A Valentine for Sales Operations


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Consider the largest problem that is hurting your sales organization.  It’s so big that, with it festering, the organization will never hit its number.  It could be a declining market.  Maybe an irrelevant product set.  Perhaps it’s talent and the inability to develop it.  Or, however unlikely, it might be your sales leadership.

Chances are you’ve researched possible solutions.  You may have done an inventory of your organization.  You know who you can trust to handle and how quickly they can move.  In this review, gaps in your team’s expertise may indicate you need outside help.  Even still, the business case predicts a strong return.

Then, while your executive team was working through these options, the momentum stalled.  Do we bet the farm here?  Do we scale back the scope? Can we wait or do we need results now?  It boils down to risk.  Sales Operations should provide, from early in the analysis, a detailed risk assessment.  The team needs to exhaustively review all potential liabilities.  With a plan to mitigate these risks, the executive team is more likely to take action.

This Risk Overview tool makes the perfect Valentine for that special Sales Ops colleague.  Download the tool to ensure you’ve got your bases covered.  Then, send it to Sales Ops to let them know you’re thinking of them.

The Risk Overview digs into the 4 types of risk.  There are tangible benefits to having a clear understanding of each type of risk.


Every sales transformation will come with execution risk.  The most common examples revolve around an unclear project objective.  The Risk Overview helps you determine the right objective.  It will steer you towards creating an objective that is attainable and measurable.  Execution risk is highest at the field level, so preparing the field is crucial.  The output may be a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).  The WBS lists the key deliverables and activities essential to nailing the project objective. 


This risk derails a sales transformation more often than any other.  It sounds good but fails when the rubber hits the road.  There’s no connective tissue to bring the strategy down to real world implications.    The Risk Overview will ensure your scope, timing and implementation plans align.  A common output is a timeline with milestones to keep the team on pace. 


You create the perfect process.  You implement the flashy new CRM system.  The risk is it simply won’t be accepted by the field.  Most likely because it is not understood by the field.  Battling the status quo is difficult enough.  When the sales team does not understand how the plan benefits them, it’s over.  An effective communication strategy can be the output of your analysis.  Ensuring everyone is in lock step across the country is essential. 


Of course, there are also financial risks.  Will the money be well spent?  Will we see the return necessary?  There have to be financial goals for the project.  You will need to build a sound business case to gain agreement.  A feasibility analysis is an integral part of this process.  This ensures that costs and benefits are optimized.

A stalled project is heartbreaking.  It’s hard to rebuild momentum.  As a Sales Ops leader, focusing on risk early will unearth issues early.  The Risk Overview tool will keep the entire team in the loop.  Download it and send it to sales ops today.  It will be one less heartache for the organization.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Kearney
John Kearney serves as Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a sales and marketing consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies exceed their revenue targets. John has helped organizations implement Talent Development and Sales Process programs that have led to revenue growth of 20% and increased efficiencies within the sales team.


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