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Recipe for an Accelerated Pipeline, Sales Representatives' and Sales Operations' Roles (Part 2 of a 3 Part Series)

Authored by Jim Eberlin on June 4, 2014

Overview

In the previous post of this three-part series, we talked about the importance of sales management’s role in optimizing the pipeline.  This second part of the series talks about the impact of various roles of a sales team in the creation of an accelerated pipeline.  We will specifically look at the focus areas of sales representatives and sales operations and how they should interact.

Part 2: The Roles of Sales Representatives and Sales Operations

Sales Representatives

Sales representatives need to focus on strategy and how best to approach each milestone in the sales process.  Therefore they need to ask a lot of qualifying questions at each stage.  There are several methodologies to follow including Sandler, Miller Heiman and many more to help in gathering pain points, budget info, decision process, prospect needs and compelling events.  The sales representative needs to record where they are in the selling process and give their opinion of how qualified the prospect is and how good of a fit the solution is at each interval of the selling stages and milestones.  This is an ongoing process during the deal and the objective is to assess how well they are performing along the stages and milestones of the sales opportunity.  Also, they have to record key deal attributes along the way about how they perform against the competition, what products they are offering and pricing.  This helps in overall analysis to monitor strengths and weaknesses of the company.

But there is one significant problem standing in the way of the sales representatives doing their part to hit the revenue target.  It’s the thing that they detest most - data entry into the CRM.

Sales representatives want to spend their time strategizing on closing deals and not keying in data about deals.  It’s just not a priority for them to do data entry after a long week of demos, meetings with management and performing their normal day-to-day work to move deals through the pipeline.  When they do get around to the data entry, it’s usually much later than when they were in the last meeting, which causes key information to be left out of the update.

In order for a sales representative to perform well enough to meet their numbers and do their part for the organization they require a “super easy” CRM update process that collects the data needed to provide status and insights into sales opportunities while giving them all the time needed to strategize on closing deals.

Sales Operations

The sales operations team is responsible for making the business activities and processes of a sales organization run effectively, efficiently and supports the business strategies and objectives.  They are involved in implementing solutions for sales enablement and reports that give management day to day information on deals as well as long term analysis.

Their biggest problem is that they need more time to work on and manage the sales process to make it effective.  They spend too much time working within it -  usually backlogged with creating one-off reports and implementing multiple projects.

Sales operations could be much more effective and help the sales organization deliver on their numbers if they could overcome these challenges of being swallowed up within the business.  They need to  work more on the business by making sure sales reps are adopting new best practices, helping management monitor the right metrics and provide insights on improvement to processes.  This would result in a much more competitive organization and add to the predictability of the forecasted numbers.

Making it Happen

So a good process, day-to-day optics, analysis and ,most importantly, a super easy way for sales reps to update CRM information is the right recipe for an optimized and accelerated sales pipeline.

An optimized sales pipeline will help you create a repeatable and predictable process, close more deals and ultimately ensure you hit your targeted number.

Think seriously about using mobile and advanced analytics to ensure the sales process is optimized.

 

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