Sales Prospecting

8 Things Sales Ops Leaders Need to Know to Succeed in 2024

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November 1, 2023

5 mins read

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8 Things Sales Ops Leaders Need to Know to Succeed in 2024

Sales operations is about using systems, processes, and technology to ensure that sales teams reach their targets. It’s about optimization – leveraging relevant data to drive insights and actions around, for example, how many reps to hire, where to place those reps for optimal sales coverage, what technology tools those reps need to succeed, and how to incentivize reps to meet their targets. 

This year has been a challenging one, but 2024 promises to be even more challenging. What can you do as a sales ops leader to thrive in the coming year? Here are 8 suggestions:

1. Plan for 2024 by understanding what’s driving your business

Q4 is the time when people start to look at plans for 2024, based on what their top line numbers would be, what their capacity is going to be, what the cost to support that capacity will be, and also challenging their past assumptions. Ultimately, the planning process is about understanding the key drivers of your business, which might not be the same drivers they were 2-3 years ago. 

2. Bring in the right tech and tools to enable success

As part of your planning process, you should consider adding technology and tools you believe your team could leverage to achieve their goals and bottom lines. These tools need to be integrated into, and leveraged across, your organization because silos are the enemy. You need a single source of truth, a playbook that everyone reads from and acts upon. 

One tool I’ve used is an integrated sales and finance model that supports financial planning. We use it to determine whether an investment is a good decision or not. You can use the model to input X number of reps at Y level: it shows your cost basis and what you should expect for a return. 

3. Unify your people across sales ops

You need to establish a full view of all the people who support sales. That might include SDRs, solution engineers, customer success managers, and more. You also have your account managers and your AEs. 

This year, for example, we’re building one sales and marketing model. Historically we’ve had a sales model with sellers and quota, and then marketing has built out a marketing model. Now we’re building a unified model. Everybody can see assumptions and changes in real time and have live conversations around where we’re going next year. 

A unified model also gives everyone a single source of truth about our assumptions heading into 2024, so when we get into the year and things start to play out, we can see where our assumptions were off. We can then decide exactly where we need to invest or change in order to get back on track.

4. Have conversations with heads of departments to ensure alignment

Hold regularly scheduled meetings in order to coninually align the departments and ensure that all the relevant players are in the room: sales, finance, marketing, customer success, and product. You may not need anyone from the C-level, because they’re thinking three years out. You want the people in that next level down who are thinking six months out and considering what’s coming next month or next quarter.

5. Go with the flow

Things are going to be constantly changing in 2024. And where you think you might see an opportunity pop up, that opportunity could quickly disappear. You must have contingencies ready to go, so have option B and option C ready. 

You might have a set strategy, but it should not be set in stone. You’ve built out your teams annual goals. However, each quarter, your goals are going to keep changing, and you have to be okay with that, and your team has to be ready to jump from one project to the next and be okay with not finalizing a project before moving on to something else. Agility is key in uncertain markets.

The phrase I like to use is ‘done is better than perfect.’ If something is done, you can see if it’s working incrementally. If you wait until it’s perfect, you’ll never see if it’s actually working and it might be delivered too late because of fast-evolving market conditions.

6. Find your 1-2 key leading indicators

These are the key performance indicators that the entire business has agreed upon. By monitoring them, you don’t have to wait until your quarter closes to make decisions and can instead get ahead of decisions around whether there’s a downturn or an upturn coming. You can be ready for changes as they’re happening. 

7. Continue to be curious

Ask good questions all along the way to unlock insights that can drive sales ops. What else should we be considering to help our teams perform better? What data/information can we give to our executives to help them make better decisions? 

Keep digging deeper into what your data’s telling you, and be open to adopting other technology tools that might be out there. Ask yourself, have your tools reached their end of life, where they’re not really helpful anymore, because you’ve built workarounds or other processes around them? How could you do better with available enabling technology?

8. Find your peer group

Sales ops Is an ever-changing, ever-growing field and role. I’ve been a sales ops leader at four different companies, and the role has yet to be the same at any of them. Find a peer group, a group of professionals you trust, so you can ask them questions about how they’ve tackled different problems. By doing so, you can learn, grow, and tackle those problems more effectively. 

A final word here — I sincerely hope these 8 suggestions will help you and your sales ops team in 2024 and beyond. The entire team here at Demandbase wishes you and your team the best in 2024!

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Mark Turner

VP of Revenue Operations, Demandbase

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