Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

Dreamforce is a rare opportunity to be around so many other sales operations practitioners that are leading change in the field. Because of the sheer volume of sessions available, it’s crucial to go into Dreamforce with a clear plan of action. Having a purposeful plan of action and knowing the key questions that you want answered can make-or-break your experience.

Because the role of sales ops is so rapidly evolving, there is so much to learn and keep up with. To help out, we gathered some of the key areas of focus that we think sales ops leaders should be collaborating on this year at Dreamforce, and suggested some sessions where you can learn and discuss from the best.

1. As the field of sales ops moves from tactical to strategic, what do I need to do to keep up?

Sales ops is changing. Training reps in the tactical aspects of sales—prospecting, objection management, closing—used to be its primary focus. Today, that focus has expanded to looking beyond the immediate, short-term compulsion to sell. The aim now is to turn “strategy into revenue.”

While sales ops has had a strategic role to play at sales organizations since the 1980s, the shift today from short to long-term thinking is accelerating due to several factors:

  • The rise of digitization in the buyer’s journey
  • The increase in technology for reporting, forecasting, and predicting sales metrics
  • The shift in focus to customer success, or retention, as vital sales metrics

Sales ops leaders need to focus on growing the understanding and use of data to not only focus on gaining customers, but also retention and the entire customer journey.

To give you a jump-start on learning about this transition, here are a few sessions and networking events we recommend attending.

Prospecting: Paving a Path for Business-to-Business Growth

Identification and creation of a successful approach to prospecting is critical to ensuring your organization’s growth and success. Collaborate and share ideas to develop awareness for where leads come from, how to proactively engage, and ensure effort results in a robust pipeline. Join us to discuss how other customers have become successful through identifying and prospecting for new leads and managing your pipeline in Salesforce.

The State of Sales Ops: Brian Selby of McKinsey

Join us as McKinsey & Company Expert Partner, Brian Selby, shares how best practice companies, and Sales Ops teams in particular, are harnessing the power of data, advanced analytics, and digital technologies to drive breakthrough improvements in sales productivity.

Got Analytics? How to Build a Data Framework to Drive Revenue

Analytics is about making the best business decisions. According to Forrester, however, few businesses feel as if their marketing department is effective at leveraging data to make such decisions. Insightful marketing analytics can help companies to set and surpass goals, optimize marketing programs, and ultimately drive more revenue; but, this level of analysis can only be achieved by methodically aligning technology, marketing processes and business goals. This session will show you how to construct a data framework that enables your team to build an incisive ecosystem of analytics.

2. What are the most important skills needed for someone in sales ops to get ahead?

As the role of sales ops evolves, the exact function varies from company to company. Regardless of these variations, the ultimate goal of every sales operations team is consistent: maximize the efficiency of revenue generation.

Sales ops is, in many ways, is the bridge between the broader go-to-market strategy determined by the management team and the specific tactics used by the sales team to push forward to that goal.

How should we set quotas? What’s the best way to segment our sales team? What tools can we implement to make our sales team operate more efficiently? How can we repair breakage in our sales process to execute as effectively as possible?

In this rapidly evolving role, strategic mindsets, ability to drive momentum on cross-departmental projects, and effective communications with executives are all becoming increasingly important. Here are a few sessions and networking events we think will be a great place to discuss and learn about what sets great modern sales ops leaders apart and how you can be part of that crowd.

Sales Operations Superpowers

Once a fringe role player, sales operations executives and managers have become the essential backbone of highly effective sales teams. But sales ops is changing fast, touching everything from sales enablement to performance visibility, to technology product evaluation and beyond. Join us as RingDNA CEO Howard Brown introduces a panel of sales operations gurus from Datanyze, Xactly and CVent to reveal how high-functioning sales ops teams are playing key roles in fast-growing companies. There will be plenty of time for Q & A, so please bring your questions.

Write Powerful Communication to Get Your Stakeholder’s Attention

Do you frequently find yourself in situations where you need management approval, but it always takes forever to hunt them down? As an admin, you’re at the center of the business, so writing powerful communications to grab stakeholders’ attention is important for quickly driving change. Join us to learn tricks of the trade and get inspired to change the way you think about emails, Chatter posts, and your communications structure as a whole.

Fast Forward: Project Management Essentials

The sales profession needs an update. It’s more than just an updated approach or strategy document. It’s a fundamental shift in the way your entire organization functions. You need to be a customer-obsessed company, and that starts with sales. Join us to learn how modern sales is personal, data-driven, and customer-obsessed. It’s technology-enabled and hyper-effective. In today’s competitive landscape, your sales team can’t afford to fall behind.

