By Katie McDonald, Director of Sales Operations and Enablement at Upland Qvidian
Recently, Qvidian hosted a webinar called “Sales Evolution via Savvy Automation” featuring our CEO, Lewie Miller, and Aberdeen analyst Andrew Moravick. As a long-time head of sales operations, I was interested to see what guidance the presenters had to help organizations streamline the sales process.
One of the points Andrew made early on really resonated with me. He said, “The old ways come with delays,” then went on to explain that all too often, organizations rely on sales teams to use sheer muscle power to push deals through. We’re not smoothing the way for sales to win deals—we’re slowing them down because we haven’t helped them address obstacles around legal and compliance requirements, product configurations and similar issues.
In order to improve, organizations need to start with an accurate picture of the current state. Then sales teams can decide what they need to achieve and which changes will offer the greatest return. Lewie suggested mapping out the actions at each stage of the sales process to understand which are repeatable. Once you identify those, it becomes clear what you can and need to automate.
Andrew and Lewie agreed that when companies decide to invest in automation tools, they need to focus on basic areas first. Start by aligning people, process, and technology to provide some level of consistency—then worry about the rest. Lewie explained that when organizations don’t succeed with technology implementations, it’s often because they don’t understand the patterns and areas they need to focus on. He suggested that businesses should plan to manage the exceptions, while automating the masses.
From a sales operations perspective, this makes perfect sense. While sales reps can make a case that every deal is different, there are clear patterns within each business–the majority of your deals will fall within those parameters.
For example, if you sell software, at a certain point most prospects are going to want a demo. In every deal, you’re going to have to provide pricing for the specific product/services you’re offering. You’re probably going to have to overcome some objections by various decision-makers. If you find the commonalities across the bulk of your deals, you can make sure your sales team is equipped to address these scenarios efficiently and effectively. You can put a process in place and potentially automate elements of that process, finding the tools that work best for your organization.
Once you do that, you’re not just removing bottlenecks but also helping your salespeople work more efficiently. You’re becoming more competitive, moving toward greater levels of sales effectiveness. What sales organization doesn’t want that?
For additional insight on how to automate key components of your sales operations, you can view the full webinar here.