I’ve wanted to write this blog post for over two months now, but life just keeps getting in the way. So, in an attempt to make up for lost time, I will post every day this week with a new series discussing automation, sales and marketing operations. Parts 1-3 of this blog series will discuss the importance of having a Sales and Marketing Operations team and how this group can be a key asset to your company – giving you the power to be dynamic in your market. Parts 4 and 5 will cover some specific areas where your ops team could utilize automation.
A couple years ago, I read the Predictable Revenue book, and it discusses how the sales organization should be split into specialized and focused roles. This includes roles to handle outbound lead generation, inbound lead response (lead qualification), account management (closing prospects), and customer success management (retaining existing customers). Having once worked in sales, this strategy made total sense to me. Not only does this method provide a clear career path, but it allows sales employees to focus their efforts in a particular area, based on their individual strengths and skill sets.
So, why not include sales leadership as a part of this strategy? Line managers should not only be developing and improving their sales teams, but also working with the executive team to set goals and help close high-level deals. They do not typically have the time nor skills to know all of the possible data sources, how to look for sales automation ideas, or to create predication forecast models. The same is true for Directors and VPs. How does a company expect a VP of Sales to have the time to slice and dice numbers? Or to collect data and try and determine where automation should or could happen – all while juggling the responsibilities of driving additional revenue, coaching their staff and helping close out major deals. While sales leaders may not have the time to dig through this data, they CAN provide excellent judgment and feedback regarding how automation could impact their organization.
The Sales Operations team should be driving the CRM efforts, automating sales processes, and analyzing sales data. This team gets “down and dirty” with the numbers. They should have a complete understanding of how the sales organization works – from making sales calls, to turning a prospect over as a customer. The ops team should be asking the sales reps why and how often they perform a particular task. Sometimes, the additional of a simple button to log a call and change the status on a lead record automatically, could save as much as a minute per call. What if a sales person made 40 calls per day? That could save as much as 40 minutes per sales rep. How many additional calls could they make with that extra time? How many more prospects could they qualify? This is just one example of many where marketing and sales automation could increase the efficiency and productivity of your sales team. But, without an ops team to uncover this data, you’d never see these potential benefits.