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About This Episode
Buy a Tesla, but not bother charging it?
Bake chocolate chip cookies and never eat them?
Go to Miami and not hit the beach?
Of course not! (or I hope not, anyway!)
So, why would you generate sales leads and distribute them to a sales team mindlessly?
What do you have in place to make sure every lead that your Sales Ops team encounters is going to be vetted and distributed quickly and effectively to give your sales team the best chance at closing them?
3 Things we will explore:
- Identifying your total addressable market
- Prioritizing your outreach
- Shoring up your sales cycle to assure an above bar customer experience
Sales Ops is an underserved topic. Is it directing leads? Vetting processes? Sales planning? Compensation? Forecasting? Territory design?
Yes. And more.
It may be a less popular topic because it really can be hard to pin down. Sales Ops can encompass a wide variety of responsibilities, and different organisations place different responsibilities under the Sales Ops umbrella.
Patrick Kelly, who led Xerox’s first Sales Operations group, back in the 70’s Sales Ops as:
“all the nasty number things that you don’t want to do but need to do to make a great sales force.” -Patrick Kelly, Xerox
Makes sense! (Kind of)
Let’s begin with identifying who you’ll be selling to.
Identify Your Total Addressable Market
Understanding your target market is step 1. Conducting a bottom-up analysis,counting the total number of customers in a market and then multiplying that number by the average annual revenue of each customer in this market gets you the Total Addressable Market (TAM). This may seem like a very high level look into your industry, and you might be saying to yourself:
“Well sure, Starbucks, Google and Amazon are potential buyers for my product, but does that mean they are worth going after?”
Ultimately, the answer is going to depend a lot on your specific product and your ability to scale to those levels, but understanding who the whales are in your TAM gives you a scope of understanding and an opportunity to shoot high.
Prioritize Your Outreach
Once you identify who is and isn’t a viable prospect, now you can dig into those leads and start to prioritize them along with your pool of incoming leads.
According to Aaron and his team at Limelight Networks, some things to consider when prioritizing leads for your sales team are:
- Title or ability of the lead to pull a buying trigger
- If your product or service has a broad reach-company size or “head count”
- Overall company revenue
- What industry they serve, and how conducive your product is
- The infrastructure of the company, and if you are a good fit for them
Narrowing leads down in this way gives you the ability to send vetted, quality leads down to your sales reps. This increases revenue, uses reps time more efficiently, and sets the sales cycle to light more quickly, but pushing those leads down to the sales team can sometimes be tricky. You’ve worked hard to categorize and prioritize those leads, and if a sales team doesn’t understand or see the value there, all of that may just get chucked out the window. Keeping the lines of communication open between Ops and the sales teams is key. Go ahead and loop marketing in there as well! Wins all around.
Shoring up your sales cycle
Inbound lead flow, prioritized accounts, partnerships between departments, all of these things are ideal, but only work if the reps are bringing their A games, and your operational procedures are giving them the right tools to work with.
So, how do you have leads go through the process and get to the right rep ASAP?
Aaron is implementing an audit for Limelight’s top tier accounts to take advantage of all the bells and whistles that Salesforce brings to the table, including reps getting an email alert as soon as the lead hits the system.
The front end of the customer experience is crucial, and Aaron feels a big part of that potential customer having a positive experience is getting to them quickly. “Striking when the iron is hot” so to speak. If someone is perusing your website and clicks on xyz, generating an email to a rep, that sleek and super fast connection time can make all the difference. This is a great example of how automation can enhance the overall sales effort.
What Sales Ops brings to organizations is a team of experts who can look at the sales process at a granular level. A group of individuals able to crunch numbers and create logistical practices that gives sales teams the best possible advantages available out in the field. Pulling the sales cycle apart, adapting, growing, being fluid and solid simultaneously. Incorporating tech, but never forgetting the human aspect of the sale.
It’s no wonder Sales Ops is hard to describe or spotlight. It’s a bit of a conflicting department! But when those conflicts come together in the right manner, there is no conflict reflected in the bottom line.