The buyer’s journey today is altered by the way prospects interact with businesses. With all that changes, the common goal remains the same. Your sales team should be present at the right time – when prospects can be influenced by your reps. And this one stage is a culmination of a long cycle that starts with marketing efforts and ends with a sale.
Take this for an example. You need a sales rep to connect with prospects and turn them into customers. The success of your sales rep depends on two things.
- Having the right sales rep talk to your prospect
- Ensuring that the sales has adequate skills to convert your prospect
The first one is where sales operation is crucial – building your team, setting up the process, and so on. The second point highlights everything you need to enable your sales rep to discharge their duties responsibly.
These two terms are often used interchangeably but the role they play creates a significant impact.
Let’s dive deep into understanding the two concepts and how sales leaders can implement them effectively in sales.
The Origins of Sales Operations
History takes us back to 1970 when the first sales operations team was created. This happened in Xerox.
At that time, J. Patrick Kelly, the leader described the role as
|“all the nasty number things that you don’t want to do, but need to do to make a great sales force.”|
What started as number crunching today transitioned into a team that orchestrates activities to drive a competent sales force.
What do you mean by sales operations?
Sales operation, at its heart, links the development with the execution of your sales strategy. It answers these questions:
- How to improve the efficiency of your sales force
- How do you reduce the friction in your sales process
Sales operation guides your sales team, lets them stay aligned towards your sales goals, and prevents reps from branching away. It includes various functions like strategy, organizational hierarchy, talent pool, compensation, and sales automation.
What is the goal of sales operation?
The goal of sales operation is to tap into data, uncover insights and provide these strategic findings to achieve consistent sales growth. Sales operation helps you reform your team with adequate insights to identify trends, forecast sales, fix bottlenecks in the sales process and plan for long-term business growth.
Core functionalities involved in sales operations
To understand how sales operations empower your sales team, you need to see the key areas where it plays an impactful role.
Unify your sales process
Between capturing a lead’s attention to converting them into customers, the sales process is a synergy of a lot of processes and activities. Sales operations help identify bottlenecks in collaboration so that your team can coordinate better and maximize efficiency.
Build a great sales team
Ideally, your sales team members bring a lot of skills to the table. But it is impossible for every rep to be an expert in every sales function. Sales operations help you surface key skills of your sales reps along with their weaknesses. This helps you assign reps to activities based on their strength and prevent deals from slipping away.
Teamwork makes the dream work
John C. Maxwell
Identifying the skill gap helps you concentrate on the kind of hires you need to complete your team. This adds more clarity to your recruiting process and helps you know what you’re looking for in a candidate.
Trends and forecasting
Every interaction with your reps help you uncover a lot of insights. The more interactions you have, the more data you collect. And with these insights, sales operations help you identify recurring trends and forecast how sales will look for a specific time frame.
Time and money are your scarcest resources. You want to make sure you’re allocating them in the highest-impact areas. Data reveals impact, and with data, you can bring more science to your decisions.
CMO at Vapor IO
Sales operations help you interpret these trends to ensure that you plan ahead in terms of staffing, recruitment, upskilling and more.
Team organization and territory management
By reviewing the work your reps do, the skills they excel at gives you more clarity on how to better utilize them in your sales process. Sales operations help you identify the skill set and map it to the sales process to increase the success rate. One of the most overlooked roles is territory management. By tapping into productivity, sales rep satisfaction, and potential, sales operations let you assign reps to specific territories.
Now that we’ve looked at what sales operations are, we move on to the next piece of the puzzle that supercharges sales — sales enablement.
What is sales enablement?
When sales operations comb through your process and discover insights, sales enablement is the stage where you retrospect. It helps you identify areas of improvement and implement efforts to maximize your team’s sales numbers.
Sales enablement can be defined as the practice of giving your sales team the right training, tools, and resources to help them improve their productivity and increase their performance.
Sales enablement occurs in two stages:
- Skill level – Equipping your sales team to pick up skills, learn and improve their selling
- Infrastructure level – Upgrading the tools and technology to help your sales team perform better
What is the role of sales enablement?
