5 Steps to Level Up Your Sales Ops [Webinar Recap]

April 23, 2024
February 3, 2021
| Updated
January 19, 2023
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In one of our recent webinars, our CEO Blaine Hatab did a deep dive into how cannabis operators can use sales ops to their advantage. For those who aren’t familiar, sales operations refers to the activities and processes within an organization that support and enable the sales team to be more efficient and create value faster. In other words, sales operations is the support your sales staff needs to achieve their fullest potential. In this post we summarize the five steps he covered so that you can begin implementing sales ops at your organization immediately. So let’s begin.


Pick Your Software Tools

Rather than defining your goals as the first step, start by finding the right software tool(s) for your business. Why? Because this gives you a solid foundation to build on. With the basic functionality in place, you can start focusing on the next steps. So, which software tools are the most vital for your business?

  • Customer relationship management (CRM). CRMs are the systems of record for your customer data, with information such as customer name, email, license information, and all of the interactions between you and the customer logged and stored for accessibility. Some good examples of stand alone CRMs are Copper, Pipedrive, HubSpot and Salesforce, or you can even find CRM functionality inside cannabis software and marketplaces such as Distru and Leaflink. Some even use Google Sheets to track their customers, but that is not recommended given the number of alternatives available.
  • Order management platform. The second tool you will need in your arsenal is an order management platform, which lets you create and track all of your sales orders, shipments and invoices, and see who owes you money. Smaller upstarts typically use accounting software like Quickbooks online and Google sheets to track their orders, but as they grow bigger they need an order management system that offers live inventory.
  • Cannabis platforms. Cannabis platforms can cover your needs throughout the supply chain, by merging CRM, order management, inventory, and compliance. There are a number of different platforms to choose from, such as: Distru, Leaflink, Trellis, Metrc, Greenbits, and Flowhub.

Define Your Goals

Once you have a foundation, it’s time to start thinking about your business goals that we have broken down into three types:

  • Operational: goals related to creating or improving processes.
  • Automation: goals related to becoming more efficient with time and reducing manual work.
  • Analytical: goals around gaining valuable insights into your operation.

A crucial step in goal-planning is to measure your goals so that you can define whether or not they’re successful. Having the ability to understand what works and what doesn’t is a reflection of how fast you can improve and grow your sales operation, which is why having a success criteria is imperative.

Attaching quantitative measurements to goals makes them more clear and actionable. For example, instead of saying: “We want to automate how we print COA:s to speed up fulfilLment,” you could change it to: “We want to reduce the average order fulfilment time by 30 minutes by automating how we collect COA:s”.

In the post remaining we dive into a real example and show you the steps to making sales ops actionable. In this example, we want to increase customer re-orders by 25% and we want to do this by alerting sales reps about stagnant customers who are no longer ordering at their usual cadence.

Make an Execution Plan

The first step is to make an execution plan so that your team is clear on what needs to be done. You should structure this plan how you want to, rather than using a template. By getting creative, you’ll find it easier to engage your team.

Also, make sure the measurement is explicit and time-bound, such as “increase reorders by 25% in 90 days.”

Here’s a sample process for attaining the goal of increasing reorders:

  1. Select a tool to alert reps about stagnant customers (text, email, or web alerts).
  2. Figure out how you will report on reorders.
  3. Define triggers to alert a rep to reach out to the customer again. What defines a stagnant customer?
  4. Train your sales team.
  5. Measure how successful the alerts are.

A useful tip is to also write down everything that could go wrong during this process. You’ll then go through the problems one by one and work out how to address them.

The tools and the data

Once your execution plan is set, the next step is  to get detailed about your tooling and your data. The number one mistake people do is that they don’t experiment and don’t actually use the tools. So, our advice is to just get started, and figure it out as you go.

  1. Identify the data source. What’s the end result you want? In our example above, the data source would be the orders, so we would need to go to our order management platform to get the data.
  2. Wire up tooling. What should the report look like? Get a general plan of how you want to approach the data.
  3. Double-check your work. Make sure your data is correct and that it all plays out.


Once your execution plan and reporting format is ready, it’s time to start implementing it. This means getting it into the hands of your sales reps so they can start using it every day. It’s a pretty straight-forward process that can be summed up in three steps:

  1. Prepare Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to let the sales team know how it works. For example, bring your sales reps into a room, generate a report for them, go over the report and talk about how they’re going to use it.  
  2. Set up training to go over the new stagnant customer process that could ramp up sales. Make sure you know what you want to get out of the training and that you have the right stakeholders in the meeting.
  3. Schedule a meeting to review the result of the reordering process.

Measure and Iterate

The last step of the process is to measure and iterate. As part of the sales ops team, you need to measure how well the initiative is doing, which involves planning how you’re going to measure it, what tools to use, and the criteria for that data. Continuing with our example above, the measurement criteria could look like the following:

  • Data needed: orders data
  • Tools to visualize: Google sheets.
  • Reorder criteria: order happens within 90 days of last order.  
  • Query: we’ll export data in the last 90 days and pivot by customers.

Make sure that you have the right criteria, don’t be afraid to make any necessary changes. As a sales ops person, you should be leading the dialogue. This means you need to look into the orders data yourself, which comes back to double-checking your work. Go into the platform to ensure you have all the dialogue needed to talk to the CEO.

The gap that scares most people when it comes to measuring data is getting into the tools. Our advice is to be fearless with data and measurements. Go into your order platform, go to reports and download the data.

Some final tips on how to successfully measure your plan:

  • Communicate. Make sure you communicate with your team and the people affected. Don’t implement a COA process without seeing how it plays out. Ask questions and find out if it’s working.
  • Kill and rebuild. Don’t be afraid to kill a project if it doesn’t seem to be working. Do it fast and without hesitating.
  • Keep it short. If possible, keep your experiments down to 2 weeks. You’re going to build momentum by keeping everything short and iterating as fast as possible.


Investing in sales ops is essential for any company serious about operating in today’s competitive cannabis environment. In this post we covered  We’ve gone over how cannabis operators can create a high performance sales team by using five simple steps. To sum it up, here are some points to keep in mind as you move forward:

  • Finding the right software tool(s) is vital for having a solid base to build on.
  • Define your goals
  • Build an execution plan. Make sure you have excellent communication with your team. Ask them what works and what doesn’t.
  • Implement your plan. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the tools and the data. Just get started and learn as you go.
  • Measure and Iterate

We hope you found this helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you would like to discuss your own sales ops plans at your company.

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