5 ways sales ops can improve their value to sales.

Value, it’s an interesting word.  Can be interpreted many different ways.  There is one way it is interpreted in the world of B2B marketing – are you helping to make your sales team sell more, faster and do they recognize it?

Value drives respect and longevity.  Respect in terms of you being recognized as an important part of the team.  Longevity with regard to you keeping budgets and jobs when times get tough.

Here are some tips on how you can improve your value to your sales team.  Implement them in the order that they are listed.

1.    Sales is your customer.  Marketing should treat sales like a customer.  Yes, you read that right.  Sales is the recipient of marketing’s demand generation investments.  Listening to the customer is paramount to success.  What if your company did not listen to its customers?  How success would you be?  Take the time to truly listen to their needs.  Interview sales reps and managers to determine how you can improve your level of service.  Then, develop short-term plans to deliver on those needs. 

2.    Be a sales performance data guru.  You will have a ton of wonderful data on hand.  Learning what data you need and how to unlock the data and operationalize it will take you to a whole new level.  Access to data will help you be proactive.  Seeing challenges and recommending solutions to those challenges will help to drive your value.  Invest in simple, efficient and affordable data mining and diagnostic tools that give you one-click access to data and doesn’t require a PHD to understand.  We’re not talking about lead management data that is above the funnel.  You need to get your hands on the sales stage-to-stage key performance indicators that are locked away in your CRM system.  It’s the good stuff.  Conversion rates, source and campaign leakage, age by stage and key sales behaviors are all critical data points you need to succeed.  You can even track your lead scores through your sales process to determine which score ranges work best for your sales team.  This is the critical information you can use to improve your marketing investment strategy and the overall quality of leads.

3.    Understand that sales is your business.  You need to know as much about your sales process, pipeline and performance as your sales team does.  When you do this, you and sales will be on the same page.  You will speak their language, understand their business and have an inside view on what you can do to help them.  Get a seat at the table.  If you are a regional marketing operations manager and you are not actively participating in weekly team sales meetings, get in the meetings and on the agenda.  Not being seen and heard will only result in your failure.

4.    Run your organization like a business.  You deliver a set of services to your sales team.  Provide a list of services that you offer along with service level agreements.  Promote the services that you deliver.  When and how you deliver them and how they can order them.  Review the results on your weekly sales team meeting.  When you have access to the sales performance data, you will have access to the results as well.

5.    Do more for others than you would ask of them to do for you.  With a solid foundation of value in place, it’s time to over deliver.  You will need just as much information and help from your sales team as they need from you.  Dealing with sales people requires skills in manipulation.  It’s about understanding behavior and how to get people to do what they don’t want to do.  Like timely follow up on qualified leads that were converted to opportunities or properly filling out CRM fields that give you deeper insight into your lead and campaign performance.  If you are constantly offering and delivering assistance to sales, when you need help or information in return, they are more likely to be there for you.

 

In the grand scheme of things, we all know that sales and marketing have the same goal.  To sell more, faster and do so as efficiently as possible.  Acquiring customers is a journey.  Along that journey, marketing can have significant impact on the business of selling.  It all has to start with setting the foundation of value and delivering that value.  Take five minutes today and look for one or two ways you can implement some of these tips.  It will be a valuable use of your time.