being tracked correctly, the next step is to create one dataset with all data points in it. This sounds simple, but it’s where most companies struggle. Sales teams use many tools and the data you need is spread out over these tools.
This can’t be solved by having each tool send data to the CRM. The objective is to have an interrelated dataset that you can analyze. CRMs usually don’t live up to this requirement.
For example, dependent on your process definition, you might need to relate website visits with email content and documents you sent out for signing. FunnelFox can do this in a few clicks, eliminating the need to hire CRM consultants to build something for you.
Reporting the Results
Once the dataset is reliable, you can start using it to improve results. Traditionally, people expect to run these kinds of reports in the CRM, although we’re seeing more companies move away from this in recent years.
While it’s still good to have this data in the CRM, real in-depth analysis is better done in specialized analytics or business intelligence tools.
When consolidating the data and sales stack, you’ll want to consider which tools you’d like your pipeline data sent to so all reports always run off the same dataset.
Systematically Improve Results
With your reports in place, you are ready to make data-driven decisions about your sales process. Find drop-off points in your process, implement improvements and watch revenue soar.
Effective sales operations allows you to find marginal gains that, compounded, push your revenue to new levels. It’s the only way to consistently achieve your growth goals, year after year.
Want to learn how you can scale your sales with sales operations?