Director, Sales Operations: Chris Van’t Hof of Honor

Chris Van’t Hof, Director, Sales Operations of Honor jumped onto the Sales Operations Demystified Podcast to share his experience and journey into sales operations. Check out all the other episodes of Sales Operations Demystified here.

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Key Takeaways

Chris’s journey towards from finance to sales operations:

Chris has been in sales for over five years now but has a financial management background. He talks about how he started with the basics of finance and then, because of his exposure in several early-stage companies, got more focused on the sales and operations.

Chris mentions that being at early Beta B companies such as Bronto, provided him with the necessary skills and introduction with sales and analysis. He brought him into being a significant part of the sales force admin. 

From his point of view, sales operations are gradually becoming a vital part of all businesses, highlighting the significance of including operations centric courses at universities and academic levels. Our generation should have a grip over both the commercial and operations side of the businesses; it should be a part of the universities’ curriculum, the combination of which leads to successful business execution. 

Sales enablement: How to keep things hassle-free?

Chris mentions three key factors that result in thorough sales enablement: 

  1. How is the sales process managed?
  2. How is the growth and reps team trained?
  3. How can the operation be made from efficient? 

Chris talks about a critical topic of keeping an organization and its sales operations hassle-free. Beta B sales companies focus on keeping matters simple by creating dashboards at an executive, team’s, and individual level to track progress. Territory views are posted into salesforce to understand territory dynamics and replace manual operations by more efficient, automatic ones. 

The growth team at Honor is equipped with all the necessary resources to engage with prospective stakeholders and establish a clientele base. Their business model consists of nonmedical home care. Thus, certain rapport has to be built with the independent local agencies to create a partnership and trust the sales operation at Honor enough to hand over their operations. 

Challenges faced by sales operations: 

Chris mentions how some factors didn’t affect sales operations to a significant extent as engagement with the client. Overall, management is often done remotely, so Zoom has been making the situation more manageable. The drawback is building a rapport with the client or, in this case, business partners. The local independent agencies deal with the outside as they are well informed about the society and territory while Honor manages with the work care force. This requires a particular reputation and trust, which is difficult to attain over a conference call. 

Pre-COVID-19 times meant that care agencies could visit on-site and analyze the sales management before handing their operations. Still, now, as a way to deal with the drawback yet remaining consistent with the successful deals closed, matters are split up. As a tech operation, Chris is now focusing more on being a part of the solutions to build trust over the value and commercial aspect. 

Chris’s point of view on forecasting: 

Chris mentions about how drawing certain conclusions on small and limited samples in Beta B companies are tricky about providing an accurate result. He says a creative way of forecasting and takes inspiration from the FiveThirtyEight analogy. This analogy is used as a political forecasting model where multiple data points, political donations, and endorsements are taken into consideration. Chris highlights that this idea can be implemented in sales ops as: 

  1. Stop Sound Approach
  2. Bottoms Up Approach 

Stop Sound deals with the traditional probability and chance-based forecasting, which includes the time element in longer sale cycles, which deals with not how many deals are closed, but how many WinRate is in this quarter. Bottoms Up approach is about committing to the best case. 

Chris talks about how one business should communicate with other stakeholders about implementation teams, customer success, and leadership and should take a survey of confidence before considering a deal based on an individual’s analysis.

He mentions figuring out a range to analyze how many closed deals they will hit in the quarter, where data points can vary from single digits to double digits.

#1 sales metric: Tracking

Chris at Honor talks about how the overall KPI (Key Performance Indicator) in a track has changed, that is, the company’s assets over debts. He says that we should evaluate the expectations, just like reassessing the metrics and processes pre-COVID and post-COVID. The timing stage, conversion rate, and the change in numbers need to be figured out.

Chris’s biggest influence: 

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