In this episode, I was privileged to interview Chris Dials, VP of Global Operations for VMware, where he leads the company’s go-to-market operations worldwide —an 800-person global team that serves 5,000+ sales professionals, 75,000+ partners, and 1M+ customers.
A senior high tech leader with a 20-year history of leading operational transformation, Chris’ mantra is as follows:
imperfect progress outplays delayed perfection every time.
Today, he offers us a look into a unique side of sales. One many salespeople rarely get a chance to learn about.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Chris:
Dealing with Imperfect Progress
“There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.”
Chris encourages his people to chase imperfect progress:
- Drive momentum plans every 30 days that provide value to stakeholders.
- Be innovative and constantly take big challenges. But it’s also okay to fail.
- A permission to fail: Chris awards individuals that thought out-of-the-box and sometimes failed but failed fast and learned from those things.v
Pipeline Management Center of Excellence:
A concept that brings together a group of individuals. It starts with a process first.
Make sure you have the right processes in place to be able to manage your pipeline.
At VMware, now they have a global process on how to manage their pipeline. They measure on consistent KPI’s and metrics on the quantity and quality of their pipeline.
Once the standards are in place, the people working on that will disband and go on to a different type of Center of Excellence.
At VMware, they’ve set up 15 different centers of excellence across sales operations, marketing operations, partner operations, and professional services operations.
Strategies You Can Apply to Your Business:
1. Understand what you need to predict your business and how to forecast it.
2. Agree on a common process.
3. Leverage your CRM system and an analytics tool.
4. Reduce the manual processes but provide the most predictability for your business.
5. Think out of the box. Be creative. Go for the big things.
6. Listen to the people in your team.
The Biggest Challenges They’re Facing
1. Scaling – Set up your organization first.
2. Bringing people on – Get someone to change your people’s mindset.
Centralizing people into central operational hubs
3 Types of Roles in an Organization:
2. Center of Excellence
3. Business Partners
How Sales Teams Can Build Stronger Partnerships
- Have strong business partners.
- When you start adding value, partners see the value and need of an operations person to make sure they’re constantly looking three quarters out to ensure the health of the business.
- Sales operations need to be the connective issue to your marketing organizations, IT organizations, and HR organizations.
Chris’ Major Takeaway:
Think out of the box. Things are rapidly changing in any industry. Go and make sure you provide incremental progress. Do it frequently. Smaller movements of the needle make a big difference over time. And start to think about imperfect progress.
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