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The Revenue Limitations of Traditional Sales Operations

Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) have the greatest impact on the revenue capture lifecycle when they focus on sales engagement, deal structure, and customer enablement. This potential impact is why teams have invested billions of dollars every year in a traditional approach to sales operations—to unlock these three critical inflection points in the funnel.

CROs have also honed specialized roles to address specific parts of the buying cycle for the same reason, and invested part of those ‘billions of dollars’ in specialized technology to support each member of their team. 

But is our current approach to sales operations working?

The case against sales operations

Never has it been more apparent than in the last 12 months that sales across industries has gotten extremely inefficient, particularly in the following areas:

  1. Massive inefficiency in sales’ time.
    Reps still spend just a fraction of their working hours—on average, 35%—actually selling, according to InsideSales.com.
  2. Buyer distrust.
    Nearly 80% of decision makers say reps aren’t prepared for first conversations, according to Hubspot. Meanwhile, only one-third actually trust salespeople, per LinkedIn. Such buyer distrust signals that we as revenue leaders aren’t effectively preparing sales professionals to engage prospects in value-based discussions. Indirectly, this is a motivation problem. Directly, sales engagement is to blame. Either way, deal size suffers down-funnel.
  3. Solution overload.
    Lest we think tools and technology are the answer, statistics show reps are flooded with different sales tools at each stage in the process without a clear tie back to how the tools improve prospects’ buying experience. In fact, most sales teams use 20 or more solutions, according to CSOInsights.
  4. Immaturity curves.
    Customer success organizations aren’t delivering the efficient revenue potential that analysts predict. Upselling and cross-selling require entirely new sales cycles, and CROs can attest that account management has become a second, and equally expensive, sales team.
  5. Flagging quota attainment.
    All of the above ultimately impacts a revenue team’s ability to hit its target. Quota attainment has steadily decreased every year throughout the last decade, according to CSO Insights.

Ultimately, a lack of efficiency across sales, marketing, and customer success dilutes results from the billions that CROs invest in sales operations. 

A common theme here is: Revenue professionals’ time remains one of the biggest lazy assets in a business — and the culprits are poor enablement, coupled with specialized roles and technology. Reps want to hit quota and their personal income goals, but they’re starved of information about what to do and when. 

No one feels this pain more than the CRO. 

The case for revenue operations

All of this inefficiency is driving a major shift in CROs’ operational leadership strategies. Gone are the days when CROs can assign more bodies to a sales problem. They don’t need, and likely can’t afford, more salespeople or systems. 

CROs now need to be efficiency experts in revenue operations. They require a new approach that coordinates every specialized role across marketing, sales, and customer success to maximize critical inflection points in the revenue capture lifecycle.

But the question that remains for CROs is: What is the glue that brings this all together?

Our next blog answers this question. 

 

Sources

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