A Glance into Sales Operations as a Service

From inefficient processes and inflexible systems, to insufficient capacity and ineffective planning – the root causes of Sales Operations problems are hard to solve by technology alone.

Not a single day looks like the other when you deal with Sales Operations. From territories and channels, to incentive compensation, quota setting, data analytics and communications – the burden of Sales Operations on sales organizations has never been heavier. And how could it not, when sales forces are globally expanding to support business growth? Almost seven in ten companies plan to increase the size of their sales force in 2015,1 so every sales ops department should brace itself to face even more work in the coming years.

The traditional approach to solve sales operations’ burden has been Sales Performance Management software. Various computer programs – some more advanced that others – have joined the tight competition to win sales operations’ ‘heart’, and be the ones to help them calculate incentives, dig up data about territories, channels, and analyze performance metrics.

However, software is just a starting point and an enabler. Only half of sales technology buyers achieve expected ROI, according to SiriusDecisions.2 Research shows that software limitations are present in many industries, and any software-centric approach comes with serious constraints to enterprises. Lasting gains are realized when software is combined with business process management.

This dilemma has led many organizations to embrace a “more than software” approach for their sales performance processes and incentive management operations. This whitepaper provides data on Sales Operations as a Service, a more than software alternative, embraced by more and more organizations with large sales forces, in search of better business outcomes.


What is Sales Operations as a Service?

To ease their sales operations burden, sales organizations only have two options:

  1. Implement sales performance technology alone
  2. Engage in a Business Process as a Service relationship.

SOaaS is a comprehensive set of sales operations management services that uniquely combine cloud technologies and collaborative business process management. These services serve both internal operations and the sales force through:

  • Sales planning and strategy execution
  • Sales compensation and motivation
  • Sales productivity
  • Sales activities
  • Sales insights and analysis

Through a collaborative operating model, organizations are able to rapidly adapt to changes in strategy, markets, and priorities. The approach revolves around the benefits of Business Process as a Service leveraging enabling technologies and expert staff augmentation.

Recent studies on companies with large sales forces show that Sales Operations as a Service clients report deeper and more sustained sales performance improvement than SPM software alone in all ten measured categories, including 15% better process reliability and 13% more cost savings.

Only half of sales technology buyers achieve expected ROI.

Source: SiriusDecisions

Origins of Sales Operations as a Service

Many companies still fail to realize that poorly aligned processes and bad policies are not fixed by software alone, according to business analysts. In this challenging context, many companies have discovered that commitment to their strategic goals comes from Business Process as a Service, and particularly from Sales Operations as a Service.

“While some technologies help sales team members serve the customer better, others can actually bog down processes or stifle the creativity needed to truly customize the buyer experience.”3

The “more than SPM software” approach emerged as an efficient solution to take away the SPM burden from sales operations. The need for an alternative to software – or rather a beyond software solution – continues to be fueled by the huge sales growth this year. According to research, 67.9% of companies plan to increase the size of their 2015 sales force.4 At the same time, compensation trends in 2015 show the acute need for an alternative to software to help prevent turnover. While the economy improves, hiring and retaining top sales talent will become more difficult without a complex sales performance management plan.

Origins of Sales Operations as a Service

The Burden of SPM on Sales Operations

Territories & Channels

  • Sales Force Design
  • Territory Design
  • Segmentation & Targeting
  • Call & Activity Planning


  • Recruiting Management
  • Total Compensation Management
  • Training Management
  • Competencies Management
  • Performance Reviews Management


  • Quota Methodology Design
  • Quota Process Implementation
  • Quota Setting
  • Quota Management


  • Objectives Plan Design & Rollout
  • Objectives Process Implementation
  • Objectives Management


  • Sales Compensation Plan Design, Modeling, & Rollout
  • Sales Compensation Process Implementation
  • Sales Compensation Management

Data Processes

  • Parameter Management
  • Exception Management
  • Data Adjustments
  • Data Collection
  • Data Integration & Validation

Metrics & Analytics

  • Metrics Analysis and Planning
  • Data Warehousing
  • Data Analytics


  • Design of Management Analyses
  • Implementation of Analysis Process
  • Management of Analyses


  • Design of Salesperson Reports
  • Implementation of Reporting Process
  • Management of Reports


  • Communications Planning & Management
  • Inquiry & Dispute Management
  • Field Feedback Management

Benefits to Sales Operations as a Service

Compensation plans and sales performance management should be unique to products and services, to individual reps’ experience, and to sales and overall business goals. When changes occur, organizations usually focus on small parts of their compensation plans. Software may be utilized to integrate changes but will not provide feedback on the accuracy of the new plans.

Companies that want strategic sales operations understand the integral relationship between software and service. As such, Sales Operations as a Service is not another tool but a long-term solution that offers several key benefits:

1. Mitigate Risk
Expertise in implementing best practices developed for your organization reduces the risk of less than desirable outcomes from simply automating ineffective processes. The expertise in leading edge technology combined with industry expertise mitigates the risk that comes with changes from mergers, new systems or growth. With responsibilities sitting fully at the provider, SOaaS enables more capabilities and also reduces regulation concerns.

2. Increase Speed

Things get done quicker, cheaper, and with better business outcomes when proven business process changes are implemented.

3. Multiply Capacity
Resources on demand to deliver 24/7 sales operations support.

4. Improve Focus
Sales Operations as Service experts eliminate distractions and allow companies, leaders and sales reps to focus on achieving corporate objectives.

5. Define Accountability
Sales Operations as Service helps companies define the line of responsibility through shared governance which also helps companies comply with regulatory changes.

6. Reduce Costs
Sales Operations as a Service cuts technological and operational costs by providing both the experts and the enabling technologies in a single service. Companies achieve higher revenue while lowering their cost of sales.


  1. People fill the gap
  2. People translate
  3. People validate
  4. People adjust on the go
  5. People fix errors
  6. People communicate


Sales Operations As A Service Outcomes

Sales Operations as a Service offers more value than SPM software alone, according to recent surveys.


With increased competition and shifts in buying behaviors, enterprises around the world struggle to continually optimize and amplify channel and sales performance. One of the key functions they outsource is sales operations. This allows for focus on achieving the business outcomes needed without the distractions of creating and managing the ever-changing processes of the sales organization. By removing the barriers of technology management and adding in business process expertise and expert staff on demand, Sales Operations as a Service delivers the agility and productivity you need to stay competitive.

1 2015 CSO Sales Performance Optimization, http://www.csoinsights.com/, last accessed 02.03.15
2 SiriusDecisions research on Sales Analytics, SFA, Sales Training and CPQ applications. Data gathered from B2B sales organizations that were asked if the listed technologies met the expected ROI.
3 Lewin, Lauren, Overcome Technology Challenges With Your Sales Team http://businesslightsideas.com/?p=3221, last accessed 02.03.15
4 2015 CSO Sales Performance Optimization, http://www.csoinsights.com/publications, last accessed 02.03.15