When Sales Ops Becomes Sales Prevention

During my entire tenure in sales I’ve been lucky to be a part of multiple different system implementations, leading some, and taking a testing role in others. Change is something that is fun to be a part of, and even better when the organization you’re with allows for input to help mold the processes that becomes the heart of the operation.

Sometimes however, you can end up caught up in a process that’s been developed by a single individual.  If this person isn’t open to input or feedback from the collective group it can not only make the implementation longer and more painful, it can also hinder the ability of the employees to perform their jobs at the same level they previously had been able to.

The entire idea of upgrading or changing systems is to provide a solution that is better for the organization as whole, not just an individual or individual department. Here’s a great example of a “what not to do” is a scenario that happens all too often in sales organizations.

Sales Operations brings in a new “leader” who defines a process internally based on his/her background from a previous employer. Perhaps this individual spent the majority of their tenure with single employer so they only understand a single way to do a process and it’s something they’re comfortable with so they push that process at their new company. They feel that since it worked at their previous organization for so many years then this is how they should do it at their new company. Also, because they have limited exposure to other methods they reject any feedback given to them regarding the project.

What could possibly go wrong with someone who comes in from an outside organization that doesn’t even understand your business, your culture, your systems, your employees and your customers dictating the process the company will be moving forward with all while rejecting input on the project from people who have already been a part of this business? EVERYTHING!

Not only does this typically result in a process that is convoluted and completely out of touch with a streamlined process, it creates contention with the people that understand the business and drive it forward. This is when Sales Operations actually turns into Sales Prevention.

In my career I’ve seen a simple three step process get dragged out into eleven steps. Instead of taking a sales rep 90 seconds to submit a request for an order form it takes 45 minutes! Does that sounds like an improvement? Of course not.

Just as customers become customers because of how simple their purchasing process is, sales folks close sales by how simple it is to get their prospect an order form. Focus on simplicity and listen to to the folks that have the experience and knowledge inside the organization before determining exactly what you’re rolling out in your next implementation and instead of preventing sales you might actually help your organization increase them.

What’s your experience with this?  Post your comments below.