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The Difference Between Sales Performance and Sales Operations

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sales performance vs sales operations

Half of your sales team ends up making quota – even though the rest didn’t, the numbers posted looked good enough to call the quarter a success (at least on paper).

Does that mean your organization is succeeding in sales operations? Just because your sales performance is successful doesn’t mean your sales operations are successful.

Those numbers aren’t hypothetical, either. According to a recent study, 44% of salespeople end up missing their sales quota.

If you want your entire sales organization to start excelling instead of just getting by, it’s time to take a hard look at how you’re measuring success. The sales organization should be judged by the sales performance of every single member of the team. More specifically, it should be judged not only on sales numbers but also on the sales processes they’re following and their overall efficiency – the operations.

So why doesn’t every sales organization do this?

Common Issues with Sales Operations That Affect Sales Performance

They Lack Accurate Sales Forecasts

Sales quotas are rising – up 33% in the last four years. It’s no surprise that the number of reps making their quota dropped by 25% in the same amount of time. If you want your reps to start hitting their numbers, you need to start posting numbers that realistically reflect what you can actually sell in that period.

To get an accurate snapshot of each member’s sales performance, you need to crunch a lot of numbers. You need to factor in the number of proposals generated, the lead conversion rate and the average length of each sales cycle. The reality is – sales teams can’t be correctly judged if they don’t have accurate numbers throughout the sales process.

They Lack the Right Sales Enablement Technologies

In order to set more accurate quotas – and make sure your team actually meets those quotas – you need to arm them with the technology they need to make them smarter and more efficient. One tool your reps should have at their disposal is a Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) solution. With a CPQ solution, 56% of reps achieve sales quota vs 46% of non-CPQ users.

They Lack the Right Metrics

It’s not enough for a sales organization to simply ride the coattails of a few top performers. Sales operations should be judged on how well they are working to make the organization as a whole more efficient and successful. Here’s a few KPIs to watch as you try to make quota attainment easier and more consistent across the entire team:

  • Quote Times: Look to speed the proposal generation process and eliminate the mistakes that cause delays. With a CPQ solution, the average number of proposals, quotes or RFP responses delivered per rep, per month went from 14 to 20.
  • Average Sales Cycle: As you well know, winning the game is all about who’s fastest at closing the sale. You also know that the quoting process isn’t the only thing that slows down selling. With clients going back and forth on proposals and reps requiring approval for discounts, there are many ways the operations can get delayed. Sales operations need to utilize technology that eliminates roadblocks during the approval process and enables a clear and simple collaboration between your sales team and their clients.
  • Lead Conversion Rate: Not only should your reps be fast, they should be efficient. What good is a sales rep whose sales numbers are strong but only after burning through half the leads allotted to your entire team? Organizations that use a CPQ solution saw their lead conversion rate improve by 18% compared to all others.

Bridging Sales Performance and Sales Operations

So there it is – the difference between sales performance and sales operations. With sales enablement technology like CPQ, every team member’s numbers are automatically entered and recorded, giving you a clearer picture of how each salesperson is doing in the field. It’s not enough to just have a few key sales performers in the organization. A good sales operation consists of the entire team successfully meeting their quotas and executing their sales goals. Removing the guesswork allows you to determine if your operation is doing well or not – making the organization as a whole stronger in the process.

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