Helping You Deliver Tomorrow’s CX, Today

  • April 20, 2017

Navigating the Challenges of Enterprise Sales Operations

Modern sales operations professionals must navigate a variety of challenges when supporting an enterprise sales team. Wednesday’s Sales Operations Meetup, Navigating the Challenge of Enterprise Sales Ops, addressed how to tackle these challenges head-on.

The panel of sales ops directors and heads of sales, included: MemSQL's Jennifer Liao, Visier's Jeff Ignacio, Mapbox's Tobias Muellner, and Sparkcentral's Alex Finn.

All panelists shared valuable insights into sales operations for enterprise sales, but their methods range greatly. The main takeaway from the event? There are more ways than one to skin a cat.

Other top takeaways included:

If you’re stuck, lean on your network, whether that’s peers, c-level execs or other professionals in your community###

When it comes to problem solving, don’t hesitate to ask. Each panelist shared their methods for getting support internally, and externally.

For internal support:

VP of Sales or other sales leaders: Alignment here is crucial. Bouncing ideas off executives is an effective way to find out what has worked, what hasn’t and what’s worth trying.

For external Support:

Peer groups including:

  • Personal network (peers who have gone through a similar challenge)
  • MeetUps
  • Slack Groups
  • Google Groups

Good communication with sales leadership is not constrained to meetings###

Depending on the size of the sales team, the cadence and type of meeting ranged from weekly 1:1s with each rep, to a monthly 1:1 with account executives. In each meeting though, the goals typically center on process review and problem identification and resolution.

While there wasn’t a consensus on how frequently they meet with their reps, one thing was unanimous: having a constant channel of communication is critical. With slack and text, reps and sales leadership are in constant communication.

Marketing and sales alignment is dependent on effective sale operations###

Regardless of how closely aligned sales and marketing operations are, it’s incredibly important to make sure both teams have the same interpretation of the data.

“It’s embarrassing when we look at the same metric and have a different interpretation of what it means,” said Ignacio.

To predict if a deal will close, look for telltale signs and know your rep’s methods###

The deal cycle can vary in size and duration. In sales operations, understanding the nuances of deal types and how individuals operate can mitigate the unpredictability.

Some deals, Ignacio explained are “Monte Carlo” deals - ones that are a great deal faster than average. Others, he explained require an “art of the deal" approach.

Depending on the type of deal, and individual rep, there are different things sales operations manager should look out for.

One thing to consider in “art of the deal” opportunities, is that they typically involve more stakeholders. Getting the right players involved at the right time, is critical to getting the deal across the finish line.

“If we don’t get to the right folks by Stage 3 or 4, we know the deal has a high likelihood of falling out of the pipeline,” said Ignacio.

Similarly, a larger deal that has a longer deal cycle will be more complex and involved. One thing to look out for here:

“If you know there are 22 things that have to happen to complete a deal and you haven’t accomplished them early enough, the deal might not close,” said Muellner.

A sure-fire way to mitigate the forecast inaccuracy? Constant and diligent analysis of metrics.

Stay tuned for our next Sales Operations Meetup! Next Month’s Theme? Quota and Commission Setting.

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