3. What are the most effective ways to train internal sales teams on new tools and technologies?

As the amount of tools and technologies available to sales teams increases, the frequency and complexity of training involved for sales ops increases as well. Sales teams that succeed today do so because their sales operation teams arm their reps with the tools and training they need to win deals.

Effectively training reps, monitoring technology usage and adaptation of workflows, and continually making adjustments and improvements to these processes is crucial. Dreamforce is a great place to learn how to increase training effectiveness within your organization, and hear directly from other practitioners about their successes and failures.

Train End-Users for Faster Adoption

Join us for an intimate and interactive discussion with other customers to learn about end-user training techniques to increase Salesforce adoption and empower users in your company. We’ll focus on the framework used to design and deliver an effective end-user training program. We’ll discuss strategies on the five Ws, ways to develop a role-based curriculum, and explore ideas for delivering and measuring your training efforts.

Drive the Right Behavior Through Effective Management and Coaching Practices

Join us to learn how you can incorporate the collaboration and management coaching features and best practices during individual and team meetings to drive adoption and ensure your teams are using the tool effectively and efficiently.

Onboard, Train, Reinforce: Solve Sales Operations’ Biggest Challenges in 2017

Sales operations leaders play a crucial role in turning objectives into actionable plans that achieve sales growth. As the responsibilities of sales operations expand, you face increasing pressure to onboard talent quicker than ever, boost productivity, and arm your sales team with skills, knowledge, and motivation to deliver a winning customer experience. Join us to learn how senior leaders are solving some of the thorniest challenges you will face in 2017. Get first-hand knowledge on how to on-board and give sales the right tools to get them ramped up quickly, how to train continuously, and how to reinforce the right sales behaviors through incentives.

4. How are companies making the transition to account-based sales?

As we recently wrote about, if you’re a Salesforce.com user and are looking to shift towards ABM in your business, you have your work cut out for you before your sales and marketing teams can get to the fun stuff. Implementing an account-centric approach is far from easy. It requires making wholesale changes to how your sales and marketing teams target, work, and track success. On top of that, it necessitates a cultural shift across your organization, from top to bottom.

Operations teams area at the center of this transition, as it requires re-architecting your entire Salesforce instance to enable this new workflow and new way of thinking.

Don’t miss these sessions to hear the latest thinking around account-based sales best practices, and how other companies are making the shift.

The ABM Revolution: Why Sales and Marketing Will Never Be the Same

Geoffrey Kahler, Director, Digital and ABM, CenturyLink
Wendy White, Head of Global Campaigns, CenturyLink

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the hottest thing in B2B marketing right now. According to a 2016 SiriusDecisions report, 87% of today’s B2B marketers identify ABM as “very important” to their marketing efforts. Successful execution of an ABM strategy is contingent upon sales and marketing alignment around the accounts that matter most to an organization. In this session, Peter Isaacson, CMO of Demandbase, will bring Wendy White, Head of Global Business Campaigns at CenturyLink, and Geoff Kahler, Director of Marketing at CenturyLink, to discuss how CenturyLink’s Enterprise marketing team is working with Demandbase to deliver actionable insights to the sales team directly within Salesforce. We will share results from the first 3-months, 6-months and 9-months since deployment.

The First Steps to Successful Account-Based Marketing

Have you heard the buzz about account-based marketing (ABM)? Maybe you’ve even dipped your toe into the #ABM waters. Join us as Terminus CMO & co-founder, #FlipMyFunnel originator, and “Account-Based Marketing For Dummies” author, Sangram Vajre, and Jim Hopkins of Salesforce Data.com share the reasons why ABM is the best strategy for B2B companies. Learn how to unlock the first door to ABM: gathering the right data to create winning target account lists.

Process Automation Makeover: Transform Multiple Workflows into One Process

Are you stuck in an automation style rut? Wish you could do away with unsightly workflow views cluttered by hard-to-manage rules with similar purpose? Does your org suffer from slow record-saving time performance because you’re near the active workflow limit? Join us as we show you step-by-step how to update your business processes with the Lightning Process Builder. Learn how you can point-and-click your way to transforming all your unfashionable workflow rules into fashionable processes.

Andrew Tate
Andrew Tate is a UK-born, US-based writer. He spent 10 years working as a scientist in labs around the world and now specializes in using data to tell stories.
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