SBI Podcast

Joining us for today’s show is Chris Fris, an executive who knows a thing or two about driving aggressive revenue growth. Today’s topic is focused on how Sales Operations enables the sales plan.  During our discussion, Chris and I leverage our workbook, so flip to the Sales Operations phase on page 314 of the PDF to follow along. 

Chris is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of sales operations.  For those of you who have followed John Gleason’s successful career at Ryder as Chief Sales Officer, Chris is the man behind the scenes enabling revenue growth. Successful sales operations leaders like Chris interface with the functional groups within your company to enable the sales plan to be successful.

As the Vice President of Global Sales Strategy and Operations at Ryder, Chris is going to demonstrate how to improve the efficiency of the sales team. Chris has served as the head of sales operations the past seven years at Ryder and before that led sales operations for DHL Express for fourteen years.   

Why this topic on this day? Sales ops has become a catch all phrase. The sales ops leader gets assigned all the work no one else wants to do. Often underfunded and understaffed, sales operations leaders fail to deliver a meaningful revenue contribution. Yet, the best growth executives understand that sales ops is the most strategic sales function in the entire company. They understand that when deployed correctly, sales ops can impact revenue growth in a very meaningful way. Do not starve this vital department. If you do you're going to miss your revenue goal.

Listen as Chris demonstrates how to improve the efficiency of the sales team.  We begin the show with an overview of Chris’ strategic areas of focus and his organization chart. Few people outside of sales operations realize the nexus for so many interlock points across the company.

The top three core processes that sales operations Vice President’s need to manage include: Pipeline management, territory design, and quota setting.  Chris takes the listener through his approach for each process and I fast frame each with the following headlines.

  • The pipeline management process is that it needs to be buyer-driven. Your pipeline management is going to be accurate or inaccurate based on whether it's driven by the buyer.
  • Your territory design process needs to be opportunity based. When you don’t take this approach then you have imbalanced territories.
  • For quota setting process, do not let that be done by finance. Finance typically takes a peanut butter spread quota setting approach. That doesn't work. The rep in downtown Manhattan is going to have more opportunity than the person in Mobile, Alabama. The quota setting must be well thought out and the way that you do that is to intelligently allocate it out, based on pipeline and territories. Listen to Chris describe the process.

Chris and I discuss the approach for sales operations to analytics. We discuss the four-step continuum of analytics. Descriptive analytics us what has happened in the past. Predictive analytics predicts the outcome at some point in the future assuming all in the inputs stay the same.  Finally, Prescriptive Analytics is predicting the future and if you don't like the outcome, you can seek to change the outcome before it happens. Prescriptive is about prescribing a set of activities to alter the future.  This all requires systems, methodologies, data, talent and continuous improvement. Listen as Chris describes his team’s movement along the four-step continuum of the analytics journey.

Pay close attention to the detailed description Chris provides of the diagnostic analytical approach to sales win/loss. This is a great way to expand into diagnostic analytics if you're just at the descriptive stage right now. Understanding why you won, why you lost, you're really answering the question of why it happened.  You'll see over time recurring patterns and trends that will take you to the predictive and prescriptive approaches.

Direct download: AP1714_Chris_Fris-18602_Audio_Final.mp3
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 8:28am EST