Chapter 9 Tune Sales Operations for Growth

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.


Here’s one for the record books: a sales team was so delighted by the increased productivity it experienced after the sales support function was re-engineered that reps volunteered to give part of their bonuses to the support staff. Yes, that’s right. The reps dug into their own pockets to show their gratitude.

You’d be grateful, too, if you’d lived through this global manufacturer’s transformation. Sales operations had reached a stage where phone-sales reps were spending 75 percent of their time away from the phones. They were trying to push through stalled deals, scurrying to find data to answer customer questions, and cobbling together one-off proposals for even the simplest requests. Even highly paid field reps were spending almost half their time on internal sales support and tracking deal progress. In order to put a standard proposal together, reps had to coordinate meetings with as many as seven different people. Often, it took two to three weeks of constant effort for a field rep to get a special price approved.

This headache reached its climax during a product launch. The organization simply wasn’t able to deliver the volume of time-sensitive proposals needed to nail down those critically important first orders. In addition, proposal quality varied dramatically across field reps. Some sent out spreadsheets with a simple price quote, while ...

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