In my last blog, I mentioned Gartner’s recent CSO and Sales Leader Conference. During that event, I presented Breaking Sales Ops From the Reactive Rut and had the good fortune to speak with many CSOs and Sales Operations leaders. In those conversations, there was a common question: how do I get more out of my sales operations investment?
First, let’s understand why this is a concern. Many sales operations functions are bogged down with their daily grind. They put out fires. They move mountains. AND, they are supporting more stakeholders than ever before. When examining the percentage of sales operations supporting non-sales stakeholders, Gartner found that:
- 57% of sales operations are supporting Marketing
- 38% are supporting Product stakeholders
- 35% are supporting Finance stakeholders
- 34% are supporting Services stakeholders
With the sales ecosystem becoming increasingly more complex – and with an increasing number of different stakeholders to support – it’s easier to see why sales operations investments might be ratcheting up without the feeling of getting a higher ROI. Let’s be clear. Sales operations are likely very busy. They are doing a lot. But, the question is are they doing the right things to maximize the ROI.
Reassess Using a Modified Start, Stop, Continue Framework
To serve as a proactive and strategic function to the sales organization and enterprise, sales operations leaders must reexamine where they are deploying their resources. Simply, leaders can start by asking themselves, what should we start doing to increase our ROI to the organization?
Conversely, sales operations must also critically assess where they should stop. This is where savvy leaders prosper. They figure out how and where to stop supporting low ROI activities. I know this isn’t as easy as it sounds. However, truly great leaders identify where they need CSO air cover, how to influence with peers, or perhaps they just take a hard stance against low ROI efforts. Ultimately, they need to refocus their team’s capacity to where it matters most. Unfortunately, many gravitate support to who screams the most or the loudest. This isn’t sustainable.
Undoubtedly, sales operations leaders will find that there are many things that they need to continue to do. However, this modified version of start-stop-continue scopes in the options of delegating and automating. For all activities that must continue, sales operations leaders should ask:
- Are there areas that we can delegate to others in the organization?
- Can we delegate to a third party (i.e., business process outsourcing)?
- Is automation possible to increase the team’s capacity?
Delegate and automate are particularly important for sales operations leaders who aren’t in a position to stop lower ROI activities. It’s another call to action to leverage sales technology to not only improve seller execution but sales operations execution.
Sales operations leaders frequently feel understaffed and overworked. This framework – start-stop-continue-delegate-automate – is a critical planning technique to align the sales operations team and deliver higher ROI.