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Do Not Overload Your Sales Team with Jani Levӓnen, Director of Sales Effectiveness at Iron Mountain

In this episode of Sales Ops Demystified, Tom Hunt and Alex Freeman are joined by Jani Levӓnen, Director of Sales Operations at Iron Mountain. They discuss how sales ops should be positioned in relation to the sales team, how to get started on creating a globalized sales ops function, and how to bring simplicity to your sales process so that you don’t overload the sales team.

The difference between Sales Ops and Sales Effectiveness 

Sales effectiveness is like an “umbrella term” that covers all the different elements that improve your sales. It includes sales operations, sales enablement, commission and compensation, and analytics and insights.

Are you overloading your sales team?

Contrary to the popular belief, giving the sales team all the information can quickly saturate them. The focus should be on enabling bringing and clarity for sales teams around the world in a time when there’s so much uncertainty on everything else. 

Sales ops should be the “oil” of the sales team’s engine i.e. make their lives easier with appropriate insights without making it complicated. In an ideal world, the more work sales ops teams do, the less they will be contacted by the sales teams. 

Iron Mountain Sales Ops team structure 

Iron Mountain has 3 Regional Directors with Jani leading special projects and the redesign of compensation and commission teams globally. Iron Mountain’s Director of Sales Enablement, a colleague of Jani, is responsible for tackling the implementation of sales enablement strategy at a global scale. They also have a Director of Analytics and Insights who is focused on global reporting and insights on different projects. All three directors report to the VP of Revenue Operations.

Their sales team is of varied size across all countries with a total of approximately 1300 sales reps. Their go-to-market strategy has changed over the course of the pandemic and they have moved several field rep roles to inside sales roles as per their customers’ needs.

The sales tech stack at Iron Mountain

  • Salesforce – Core sales platform
  • Salesforce Einstein – AI platform over Salesforce
  • Dun & Bradstreet – Business Data and Analytical Insights over Salesforce
  • Pricing and revenue management tools 
  • Marketing automation for lead management
  • A new Incentive and Compensation Management (ICM) platform is in the works

Iron Mountain aims to keep the UI interface for their sales reps simple, intuitive, and actionable. Any sales tool should be inspired by Apple’s UI – there should be no need to read a manual to understand how to use it. 

Getting started with a globalized sales ops function 

Start small. Don’t try to do everything. Simplicity, clarity, and scalability are keys for smaller organizations that are just getting started with sales ops. Look for tools that work on all major currencies – not just the countries where you are currently operating in. When tools are fragmented across countries, it becomes hard to manage the sales process and the overall cost is also much higher. 

When everything is run by exception – every country working in its silo – doing anything at a global scale is difficult. Build a foundation of country-specific teams as part of a single company with local culture, conversations, and contracting as their customizations. 

How to make sales processes simple through design

If you cannot answer why a field is being shown to the user, take that field out of the UI. The end goal should be to add value to the salesperson or to the overall sales process. 

Keep the order of presenting the information in a simple, logical flow. It’s not rocket science! 

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