Measuring Success in Sales Operations

Guest blog by Joe Rodden, Sales Systems Manager at Catalant Technologies

In sales operations, we do a lot. Putting out reactive fires, supporting reps, managing territories, reporting, building new functionality and processes in the CRM, and much more. However, trouble may come in actually measuring our success in these things. A sales team typically has a quota so their success is easily measurable, but how do you measure your success?

Small Tasks: Track Your Work

If the success of any given item of work for your team is to answer yes or no to the question, “Was it done?” then I’d highly recommend some sort of ticketing system that support email to ticket creation and reporting. In fact, I’d recommend it for your own sanity and tracking purposes either way. JIRA is my favorite but other software such as Service Cloud works well too. There is typically a portion of a sales operators work that is relatively consistent day to day, help requests from sales, maybe data reviews, or deal desk requests. For these we have four metrics: number of requests completed, time to completion, customer satisfaction, and unique users submitting tickets. This is designed to answer: How much? How quickly? How well? and Do our customers know how to reach us?

JIRA is pretty simple to report on and measure the number complete and unique users submitting tickets. For Time to Completion, I would recommend avoiding the trap of having your team “log their time” and just go off of the created to closed field. It’s a big time waster to have the sales operations team that is handling the tickets manually log their time. For customer satisfaction, there are tons of survey tools out there from Google Forms to Survey Monkey, pick your favorite and periodically poll your customers.

Big Projects: Make Sure Your Goals Are SMART

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-related. It’s a framework commonly used in project management goal setting. You’ll want to use these for any projects you have. That’s enough jargon, what does it actually mean? It means goals that you can measure against that are related to a specific problem, and are happening by a certain date. Not everything we do in sales operations will fall into this bucket but if you’re not currently doing this on a quarterly basis you’re doing yourself a disservice. You should also be able to relate these back to specific objectives and key results, company goals, or departmental goals.

Example of a goal you can’t track: Improve rep productivity. You can’t measure how much you did that, it’s not specific as it doesn’t contain anything about the how, and you’re not setting a specific timeframe to do so.

Example of a Smart goal: Be ready to migrate to Lightning Experience by Q1 2018 by ensuring all core functionality still works and 10 beta users are actively using the system. This has two specific success factors that are easily measured. 1) Does Salesforce still work? and 2) Do we have 10 beta users actively using lightning? (Sidenote: You can download packages to report on a given user’s preferred Salesforce UI). This also has a deadline of Q1 2018. Also since it’s almost December the goal states “be ready to migrate” which is more realistic and achievable than “migrated”.

Report Requests: Tie Into Sales Metrics

Some reports will definitely fall into the bucket of “Small Tasks” and that’s fine, there’s always going to be ad hoc requests. To measure the success of reporting, I’m more concerned with the dashboards we create for reporting that are designed to be used on an ongoing basis. We’ll want to consider two measurements: 1) Are people using the dashboard?” and 2) Is it driving the behavior we want?

The first one is self-explanatory, most systems have some way for you to tell how often a dashboard is being run. If we spend time making one and no one uses it, then we didn’t roll it out correctly or there’s something about it that users aren’t finding useful, go find out.

I’m of the school of thought that reports should not just be for “neat learnings,” but for things that you take action on. If there is an action for someone to take based on that dashboard, or report then we need to measure that action. Did it increase after the report was rolled out? For example, say you’ve created a dashboard to show every contact who has bought from you in the past, the point would be to have sales follow up with them to drive more business. So we should get a baseline of activities to those people before the dashboard, and then measure activities logged against them afterwards. Voila! Specific stats on how well your report worked. This is an easy example but get creative and get in the habit of finding out beforehand, “If we make this report, what behavior do you expect to change?”