Sales operations best practices - Closing the sales to revenue gap

by Alex Ortiz, VP Marketing Tray.io

Sales ops best practices need to include integration and automation

As an operations expert, you’ve already developed a full playbook of sales operations best practices that covers how you assign and track opportunities, close deals, and report revenue. Frankly, as someone who has been observing the rapid proliferation of new operations software intended to make your best practices even better over the years, I don’t envy you. This is why I’ll be presenting a specific and proven approach to ops to save time and turn closed-won deals into revenue faster in our upcoming webinar, “Automate to accelerate: Close the sales to revenue gap” featuring Udemy’s senior manager of sales and marketing operations, Sean Passanisi.

Like I mentioned, there’s no shortage of shiny new toys that purport to make your life easier, and to be fair, several of them do. However, having spoken to countless ops experts myself, I’m willing to bet there’s a good chance there might still be operational gaps in the important processes you work on every day...gaps that might be keeping you up at night.

The biggest gap in revenue operations today: Your tech stack

What are these gaps, and why do they exist? One of the most challenging gaps in modern operations is a direct consequence of all these exciting new software products. Kleiner Perkins reports that the average sales organization uses 43 different cloud-based applications and that the average marketing organization uses a whopping 91(!).

Yet for all their best-in-class functionality, none of these applications offer customizable native integrations. Or, to put it in plain English, these applications don’t play nicely with each other the way you need them to. Sure, each one may do great things with your data for leads, opportunities, pricing, and deal sizes - in and of themselves.

However, none of them are particularly good at actually flowing that mission-critical data among themselves so that you can get it to your revenue teams rapidly, consistently, and in a way that’s actually a fit for you. At best, you may find a few out-of-the-box integrations that provide the most basic point-to-point integrations - but you’ll be hard-pressed to find any that can actually deliver your data in a way that’s customized to the way your company does business, such as transforming data to correct formatting or populating custom CRM fields. In other words, the stuff you actually need to do your job.

The hidden operations gap: Manual labor

This lack of custom integrations usually leads to another key pain point for operations. Even though each individual software application they use may do a great job, the important revenue data you’ve run through each one effectively gets stuck in a silo. As a result, it’s still common for many ops professionals to resort to manual labor to get their data from Point A to Point B.

Consider the challenge of not having a customized integration that helps your CRM properly sync data with your customer feedback platform, to flag high Net Promoter Score (NPS) accounts as potential upsells and low NPS scores as churn risks. Or, not having a custom integration that can sync monthly invoice data from your payment processing solution to populate the customized fields you use in your CRM to track payment and contract status?

Are these challenges starting to sound familiar?

You may recall the last time you or your team members had to manually manage data in a copy-and-paste spreadsheet because your tech stack wasn’t quite up to snuff. You know how this movie ends: investing hours of labor every month, encountering human errors that lead to inconsistent data formatting, wrangling with versioning issues, and a big drag on productivity for everyone, overall. (This includes your sales team, whose priority is to sell, not to play spreadsheet jockey.) With all due respect, this isn’t exactly the best place for an operations team to be.

The benefits of integration and automation

This is why Aberdeen Group reports that best-in-class revenue teams are 74% more likely to have a strongly-integrated tech stack. Perhaps not surprisingly, the research firm also reported powerful results for organizations that take the next step beyond integrating their cloud stack to incorporate automation to replace error-prone manual labor. In fact, Aberdeen reports that organizations that automate their tech stack grow revenue 2.2x faster and capture profits that are nearly 3x higher than those that don’t.

Those might sound like some very impressive theoretical figures from an analyst firm. But I’m guessing you’re more interested in something you can put into practice. Join me and Udemy’s senior manager of sales and marketing operations to go over exactly how the education leader used seamless cloud integrations and powerful automated workflows to tackle its operations challenges. Udemy used integration and automation to save 20+ hours of non-revenue labor per month and thousands of dollars in cold, hard cash...but most importantly of all, it freed up its sales team to actually go out there and sell. Register for our webinar and learn how you can add integration and automation to your sales operations best practices.

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