7 Steps to Earn Your Sales Operations Blackbelt

If you work in sales operations, you know there’s a big difference between being able to create a basic sales report and having true mastery over your craft. It takes years to be able to call yourself a true sales operations blackbelt, due to the sheer complexity of building, managing and optimizing a full-fledged sales teams. To be the hub of the team, you’ll need to excel at peering through the fog of data as well as manage people with tact. You have many jobs and each one is equally important. Follow the steps below to earn your sales operations blackbelt:

Take Control of the Data

Learn to be adept at selecting the most important data to your team and figuring out how to capture it in a way that enables useful insight. It’s your job to make sure your team’s data is clean, complete, and accurate.

Become an Analytics Expert

The analysis of sales data is the best path to find ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of a team. As a sales operations blackbelt, you must find out how the best performers in their company close their deals, what type of customers are most receptive to different types of outreach, points in the sales cycle where deals are getting stuck, and how to improve in all these areas.

Build Your Toolbox

Your sales team relies on you to equip them with the tools they need to sell effectively and your company’s executive team will demand insight from you that requires you to have your own set of sophisticated tools. CRM and other applications must be holistically integrated to create an effective and efficient system that enables both of these goals. Create your ecosystem of tools with an emphasis on scalability and value.

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Learn to Report

Most CRM deployments are effective out-of-the box’s only as a framework to collect data from your sales team. But in order for you to turn this raw sales data into value for your company, you need to organize and communicate it effectively. To earn your sales operations blackbelt, you need to be able to create compelling reports that boil down and visualize the sales cycle. Arm your company’s leadership with the information they need to quickly and effectively respond to challenges in the market and drive growth.

Create Excellent Contracts

Your team can’t sell without the actual transaction contracts for your product. These are your responsibility and why you will want to set up a deal desk. Negotiations can change directions quickly so this must be an agile process. You need to be aware of both competitor pricing and the actual ROI your customers are getting from your product to create contracts that will be enticing to customers as well as satisfy the revenue needs of your company.

Manage the Process

At the end of the day, your role in your company is to set a sales team up for success. The process of generating and closing your pipeline needs to be seamless and efficient, and ensure that every lead is worked as effectively as possible. It’s far too common to hear sales development teams complain that leads are weak or scarce, or to hear account executives complain that fumbled handoffs from sales development reps lead to lost deals. Solve this problem for your company, and you’ll have earned your sales operations blackbelt.

Compensate the Team

Sales operations managers are usually in charge of setting up the compensation plans for their teams, especially in early-stage companies. It’s tempting to add many layers of complexity to the compensation plans of sales teams, as their success is highly measurable and tied directly to the success of the company. But the more complicated the plan, the less likely sales reps will be to follow it. The best compensation plans are ones that directly incentivize success for each role, tie in team success, and are easily trackable by both rep and manager.

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