Unfortunately, too many growing organizations repeat the exact same sales processes in greater volume – simply going from one rep making calls to many. Without moving towards greater sales operations maturity, an organization can never evolve – handcuffing its potential to enter more competitive markets and explore new corporate horizons.
It’s the job of sales operations to make sure the organization’s tools, processes, and goals mature as the team grows. In my experience, sales organizations go through three stages of sales operations maturity. In each stage, management concerns evolve and therefore, technology investment priorities, processes and training must change as well.
Whether you have 1 sales rep or 100 – whether you have been around for 1 year or 20, it is important to regularly take stock of where your organization falls on the maturity scale and seek out opportunities for improvement. I promise you, there’s always somewhere improvements can be made.
The 3 Stages of Sales Operations Maturity
In your organization’s early stages, you should concentrate on putting together a clear sales plan and making sure your team is executing it. Most companies lack a clearly defined way to maximize sales. This is where sales operations can help.
When developing a plan, it’s important to cover every stage from lead generation to managing prospects through the pipeline with minimal leakage. Sales managers should arm their reps with scripts, proposal templates and other tools to systematize and standardize the sales process.
Once the execution aspects of the sales process are clearly defined, sales managers need to streamline the way the plan is executed. If your reps are executing your sales plan perfectly but they’re only spending an average of 22% of their time selling, would you call that efficient?
Be advised: Age does not a mature sales tool make!
This is the stage of sales maturity where you see companies really start implementing sales enablement tools such as CRM and CPQ solutions. Organizations that use Configure Price Quote software see an average sales cycle of 3.42 months, over a month shorter than non-CPQ users at 4.68 months.
When you reach the final stage of maturity, your sales reps are executing your sales process with peak efficiency – but is it at all effective?
At the end of the day, sales leaders need to be able to assess the current operational capabilities and processes to identify points in the process where improvements can result in greater returns. That means carefully analyzing the efforts of your sales organization and comparing them against key metrics.
Which reps are closing the most sales? What techniques are they using? What software, content or processes can help all of your reps sell like that?
To fully understand the effectiveness of your sales process, you need unique insights and predictive analytics. With customer-driven data, you can identify the areas in your process that need to be optimized.
Here again, sales enablement technology can help guide your reps to the most effective sales paths. For example, a CPQ solution with analytics can show your reps the next best action to take or the right discount to offer in order to increase the probability of a sales wins.
Just like with people, full sales maturity isn’t achieved overnight and doesn’t necessarily happen in a straightforward, linear fashion. Maybe your reps are executing well and are being effective, but improving their efficiency is the key to increasing sales. Whatever your specific weak point is, you need to make it your mission to find it and shore it up as soon as possible.