The final element shared at the Sales Leadership Community breakfast was the importance of sales operations in driving a successful sales transformation. I was reflecting on it this evening, and I estimate that the team at SOAR has been engaged to enable the success sales transformations that have created hundreds of millions of dollars in value for our clients. Then I thought about the sales operations teams that have been involved in our work. As one of the panelists at the breakfast shared, sales operations can make or break a transformation effort.
Definition of Success
While sales operations is such a critical piece of making transformation happen, it is rare that the keys to success are defined for this role and those that fill it. Based on our experiences working with sales operations teams, our thoughts on what makes a transformational sales operations leader include:
- They have either sold for the company in which they are working, or have a high level of empathy for the sellers at their company. If this is not present, it is difficult for the sales operations team to really understand the challenges faced by the customer-facing team.
- They can build rapport with front-line managers and leverage this rapport to create positive feedback loops and solve problems.
- They treat the sales force as their customers, which means sometimes they have to properly set expectations and push back (in an appropriate fashion) when the situation requires.
- They have the technical skills (to run things like CRM and forecasting), and they are able to do it in a way that adds value to customers, satisfies management requirements and helps customer-facing teams meet their objectives.
- They are passionate about end customers and orient all of their activities about adding value for their company’s customers
When looking to drive a sales transformation, seek out successful and experienced professionals that have these characteristics. Sales operations could be what makes or breaks your sales transformation effort. Good selling!
To read more from the Effective Sales Transformation series:
- Sales Force Effectiveness (Element 1)
- Sales Enablement (Element 2)
- Sales Force Strategy (Element 3)
- Sales and Marketing Alignment (Element 4)
- Sales Talent Management and Skill Development are Vital to an Effective Sales Transformation (Element 5)