The Next Evolution of Sales Ops with Neil Thomson, Global Director of Sales Operations, Corporate Solutions at JLL

In this episode of Sales Ops Demystified, Tom Hunt and Alex Freeman are joined by Neil Thomson, Global Director of Sales Operations, Corporate Solutions at JLL. They discuss how to tell a story through data, building data-driven storytelling skills in your team, the key focus of Sales Ops teams, and how Sales teams can make the best use of their data.

The transition from field sales to Sales Ops

Larger sales teams need at least one dedicated Sales Ops role to take their sales function to the next level. This transition will free up the time that field salespeople use to work on Salesforce and other Sales tech administration on the side. 

Like many other Sales Ops individuals, Neil transitioned from a field sales role to Sales ops when a reorganization exercise opened up a brand new Sales Ops role. Because of Neil’s background in mathematics and analytics, JLL gave him the opportunity and he jumped at the chance to cross over to Sales Ops! 

Your boss can make or break your experience at an organization. Whether you are accepting a new role at your existing company or in a new company, measure your potential for success in proportion to your interpersonal equation with your boss. 

Key Stakeholders for Sales Ops 

For a Sales Ops role at a global scale, key stakeholders are Regional Heads of Sales, the Chief Revenue Officer, and the finance department.

The Sales Ops role should focus on forging internal partnerships with the goal of having a single holistic perspective of their clients. 

Sales Ops should also enable relationships among various departments within the organization so that cross-functional synergies may be discovered through data. 

Sales team structure and sales tech stack in the Corporate Solutions division at JLL

The Corporate Solutions division at JLL has 60-70 field sales reps with eight people in the Sales Ops team distributed across the globe, all reporting to Neil as the Global Director of Sales Ops.

In terms of the tech stack, JLL is moving from Microsoft Dynamics to Salesforce. This transition will have speed bumps along the way as it will be executed at a massive scale. 

Major projects in 2021 in Sales Ops function at JLL 

The Sales Ops team enables sales leaders to make data-driven decisions. So the Sales Ops team focused on building trust and reliability in data when Neil first came on board as the Global Director of Sales Ops. Their sales team partners now have a structured methodology that is consistent across their globally distributed team. 

The current focus is on applying the creativity of the Sales Ops team to storytelling through data and to delight their stakeholders. This starts by analyzing various pipelines and helping the sales teams align those pipelines with their sales KPIs. 

How to tell a story through data

The Sales Ops individuals working with data must have a genuine curiosity with data and understand the value that their insights can bring to the sales team. The most curious individuals can create their own novel ideas but also piggyback off of a tiny spark of curiosity from someone else and run with it!

To build this skill in your team, encourage Sales Ops team members to add their own commentary and bring value out of their data reports/analyses. 

Challenges of consolidating your data into Salesforce

Large teams are the major source of challenges when consolidating data from multiple CRMs into a single CRM. You may not have perfect migration and you should not expect one. You will have problems and you have to deal with them as you go. Global teams are often susceptible to data errors even after the go-live.

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