Innovation Nation: Welcome Deepak. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your experience?
Deepak Bhootra: Thanks for having me. I call myself a global citizen, as I’ve spent half my life outside the country of my birth, which gives me a unique perspective on life and work. My professional experience spans pre-sales consulting and a range of sales operations roles at HP and Sun Microsystems (Oracle) focused on improving sales productivity, efficiency, and complex process integration across large-scale enterprise sales.
Could you explain what “sales operations” is and why an organization’s sales function is important?
Absolutely. Sales operations generally refers to the resources and capabilities that provide support and structure to the sales function. They integrate and optimize all sales touchpoints across the lead-to-order (LTO) lifecycle (the progression through lead management, opportunity management, offer management, and order conversion). Ensuring sales readiness and productivity is a core deliverable for a world-class sales operations function.
Sales personnel are vital to ensuring the needs of the customer are met by the organization’s product or service. A competent salesperson focuses on understanding the customer, mapping the customer’s need to a product or service to satiate that need, educating and providing guidance to the customer, while handling objections to ensure an informed decision and win-win outcome for both buyer and seller.
Given a salesperson’s importance, a core tenet of a sales operations function is ensuring that a salesperson is enabled with the capacity (the right tools and processes) and capability (training, empowerment, and knowledge) to deliver on revenue and growth targets without getting caught up with bureaucracy and organizational friction.
Why is it important for organizations to eliminate friction from the customer sales journey?
Over time, sales operational activities have grown more complex. Ever-expanding organizational ambitions, new routes to market, and digital convergence are forcing organizations to rethink how sales interacts with the external world and work more directly with its customers and partners.
Complexity creates bureaucracy and wasted keystrokes that dilute a salesperson’s productivity. Figuring out how to reduce or eliminate these inefficient, non-value adding activities improves business outcomes, and is a key requirement to ensure customer retention and continued survival and revival.
Every step in the LTO lifecycle needs to be simple, unified, and geared towards eliminating friction in moving a sales opportunity from inception to delivery. Organizations can achieve this by bringing together their people, processes, and sales enabling technologies such as customer relationship management (CRM) and configure, price, quote (CPQ) to remove obstacles – connecting them to a salesperson’s training, empowerment, and engagement.
This helps organizations drive an intelligent, seamless sales experience, and transition to – what we at Capgemini call – the Frictionless Enterprise.
How can Capgemini help organizations do this?
Continued expansion, integration of acquisitions, and silo-oriented investment strategies have created a spaghetti bowl of processes and systems that leave an inconsistent user experience and geographically dispersed sales function that is clustered with value negating synergy.
Capgemini’s response to this is to equip sales leaders with the advice, insight, and technological prowess to drive productivity and growth, enabled by best-in-class digital transformation and long-term operational support as a business services partner. Our capabilities to operationalize processes at scale, leveraging intelligent automation and innovation to integrate analytics and data, deliver enhanced business outcomes and insights to an organization’s sales leadership, partners, and customers.
We enable the perfect mix of build, operate, and run for driving an enterprise-grade sales engine. This ranges from the deployment of CRM and CPQ systems, intelligent automation to seamlessly connect processes, and the integration of advanced analytics and insights to deliver tactical data-driven decision-making (pipeline, compensation, pricing, turn-around-time, etc.). We also extend the power of data analysis to more strategic outcomes around customer acquisition and retention, sales productivity, and enablement.
This sounds exciting! Could you give us an example?
Yes, indeed. Capgemini partnered with HP Inc. (Hewlett Packard) and Microsoft to combine sales compensation processes with a state-of-the-art highly adaptive sales compensation environment. We replaced over 20 sales compensation tools, optimized related processes, migrated an on-premise solution to the cloud, and ensured knowledge transfer and best in class operate/run capability hosted by Capgemini. Our solution delivered four key benefits:
- Increased process standardization and optimization
- A significant reduction in operational cost
- Timely delivery of key sales performance data
- Extensive reporting capabilities with predictive analytics on key leading and lagging indicators.
You can read more about the details of this case study on Capgemini’s website.
Finally, what are the key takeaways for our readers?
Sales executives that successfully navigate change will be those that create a world-class sales operations engine fueling increased sales productivity, growth, and enhanced sales experience to their customers.
Capgemini can help. We have the capability and resources to offer a comprehensive range of services that enable our clients to:
- Reimagine the sales journey to maximize the sales, partner, and customer experience, delivering tangible improvements to customer satisfaction scores
- Streamline and automate sales processes for agility and velocity, positively impacting productivity, sales engagement, and growth
- Leverage sales analytics to augment the sales community with intelligence that enables course correction or improved foresight.
Thanks, Deepak, for an extremely insightful discussion. I look forward to more from Capgemini in this extremely exciting area!
Deepak Bhootra is an established executive with two decades of global leadership experience. He delivers process excellence and sales growth for clients by optimizing processes and delivering seamless business transformation.
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