Daniel Gaffney: How to Build an Automated Sales Process that Enables Sales to Become Trusted Advisors

Posted on Jun 13, 2020

About Daniel

Daniel Gaffney is the Director of Sales Operations at Canonical

Daniel is a thoroughbred finance and revenue professional, stretching all the way back to his time at University studying Business Economics. He is the Sales Operations Leader at Canonical, a company that develops Ubuntu, the world’s most popular enterprise Linux from cloud to edge, together with a passionate global community of 200,000 contributors. He talks with us about how to create an automated sales process that results in effective data for an optimization loop.

Every sales and revenue operations professional that we interview gives their unique set of experiences and insights; we also learned that besides being a talented RevAmp guest he is also top Marathon runner achieving 9th position in the London Marathon, a quality that no doubt comes in very useful when delivering long-term projects.

Implementing Sales Tech for an Automated Sales Process

  • Daniel built out a new sales operation process at Canonical. To become a trusted advisor to the business and to partner with the head of sales, he began with putting building blocks in place to ensure good commercial alignment. To get sufficient information out to the business to build the foundation, they had to automate many of their systems.
  • From a data perspective, a lot of effort went into ensuring they have very clean data sets. During the process of building the foundation for sales operations, Daniel was challenged with a 12-year old Salesforce instance that had been added to over the years. He needed to rationalize what really matters and remove some of the old processes that no longer mattered.
  • Now, using Salesforce Lightning, it's an intuitive sales process that leads to better data presentation. Their CRM now has a base they can build upon and add new features to benefit the business.
  • They also needed a CPQ tool. Canonical has fairly complex product offerings. They needed to make sure their discount structures were embedded within a tool, and that the sales reps had a guided selling experience.
  • Guided selling enables their salespeople to pick up the CPQ, answer some questions, and generate a clean, accurate proposal. Discount rules are built-in so there are clean parameters within the system. Using DealHub's DealRoom, Canonical's sales team can send a proposal with the relevant content so the customer knows they are making a good decision.
  • Using Tableau they have been able to bring different data sets together and tell good stories with the information. They can look at how leads correlate with opportunities and how activity correlates with accounts. But it's not enough to pull that information straight from Salesforce into Tableau.
  • Complexities in Canonical's business required making sure their data model was very organized. For example, the way sales credit rolls up and splits and opportunities are divided between sales reps working together on deals needed to be visualized in a way that made sense.
  • Daniel says providing information back to the business and staying on top of data hygiene is the most important way to get any sales organization aligned. If you can present data visualization of how their deals roll up against their targets, then that person is empowered to make sure all of their data points are clean.
  • Daniel says his sales operations team buys into data visualization and data hygiene because sales leaders understand that clean data yields better, more valuable feedback off that information.

Sales Automation Makes Sales Reps' Lives Easier

  • Automation has helped with tactical reporting. Now everybody goes straight into their tablet dashboard. Sales reps, sales managers, and even the CEO know where sales reps stand in terms of individual and team performance. That rolls right on down the business. They use the same sales dashboard to kind of map out our forecast and do pipeline opportunity review.
  • Daniel answers the question, should the whole team have a 360 view of data or do you give people just what they need to consume for their area of competency and expertise? Do you restrict the 360 view just to the executive team?
  • People should be able to look at their data and make good decisions based on that information. Look for patterns and try to tell good stories that will ultimately improve the business, whether it be improving the customer experience or ensuring retention rates improve.
  • Canonical has created an automated cadence for their sales process. It was important to automate this flow, for example, so that sales team members' commission is accurate. No one wants to have a conversation about commission and automation eliminates the need for awkward conversations around commission.
  • Sales automation tools also allow Sales Operations to harness good data and tell good stories with it to become an advisor to the business. They can have meaningful conversions and figure out how to improve as a sales organization.
  • Automation also allows sales operations to ramp new hires faster. Using the full functionality of their sales systems helps new sales reps grow faster.
  • Using real-time data visualization with Tableau, the sales team goes into meetings being able to see what's happening with deals, to talk through those deals, and do the pipeline review. They can understand where they are as a business against their forecast.

Key Learning from Sales Process Automation

  • A key insight Daniel gained from automating the sales operations processes was the importance of prioritization of big tech decisions. Not only the tech to choose, but how to change the process, and making sure that if you are going to change the process, you've got very good alignment with key stakeholders before you attempt to do that. You have the buy-in from the senior executives.
  • In terms of implementing sales automation software, you can't afford to make a wrong decision because you could spend a year implementing a new solution and then have to reverse that and look for another vendor and repeat the process. So, don't rush the decision.

Follow Daniel on Are you leveraging the power of LinkedIn? I know, I know. You may ...

About the podcast

The RevAmp podcast derives from two words: Revenue + Amplification. This series has been produced specifically to give a voice to the sales and revenue operations professionals who have invaluable experiences to share. We have seen the scope for this role, as well as the recognition, expectations, and tools have rapidly changed over the last couple of years. The reality is that there are not enough high-quality resources for fellow professionals to use as a benchmark or learning curve. DealHub knows how important it is to be well resourced so we have put together this RevAmp podcast for your benefit.

Make sure you follow RevAmp either here, or one of the Apps that’s most convenient for you. 

Topics: Process Building, Data & Analytics, Technology