For sales operations managers looking to improve performance, leveraging an outside business process management consultant can help identify and address inefficiencies. Sales workflows often need to be more precise over time, leading to bottlenecks, redundant work, and blurred lines of responsibility. A consultant takes an objective view of processes end-to-end to spotlight areas for optimization. Rather than getting stuck in day-to-day execution, an experienced process expert can analyze root causes and design improved workflows. This frees up sales ops leaders to focus on high-level strategy while benefiting from an outsider’s perspective on operations. The following 10 ways provide practical examples of how consulting engagement can review sales processes, systems, and organization to boost productivity, increase conversion rates, and accelerate growth.

1. Review sales processes and identify inefficiencies.

– Delays in proposal approvals extending sales cycles
– Lack of handoff from marketing to sales slowing lead follow-up
– Redundant data entry across multiple systems

Pros and Cons:
Streamlining the proposal approval process can significantly quicken deal velocity by removing bottlenecks that stall transactions. However, balancing proper reviews is crucial to avoid risk of unvetted proposals and maintain compliance. Marketing and sales alignment on lead handoff can promote faster follow-up but a clear handoff strategy is needed to prevent mismanaged leads and dropped balls between teams. Consolidating data entry systems reduces duplication of efforts but presents technology hurdles in integrating platforms and ensuring adoption across sales teams wedded to their tools.

2. Help define and optimize lead-to-cash.

– Map workflows from marketing to sales development to account management
– Identify and fix gaps between teams
– Set up automation to facilitate handoffs

Pros and Cons:
End-to-end workflow mapping provides visibility into process constraints and opportunities for efficiency gains. However, it requires intensive stakeholder meetings and analysis to complete. Fixing collaboration gaps across functional teams can promote engagement and speed but managing agreement between many stakeholders is difficult. Marketing may resist perceived encroachment from sales. Automating handoff points through workflows and triggers can save sales reps substantial time over manual tasks. But it relies on clean underlying data flows to trigger properly.

3. Analyze conversion rates and find improvements.

– Demo-to-sales conversion rates
– Rates from free trial to purchase
– Lead scoring to sales qualified lead conversion

Pros and Cons:
Optimizing product demos and free trials to maximize conversion has clear bottom line impact but requires multivariate testing to pinpoint which content and messaging performs. Better lead scoring provides focus for sales reps to prioritize higher potential opportunities. But predictive models have limitations, struggle with sparse data sets, and data hygiene is crucial.

4. Evaluate sales tools and systems.

– Consolidate dated CRM systems into a new platform
– Identify feature gaps in current tools
– Recommend sales enablement and content management systems

Pros and Cons:
A unified CRM platform with embedded workflows can align technology to sales processes for efficiency. But major change management efforts are required for user adoption without slowing productivity. Gaps in existing tools should be filled but building custom solutions can be prohibitively expensive. Investing in sales content systems increases asset reuse and consistency in messaging. But it requires extensive training and content population efforts.

5. Design territory and quota planning methodology.

– Data-driven approach factoring market potential
– Alignment to overall company growth goals
– Setting quotas based on historic deal sizes

Pros and Cons:
Factoring market potential and projections ties territory and quota planning to data-driven growth forecasts. But theoretical models differ from on-the-ground realities. Aligning planning to overall company goals provides consistency but volatility and market shifts happen. Quotas based on historic deal sizes encourage realistic goals but are backward-looking rather than forward-leaning.

6. Develop playbooks and training.

– Onboarding checklist for new hires
– Pitching, demos, renewals playbooks
– Ongoing product training programs

Pros and Cons:
Onboarding checklists enable consistent ramp up but require customization by sales role. Playbooks drive standardization in processes but room should exist for adaptive situational selling. Ongoing training builds product and solution proficiency but takes time away from selling activities. Gamification improves engagement.

7. Create mechanisms for continuous improvement.

– Automated data reporting dashboards
– Win/loss analysis of missed deals
– Feedback loops with customer advisory boards

Pros and Cons:
Automated dashboards create real-time visibility efficiently but quality input data accuracy is a must. Win/loss analysis provides helpful hindsight on missed opportunities but has limited strategic direction. Customer advisory boards offer real-world insights from the source but are time-intensive to manage properly for maximum value.

8. Establish metrics and reports.

– Sales activity and pipeline health metrics
– Dashboards with key sales KPIs
– Automated sales forecasting and reporting

Pros and Cons:
Activity metrics provide fundamentals but lack predictive power on their own. KPI dashboards inform leadership but require rigorous data governance. Automated reporting improves efficiency but models may lack real-world variables that impact forecast reliability.

9. Facilitate collaboration between teams.

– Marketing provides qualified leads to account managers
– Customer service shares renewal risks with account reps
– Enhanced communication between managers and reps

Pros and Cons:
Marketing and sales alignment is positive if lead definitions and handoffs are clear. Full customer visibility helps account managers prioritize but risks info overload. Increased transparency via communication and knowledge sharing is good but more meetings eat into selling time.

10. Assess organizational structure and skills gaps.

– Determine need for specialized pricing roles
– Identify gaps for sales engineers vs generalist reps
– Evaluate proficiency in selling to vertical industries

Pros and Cons:
Specialized roles like pricing bring strategic focus but add headcount costs. Right-skilling for complexity balances generalists and industry experts but can create skill silos. Vertical expertise assists deals but deep recruiting efforts and compensation for niche skills has tradeoffs.

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