The end of year can often be a stressful, exciting, and chaotic time of year for a sales organization. Passion runs high as the year comes to a close and we get closer to hitting our goals. It’s also a great time for retrospectives and planning for the year to come. As the sales team does everything they can to hit their numbers, it’s important that we (sales ops) do everything we can to help them cross the finish line. Here are a few things sales operations can do to help the team hit their number this year and next:
Depending on how your team’s structured there is probably some sort of sales support function underneath the umbrella of sales operations. Whether it’s a deal desk, RFP team or just technical support in most cases this falls under our team. If you’re in one of these roles, or manage a team like this, the number one thing you can do for your sales team at end of year is be available. This may mean being on call, or working longer hours than usual. Additionally, if you do lead a support team, ensure you make clear to them and sales far ahead of time their end of year schedule. Nothing kills morale more than a surprise, “You’re working until 12 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.”
Don’t Change Anything
If you’re like me and responsible for Salesforce and other systems functionality I’d highly recommend you block off the last two weeks or so of every quarter as a no-deploy zone. I’d also include any general process changes that may or may not be in systems as well. Bug fixes are always ok but deploying any major functionality towards EoQ or EoY is a recipe for disaster. There’s always a chance you inadvertently create a bug or break some existing functionality. Mistakes happen, just try to avoid them at these crucial times. We want to avoid the systems getting in the way of their ability to close deals.
We all have processes, roles, and responsibilities that we try to stick to. It should be clear who is responsible for what in closing a deal and entering data into the system. While I’m all for playing by an agreed upon set of rules, its ok to bend them towards EoY. For example, one of your reps major responsibilities may be entering the products into the system. Any other time of year we should be directing them to do so, but if it’s the eleventh hour and a surprise deal popped up that they’re scrambling to get out the door, we can be flexible and do it for them.
As the year comes to a close, you should have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done on the sales ops end for Q1. Capacity planning, territory management, quota assignments, process changes, etc. All of these should be discussed and work should begin prior to Q1. If you find yourself thinking that you don’t know what’s due Q1, it may be time to have a quick chat about the next year’s sales process and any big changes your team expects to see.