Episode OneHundredNinetyNine

Sales Ops Strategies-Are You Maximizing Every Lead?

Guest: Aaron Lockhart, Senior Manager Sales Operations at Limelight Networks

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About This Episode

Would you:

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? 

Aaron Lockhart, Senior Manager Sales Operations at  Senior Manager Sales Operations at Limelight Networks sat down with me to share some of his strategies for making sure every lead is maximized.

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.

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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