Sales Operations has become a must-have in business. As the Sales function becomes more strategic, taking its rightful place at the boardroom table, organisations are facing market pressures to shape up and become customer-ready for a more demanding customer-base and a sales function that is rapidly changing in structure, approach and focus. Talmix independent consultant Marissa, tells us why the traditional hiring cycle has changed and why organisations are ramping up with a stronger, more strategic, integrated salesforce
“The Sales Operations function slots in firmly within a Sales function – and is often at the right-hand of the Head of Sales. Typically the science, numbers and metrics behind a sales function, Sales Operations is responsible for anything from market analysis, territory planning, compensation design and forecast management through to productivity, sales enablement, resource structure etc,” Marissa tells me.
Marissa hails from a series of globally-renowned, hugely influential organisations including the likes of Dell EMC, BAE and Accenture where her experience includes heading up Sales Operations functions across various territories and driving sales productivity for a $120 million turnover business. When it comes to Sales Operations, Marissa is the go-to person that many organisations choose.
How has this function evolved?
“Sales Operations as a function used to be very much a position that existed within high tech software companies. But we now see a much wider range of industries and vertical markets embracing the importance of this type of role. My clients have involved companies within the Pharma, Automotive and Travel industries – all who which are starting to take lessons from these high-tech software businesses who have traditionally been at the vanguard of sales,” she says.
And Marissa goes on to share how the sales function continues to change. “Immature Sales Operations organisations are often a reactive, report-producing, fire-fighting function – but with the pressures of an increasingly complex selling environment, educated customer-base, and much more switched-on, younger Millennial sales teams, the Sales Operations function at its best it’s a very strategic function within an overall business structure”.
Switched-on, focussed – but stuck in the dark ages.
We discuss the increasing trend of seeing Millennials occupy key sales positions in a developing market space. “Millennials, in less than 5 years, will be half of the total sales force. And they are switched-on, independent individuals who will very quickly find a new opportunity if they’re not challenged enough within their workforce. They wake up in Hive-controlled homes, book transport using an app on their phone, Amazon tells the what to buy, Social Media delivers the latest news instantly – and then they arrive at a workplace which appears to be stuck in the dark ages – and completely different to the rest of their normal lives. HR functions have a tough job to get organisations ready for a developing and evolving workforce – and the Sales Operations function is just one function that is facing its own evolution”, she adds.
With an evolving way of working, buying decisions, especially in the B2B space, are becoming more and more complex. Marissa tells me that organisations are having to contend with incredibly smart, educated buyers who are often very far down their sales cycle and the art of a truly unified sales function is being able to understand where prospective customers are in that cycle, and having the foresight to engage early and be front-of-mind. “Not only that”, she says, “Prospects continue to self-serve their own information gathering – which means that sales needs to shape up quickly – and understand the market in order to step in when needed in order to secure and support a realistic pipeline”.
So, why Marissa?
Marissa is hyper-organised and is set on keeping herself up to date on market trends and business insight. She’s worked within the sales function and with sales organisations for many years and understands how to enable productive, healthy sales teams. But there’s one thing about Marissa that sets her slightly apart, she works quickly to identify issues and gets solving them right away, unafraid of challenging the status quo. She is a big believer in formalising sales transformation projects and coaching through documenting process and activity which deliver results. She believes in giving back when expecting someone or a team to do something. She believes that driving change within any organisation is a 2-way street where transformation is not dependent on an individual agenda, but rather on the best strategic decisions that drive sales, enables them to achieve, and helps them to sell more.
For an opportunity to work with Marissa, and make use of her expertise – get in touch with your Talmix representative today.
About the Author
Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.More Content by Katy Roberts