Sales enablement is curated to match your reps’ needs in order to help target leads better, build a good rapport, and close deals effortlessly. Your sales enablement strategy should align with the common objective of your team, connect with leads and turn them into customers.
|The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.
Carly Fiorina, Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Think of your sales enablement game plan as an extension of the findings of sales operations. It helps you put that analysis and findings into action.
Core functionalities of sales enablement
Sales enablement centers around the resources that help your team up their sales game. These resources involve:
Sales content creation
Your sales team needs to have all the information in the right place at the right time while engaging with a prospect. This not only boosts their confidence but helps them relay the right information to prospects consistently.
Sales enablement lets you sift through the most frequently asked questions and common talk points. This may include:
- Case studies
- Pricing and discount information
- Product demo
- Feature list and differentiators
- Presentation decks and whitepapers
Consolidating all critical information in a central sales library helps your sales team access sales decks and reduces any dependencies.
Today, a large part of your sales rep’s time gets lost in managing other tasks than core sales activities. A Forbes article highlights that sales reps spend 35.2% of their time selling and 65% on everything else, but not selling.
Sales enablement introduces your sales team to tools and technology that can automate sales tasks and give reps more time with prospects. For example, your sales team can use a tool that automatically transcribes a sales call in order to verify if they can pick content that can be included to personalize their follow-up to that prospect. Also, there is chatbot tech available in tools which are also very useful, it doesn’t need to stay particular person to handle customer’s small query, using chatbot tool client can get answers through chatbot robots.
Sales operations help you audit your performance to figure out the skill set your reps need to close more deals. Sales enablement lets you identify what kind of training/mentoring can help your reps improve. This makes it easier to zero in on the channel that helps you create effective training materials and deliver them to the reps.
When you identify opportunities for development, you can look at reps who are masters of the skill and pair them up with reps who need more help. Sales enablement empowers collaborative learning that ensures your team learns together and grows stronger, together!
Putting sales operations and enablement in action
Sales operation and enablement help you surface insights and improve the performance of your sales team. But both these functions depend on keeping a pulse on your sales team’s operation on a daily basis.
A sales call recording software helps sales operations and sales enablement teams to assess the day-to-day performance of your sales reps. It brings both teams together seamlessly and unifies the effort that goes into transforming your sales team.
Be where the conversation happens
With sales recording software, you can listen to all the sales conversations that your reps have. This lets you identify the time spent on these interactions, surface frequently asked questions, and evaluate all your reps’ strengths and weaknesses.
You also can actively track the productivity of your reps to set the right sales goals and determine incentives and compensation. With sales recording software, you can identify the overall skills of your sales reps and highlight how they steer the conversations they have. Another advantage of a sales call recording is to compare the performance and sales techniques of your reps. This lets you narrow down best practices and strengthen your onboarding process.
Let AI surface actionable insights
A call recording software with AI lets you cut down the time you spend evaluating sales calls. Artificial intelligence is specifically useful in automating key areas like transcribing sales calls, segmenting your sales calls, and providing you with relevant insights.
This helps your sales operations team to organize the sales team structure, measure performance, and set compensation and sales goals. Your sales enablement team can identify content gaps, and training opportunities to upskill your sales reps.
Supercharge sales and crush your numbers
When you bring sales operations and sales enablement together, you unify your efforts to boost your team’s efficiency. A call recording software lets you curate your team’s biggest wins and consolidate a sales call playbook. This helps you recognize the effort of your sales reps and motivate new reps alike.
Having a sales call recording also helps you shadow new reps and offer instantaneous feedback. With hands-on training, you groom your reps and also fix their mistakes while the lead is still hot.
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Sales operations and sales enablement play an active role in helping your sales team streamline their effort and maximize their sales output. While the former involves crunching data and deriving recurring patterns, the latter focus on bridging content, resource and technological gaps. When combined these two processes empower your sales reps to add more qualified leads to your sales pipeline by better engaging with leads.
Having a sales call recording software reduces the number of tools you need to plug in to stay connected with your sales team and their daily activities. It offers you a central hub for all the sales interactions your reps are having. It surfaces the insights you are looking for and helps you make data-driven decisions on time.