How to Optimize Sales Operations in 5 Simple Steps

In the age of digital, sales operations management is becoming more and more significant. Over the last ten years, businesses and technology have prospered and evolved into a whole new field of digital sales management.

Making sure that sales operations are functional, practical, and usable is imperative to the success of any sales-based organization.

Sales operations are widely considered the hub of organizational sales efficiency and are accountable for tracking activity outcomes, and communication management associated with decision making.   

 

Businesses can easily optimize their sales operations by following our practical guide below. We’ve identified five key areas for sales operations optimization that your business should follow for maximum results. 

Data Management 

Databases that are properly monitored and updated regularly are a key driving force for successful sales operations. Organizations of all sizes need to take a candid approach to data management and make sure that the seller data is accurate, valid, and up to date.

If sellers don’t update their accounts and pipelines regularly, they risk missing out on leads that aren’t automatically routed to sellers. 

An efficient database is the driving force behind successful sales operations and helps businesses at large to analyze and decipher the data that they have to hand.

The data focus should shift from a quantifiable approach to collecting data to a quality one.

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make around data management is not understanding the value of the data they already hold. Businesses need to identify gaps in the collection process and work directly with sales teams to find appropriate solutions. Talking to customers is also a good way of establishing a wider understanding of the complex sales operations process.  

 

Analytics & Reporting 

Savvy businesses leaders can identify successful areas of sales operations, the problem areas, and opportunities for improvement. Once data management processes have been overhauled, complex analytics and reporting can be used to collate and make sense of sometimes large sets of data.

This is a crucial sales operations process that helps sales operations teams to fuel decision-making. Nearly 80% of elite and 58% of top-performing members of sales operations teams agree that analytics and reports enable them to effectively scrutinize sales situations, actions, and results effectively compared to only 37% of people that don’t. 

Sales analytics help to optimize the sales funnel and make steady, measurable improvements to the overarching sales process.

This helps businesses to maintain more efficiency and long-term effectiveness. Sales analysis achieves this through the automation of workflow, which facilitates effective collaboration and reduces the overall amount of time spent on monotonous tasks.  

 

Forecasting 

It’s not surprising to find out that most businesses succeed or fail solely based on their sales outlooks for the next two quarters.

This is an example of bad sales forecasting which causes overspending and loss of profit margin or too little spending, which results in loss of sales opportunities due to lack of investment.

Accurately forecasting is a difficult task for businesses that haven’t invested in the right technologies or resources to provide precise reports. Only 60% of elite businesses believe sellers forecast their own pipelines correctly. This is a problem for businesses that want to propel growth and sales funnel development. 

 

Forecasting enables revenue teams to achieve their long-term objectives by identifying warning signals in the pipeline at multiple different levels.

Accurate forecasting also permits organizations to adjust their sales methodology frameworks and bring them in line with expectations.

Teams who have the ability and know-how to master sales forecasting science and on average are 10% more likely to increase revenue year on year and twice as likely to outmaneuver their industry counterparts.  

 

Quota Setting 

One of the biggest problems that sales operations teams face is how high to set quotas for various groups? Sales leaders and representatives alike have struggled with this question for many years.

Quota setting directly affects seller action planning, compensation expectations, motivation, and turnover amongst others.

When quotas are identified and set correctly,  management can estimate the total number of sales up to two years in advance.

More importantly, this data helps to adjust the production schedule and enables businesses to easily meet demand. Sales quotas are invaluable resources that help the entire sales organization assess the performance of individual representatives. This helps to monitor teams and individuals, whilst identifying key areas for improvement.  

 

Accountability 

A common oversight of underperforming sales-based businesses is a fatal lack of accountability. Elite, top-performing sales organizations are a lot more likely to address underperformance issues.

Allowing team members that underperform to remain stagnant hurts businesses in a variety of different ways. Reduced revenue, increased costs, and dwindling profit margins are just some of the reasons why accountability is imperative to the long-term operational success of sales-based businesses. 

 

Sales accountability enables managers to work in unison with their sales teams and developed an aligned sense of goals, responsibilities, and expectations.

Once these goals have been aligned, individuals can take a more holistic approach to their work and take ownership over their responsibilities.

It allows particular representatives to be upfront and forthcoming with important information regarding their sales performance and any possible weaknesses or drawbacks.  

 

Conclusion 

Businesses that utilize sales and operations optimization processes are much more likely to have higher visibility of the demand and supply across the entire enterprise. More efficient inventory management enhanced promotional planning, and increased budget forecasting accuracy are just some of the reasons why optimizing sales operations is critical. 

 

Utilizing sales operations optimizations enables businesses to become more proactive and thus reduce last-minute and often costly changes to the manufacturing and distribution processes. This allows organizations to address supply chain capacity issues quickly and respond to crucial time-sensitive issues quickly snd efficiently way before the end customer is impacted. The ultimate goal of sales and operations optimization is the creation of a single, unified plan which clearly sets out and identifies the overarching goals associated with the sales funnel and the resources required to achieve them.