Sales operations have taken on a more robust form in recent years. With the arrival of inbound leads to complement your outbound work, and the larger connectivity of the world, sales operations have never been more complex.
Their management is the key to success and helping you avoid falling into pits such as overspending or overcomplicating your processes.
Let’s learn how to use process management to help optimise your business’ sales operations.
Clear Workflow & Passing Over of Tasks
Your lead or prospect will start at the very top of the funnel, and it is the responsibility of different sales team members to move them along the funnel to become paying customers.
Sometimes, they may cross over with members from Marketing for certain leads. For instance, a lead that has expressed interest but stopped responding or informed that they did not currently have the budget may be moved to a newsletter to nurture them into becoming a customer later on.
Other times, members within the same team will pass the activities from one to the other. An easy example of this is a Sales Development Representative being the first responder to an inbound lead, but then orienting the lead to have a demo call with an Account Executive.
It’s a bit of a juggling act, and the minute a cog is slightly out of place, it’s very easy to lose out on a potential sale. Everyone on the team needs to know what the next step is for the various scenarios, and what information needs to be captured for the next individual stepping up to know.
Having your processes mapped and shared in some way is an absolute necessity in sales, and is typically part of the training cycle of any new salesperson. Often, they’ll refer back to such documentation in their first few months on the job. It’s one of the main reasons why we map processes in the first place – to keep this company knowledge accessible and to ensure that the processes are being followed correctly.
Without process management working correctly, your sales operations would be chaotic and confusing to your team members, resulting in an immeasurable amount of lost opportunities.
Having them streamlined via process mapping and process reviews is vital to help you optimise them and see success.
Sales Responsibility Matrix Reflected in the Process
We mentioned this briefly above, but different members of the team will have different responsibilities – even within the same team. Process management helps you parse through these responsibilities.
Your Sales Development Representative (SDR) is not doing the same as your Account Executive (AE). Sometimes, there are also SDR Managers who help organise SDRs and assign them their tasks, lead lists, or territories. Your AE’s also may have different tasks amongst themselves, as they’re typically divided by territory and different territories may require different actions.
An example is that sometimes an SDR can make an initial demo or qualifying call, in other cases, it may be passed right to the AE. Additionally, AEs are not as focused on new business as SDRs, but more on upselling and maintaining relationships with your existing portfolio. They may look for new business via referrals from happy clients, or simply focus on strengthening existing relationships.
You also have your C-Suite, whose tasks are generally either focused on organising and orchestrating the entire sales team, researching new opportunities or profiles to go after, coming up with strategies to try, and finding ways to optimise the current process.
It’s vital that everyone knows what task falls under the umbrella of what title. Your process management should reflect this as well, which means it’s best if the responsibility matrix, whether it’s RACI or RATSI, is reflected in the process itself.
Make clear what tasks fall under what title, and then assign the task to that title. Whenever there is confusion about whose task it is, it becomes easy to ascertain and follow up with any questions regarding status or outcomes.
Avoid Overspending on Tools that Prevent Optimisation
A common feature of sales teams and sales operations is the need for different tools to make certain repetitive tasks easier to arrive at optimisation.
Finding leads, writing emails or scripts, making calls, sending large quantities of emails, organising your leads with their information – all of this can be segmented into different tools very easily.
But this may be detrimental to your bottom line and lead to more overspending that is not positively reflected in the revenue that comes back in.
Proper process management will help you narrow down on tools that are unnecessary or superfluous to your needs, and instead help you consolidate the number of tools you need by spotting duplication or spots where you’re spending too much.
Process management can help you find a singular sales tool that may take over several tasks. An example of this can be HubSpot, which works as a CRM, mass emailing tool, and calling tool – all in one. Another example is Amplemarket, which serves to automate sending emails, create sequences, make calls, connect to LinkedIn, and also find leads.
You can cut costs dramatically and also simplify your processes in one fell swoop via process management.
Find Improvement Spots to Optimise Sales Operations
Process management of your sales operations will help you find improvement spots to further optimise them.
We have a clear example above, with finding one tool that will help account for several aspects of the process and help you save costs. Anything that helps automate certain tasks and give time back to your sales team, such as follow-up automation or LinkedIn automations would fall in this category as well.
The more time your sales team has, the more time they can dedicate to tasks that truly need their input. Examples of this are crafting email copy, spending more time on calls and more time on research or social selling.
Additionally, you can find spots where time is being lost due to internal situations. A hand-off from an SDR to an AE that takes too long, missing documents making negotiations take longer for an AE and causing the deal to go south, creating a new, personalised pitch deck every time for a demo – these are all time-consuming and tasks that can be fixed and optimised.
Process management will also help you figure out how best to use your team’s talents – something which is especially important to keep in mind for sales operations.
You may have SDRs that demonstrate ease and success over the phone, whereas others can set meetings via email or social selling.
Certain AEs may be a better fit for a particular client profile, as they build their relationships patiently over time, allowing clients to trust them and then offer referrals. Others may be able to generate relationships quickly and get all the paperwork signed fast.
Proper process management from the C-Suite makes it possible to see these differences and assign clients, tasks, and territories correctly to the correct profile. It’s also vital when pairing SDRs with AEs to keep this in mind, as some partnerships may work better than others. And, whenever a promotion or other change happens, process management will help guide what that will look like, making it an important internal map.
Conclusion – Process Management for Sales Operations is a no brainer!
Put plainly, process management is absolutely instrumental for sales operations to be successful, and thus for your company to be successful.
Without process management, your sales team will have an incredibly hard time selling your product or service, resulting in less revenue and a problem for you.
Optimising your sales operations is not complex, and indeed should be a continuous practice – one that can continue thanks to process management.
If you’d like to learn more about process management and its uses, make sure to request access to our library of resources here at Skore.