How Sales Operations SOPs can Automate the Sales Department !!!

In the past, Sales Operations was only known crunching numbers and providing data insights to sales reps on the ground. Today, however, the scope of sales operations is broader, as it is defined as any set of activities within an organization that support, enable and drive the front line sales team to sell better, faster and with efficiency. The most integral element about sales operation is that it brings a system into selling. This is often overlooked by many organizations, but sales operation continues to drive strategy backed by data, brings in best practices for training and utilizes technology to streamline the sales process. Because of the kind of impact, it has on established and matured organizations, it has become an indispensable and strategic department especially in the SaaS (software-as-a-service) and B2B Sales space.     This write-up seeks to interest readers on how developing SOPs for processes associated with sales operations can pave way for automation within the sales department. The effort here is to spell out a systematic approach to sales operations through standardization and documentation (SOPs), which will allow the sales department to function in the most seamless fashion.

SOPs for Processes Associated with Sales Operations

Let’s list out critical processes associated with sales operations and how SOPs will allow the automation of the sales department. Here we go:

I. Lead Management

This refers to the process of capturing, tracking and monitoring the behaviour of leads in order to qualify them as sales-ready before passing them to the on-field sales team. It may sound simple on paper but in reality, it can be quite complex, when the lead volume is high and it is vital to classify leads according to the likelihood of getting converted. There are four stages to lead management, which are:
  • Lead Capture
  • Lead Tracking
  • Lead Distribution
  • Lead Qualification
  • Lead Nurturing
In each of these above stages, there is an element of ambiguity, starting from lead capture since it becomes impractical to track all leads that are coming in. By standardization through SOPs, there will be clarity on the process of lead capture. The same applies to the stages that follow and in each stage pre-defined procedures can map out a course wherein only qualified leads get considered. In the last stage of lead nurturing, SOPs will come in handy to pursue the lead into the future, which does not seem interested presently.

II. Deal Management

This is the process of defining the parameters that would influence the deal-making process. This would include discount level, product status, customer history and operational constraints. By considering these, the company increases chances of accomplishing their business objectives such as margins, revenue and market share. By standardizing the entire process with SOPs, the sales operations team will have clarity on parameters that need to be considered or omitted on a case-by-case basis. This improves the efficiency of the entire process and creates conditions for optimized deal-making through a structured approach. In such a scenario, deal management improves the chances of a company to increase margins and revenue.

III. Sales Forecasting

This is about forecasting sales which allow companies to make informed business decisions and helps the prediction of short and long term performance. Established companies take the help of past sales data and the existing market conditions to carry out forecasting. While new business outfits depend on data-driven market research and competitive intelligence. In both cases, companies can be at an advantage if they are able to adhere to a structured methodology for forecasting. Following a set of pre-defined factors will allow accurate forecasting. This will help banish any element of guesswork associated with the process and forecasting results will be based on a validated data-driven approach.

IV. Sales Data Management

It is primarily a sales approach where data plays a critical role in making decisions. Starting from lead prospecting to people management to churn reduction and even pricing gets determined by data. By far it is known to improve the productivity among sales reps by reducing the time spent on prospects who are not considered a good fit or are disinterested. On the whole, it allows the company to become more profitable in the long run.   While there may be several approaches to analyze sales data and making decisions. If the entire process gets structured around a systematic and standardized process through SOPs, it will be advantageous for the company. By understanding the most optimum path to analyze data will allow the company to make the best sales decisions. Moreover, by creating a ‘live’ SOP document will allow the methodology to be improved incrementally with time equipping the company with the most optimum methodology for sales data management.

V. Sales Operations Team Structure

Normally companies would have a sales operations manager who will handle sales operation analysts and sales operations reps. The manager himself will be reporting to VP-Sales. In most cases, the scope and responsibilities of the sales operation team get vaguely defined and it is often seen that direct intervention from VP-Sales becomes essential for acceptance and implementation of new ideas. This type of scenario can be done away with through process manuals that would clearly define the scope and responsibilities of a sales operation team. A sales playbook can help the sales operation to function to their full potential and bring in the benefits to the organization for which it was created in the first place. Besides this, it will make it easier for the sales operations team to collaborate with different departments with the organization for seamless functioning.

VI. Sales Analytics

This refers to the process of measuring, analyzing and managing sales data. Through analytics, a business will have a better understanding of sales data, what the data means and allows detection of recurring patterns within the available data set. This will translate to better decision-making about customers, market opportunities, sales team performance and product lines. Further, sales analytics will allow the leadership to prioritize sales activities allowing increased efficiency, revenue and growth. While there is any number of tools available to analyze data, in most sales-driven organizations there is a lack of a standard methodology for sales analytics. Even if there is a standard methodology in place, it is seen lacking in several critical parameters that are a must in line with emerging market conditions. The solution for such a situation is the incorporation of an SOP document that will serve as the guiding document for sales analytics. The SOP will ensure the methodology gets updated on a timely basis to accommodate the most current parameters in order for the results to remain most relevant.

Why BPX is best suited to frame Sales Operations SOPs?

BPX (Business Process Xperts) comes with the experience and the expertise for devising sales operation SOPs for all organizations where sales remain an integral business activity. We have in-house experts who are academically trained to understand the sales process and formulate SOPs in accordance with the needs of the specific business. Our purpose of creating SOPs is to make the sales process smoother, without it becoming a piece of document which is written and forgotten altogether. We place special emphasis on creating automation with SOPs for organizations that seamlessly gets integrated with the existing IT systems to make it an implementable solution which is not just on-paper. Our effort with SOPs has seen numerous businesses make the transition into systematic and well-structured profitable ventures which attribute their success to the creation and implementation of SOPs. At BPX we relentlessly strive for our clients to function to their optimum potential through an SOP-led approach that delivers tangible results.       

Author Bio


Rupal Agarwal

Chief Strategy Officer
Dr. Rupal’s “Everything is possible” attitude helps achieve the impossible. Dr. Rupal Agarwal has worked with 300+ companies from various sectors, since 2012, to custom-build SOPs, push their limits and improve performance efficiency. Rupal & her team have remarkable success stories of helping companies scale 10X with business process standardization.

Leave a Comment