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Sales Operations "Resolutionary" or Revolutionary?

February 15, 2016 | By Mark Levinson

  • Being a revolutionary requires a willingness to out of your comfort zone and drive innovation in order to outperform
  • Sales operations leaders should look at functional alignment, sales productivity, sales intelligence, and compensation
  • Making a five-point plan to drive change can jumpstart a sales operations revolution

By this point in the calendar year, many of us have already lost sight of our New Year’s resolutions (not me, of course). Have no fear, the year is far from over, so pick yourself up and get back at it! In fact, I advise that you think beyond being a “resolutionary” and become a revolutionary – not just personally, but also professionally.

What do I mean by being a revolutionary? It means that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, drive innovation and be willing to do things that your competition is not doing in order to outperform. These five areas will help sales operations leaders be revolutionary in 2016:

  1. RevolutionaryFunctional alignment. Sales operations leaders must pause, look at their teams, and determine what functional responsibilities are needed to move beyond tactical sales support and into strategic leadership.
  2. Sales productivity. Ultimately, sales teams will be judged by revenue attainment, but this alone is not the ultimate indicator of productivity. Revolutionary sales operations leaders will look across a series of indicators (e.g. pipeline, performance, alignment) to properly determine sales productivity.
  3. Sales intelligence. All sales operations functions are applying some set of metrics to provide insight to the sales organization. Those that want to truly deliver intelligence will be using proven measurement frameworks, audience-aligned metrics and analytic models to correlate data and deliver validation or identify change.
  4. Expectation-setting compensation. Our research has demonstrated that no matter how big the pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow, sales reps will not achieve the goals and objectives desired if their compensation plan does not set the right expectations. To set the right expectations, sales compensation plans need to evolve – from starting with how much a sales rep can make to elements and measurements that help a sales rep understand how his or her success is aligned to the sales strategy.
  5. Process-driven technology. As sales application options continue to increase at an unmeasurable rate, “shiny new object syndrome” has the potential to run rampant. To fight this, sales operations leaders will need to be strong and resist the urge to jump into technology investments (i.e. new technology or even improvements to existing technology) by performing a process assessment before any of these investments.

Maybe you stopped going to the gym already. Perhaps you’ve begun to eat junk food again. But don’t let your competitors put you in their rearview mirrors. Make your five-point plan today – write it down, share it, make it a team effort – and I promise you will look back on this year and proudly state you delivered revolutionary change.

Come see Mark at SiriusDecisions Leadership Exchange later this month in San Diego - or at SiriusDecisions 2016 Summit in Nashville.

Mark Levinson

Mark Levinson is Vice President and Group Director of Sales and Channel Services at SiriusDecisions. Mark’s nearly 20 years of experience includes a wide variety of sales operations issues including strategic planning, territory optimization, compensation plans, account management, sales tools and sales analytics. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkBLevinson.

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