The number of official sales operations managers has increased over the last few years as companies react to the sheer amount of data made available by tools like Salesforce. These numbers can be unwieldy, so it makes sense to dedicate a role to sift through the noise and leverage data to improve sales. The challenge with this change is that compared to other roles there isn’t a ton of knowledge for sales ops managers to lean on. This isn’t too surprising since the role is relatively new. But there are some tried and true best practices available. For the purposes of this blog, let's look at the things sales ops should not do, pitfalls to avoid. In other words, here’s what not to do as a sales operations manager.
1. Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken
We all know that too much data can lead to analysis paralysis, but maybe even more terrifying is that too many numbers often brings focus to functions that are working just fine. Data can lead to second-guessing and this questioning can lead to breaking processes that are already moving the needle. Sales ops managers should identify what’s increasing pipeline or attainment, make a note, and in most cases leave it alone. The urge is to try to initially refine or “improve” those areas, but the tradeoff isn’t worth it when these optimizations pull you away from the processes that are really struggling.
2. Don’t Take a Backseat with Data
Sales ops might feel like tedium at times—the work sales VPs don’t want to do at worst and tactical necessity at best. Because of the lows, it’s easy to forget that sales operations managers have an intimate understanding of the business that sales leadership does not. Sales ops managers can be deeply strategic when the data is wielded correctly. One of the most important ways to do this is by ensuring that sales team activity is aligned with the overall business goals that leadership has communicated. The ability to find discrepancies between behaviors and business strategy makes sales ops invaluable.
3. Don’t Forget Best Practices
Best practices is a term thrown around so much that it has begun to lose its meaning. But don’t fall into cynicism as best practices in action still hold value. When the word is brandished in boardrooms and Zoom meetings what’s meant by “best practices” is implementing a proven and repeatable process to achieve success. Nothing more, nothing less. Fortunately for sales op managers, access to data allows them to do just that. Whether you’re still using multiple BI tools or are tapping into a single sales ops solution like Xactly Insight for Sales™, looking at year-over-year trends in and out of your organization is a must. It’s in this sea of numbers that the proven and repeatable processes you're looking for can be found.
Final Sales Ops No-No
So much of the sales operations manager’s job revolves around data. Effective use of this information is vital to success. The numbers help sales ops get things done. Meaning one piece of advice stands above all else for sales operations managers: don't ignore the data.