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Sales operations are a set of business activities and processes that help a sales organization run effectively, efficiently and in support of business strategies and objectives. Sales operations may also be referred to as sales, sales support or business operations.
The set of sales operations activities vary from company to company but often include these nine categories:
- Sales strategy: design, planning, execution
- Measurement of results: reporting, analytics & sales data
- Compensation, sales targets, policies
- Technology & tools, including CRM
- Training & sales communication
- Sales territory design & optimisation
- Lead generation/sales campaigns
- Customer segmentation
The sales operations team members are often the liaisons for sales to other parts of the organisation such as finance, marketing and IT. They will represent the needs of sales in meetings and cross-functional projects.
Sales operations as a function
More and more mid to large size companies are forming sales operations departments within their organizations. and, per the sales operations excellence center, 54% of sales operations groups are less than three years old.
In the past, these functions were non-existent, handled by sales managers or scattered throughout an organization. Companies are now recognizing the significant benefits of sales operations activities and the need for centralization and formal leadership.
The benefits of sales operations
Sales operations activities help sales leaders
- to make sound and timely business decisions to drive short-term and long-term performance
- to align selling resources with the greatest opportunities in the most cost effective ways
- to ensure all sales personnel are treated fairly and are paid accurately
- to improve sales performance through better processes, technology and methodologies
- to improve employee morale
Ultimately, sales operations activities significantly contribute to the success of a sales organisation and that organisation's ability to meet/exceed business targets.
Sales target is the minimum sales goal for a set time span. A sales target may be minimum amount of pounds(Monetary Value) or product sold(Volume). Sales targets may also be for sales activity like: number of calls per day. Management usually sets the sales targets and the sales territory. The time span could be set for the day, week, month or fiscal quarter or year.
Sales territory is a usually a geographical area assigned to a salesperson or group of persons. The geographical area may also be assigned to franchisee, distributor, or agent. A sales territory may also be assigned by type of customers, as all retailers or all wholesalers in geographical area. A sales territory may be as large as a continent, a nation or half a nation, or as small as a town or city. A sales manager may have a sales territory different than the sales persons overseen.
Sales forecasting uses past sales figures to predict the short-term or long-term future performance to enable sound financial planning. For shops and stores, market research may yield the following indicators for deriving initial forecasts:
- average sales volume per unit area for similar shops in similar locations of similar size
- number of consumers or consumer household in appropriate vicinity of the store and their annual expenses on the product in question
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- Choice architecture
- Customer service
- Point of sale
- Sales (accounting)
- Sales incentive plan
- Sales process engineering
- Sales promotion
- Sales management
- Sales variance
- Customer service
- Customer relationship management
References and notes