The value of partnering with sales teams in the benefits world

Today’s HR executives are well-educated and know what they need to administer benefits to their employees. They also are notoriously overworked and understaffed.

When shopping for new products and services to streamline a process to benefit employees, HR must research different benefits administration solutions to address the unique needs of their employees.

Based on my role as a sales operations specialist, HR typically poses these three questions when conducting a search for new admin products and services: Is this system user friendly for my employees and me/my team? Does this system integrate with the carriers/payroll? What is the expectation of ownership on me/my team?

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In a complex and evolving market, HR admin teams must overcome challenges such as payroll and carrier connectivity, IRS reporting and other regulatory compliance issues. They must also articulate the value of benefits that companies provides to each employee. Paramount is finding the right benefits admin products and services to lessen HR’s workload regarding benefit questions, carrier numbers and eligibility.

As a sales consultant counsels HR, the sales ops associate provides technical validation for the prospective buyer. A sales ops associate works closely with internal team members across the organization and has a firm grasp on new and emerging technologies. Having a sales ops associate involved in the sales cycle illuminates why a particular benefits admin platform may be the best one for that individual client’s needs, which helps advance the buyer journey.

Sales operations provides a level of integrity around the validity of the system. Before product demonstrations my team is given a profile of what the prospect is seeking in a solution. What are their objectives? What can I show them to help meet those objectives, lessen the workload on their team and empower their employees to feel confident in their benefits?

Power of Analyzing Data
In addition to having access to different constituents within the buyer’s organization, sales ops has the benefit of being able to analyze data and drawing insightful conclusions based on that data. Owning the developments that propels a sale forward means understanding current clients and market trends. Through collecting this data, a sales ops associate has visibility into integration with the carriers in the market, common clean up HR administrators expect after an annual enrollment or an company acquisition, even the ROI that is factored into selecting the right benefits administration tool.

When providing references for a prospect, sales ops also must connect directly with current clients based on real data. It’s no longer about finding a connection with similar sizes and products; it’s about finding the right client to connect to a prospect and ensuring the conversation is relevant and productive to both parties. This requires access and thoughtful analysis of system data.

Sales ops associates have a tremendous responsibility to highlight the value of a benefits administration platform and create a meaningful experience in a demonstration, a proposal, and the final negotiations of a sale.

While looking for a platform to best fit the technical and cultural needs, the prospective buyer must have confidence that the sales ops specialist will analyze their goals, offer solutions and streamline the discovery found in the buying process. The information collected along the way is passed to the legal department for the contracting phase, the client service team for set up and the data team for building the platform that fits the vision projected in the proposal that delivers on the promise.

A sales ops associate plays a duel role of being an internal activist as well as an advocate for the prospective buyer. By having visibility into the questions HR reps ask, sales ops can partner with their internal teams to get in front of forthcoming changes in the benefits industry. The ultimate goal is to be a pioneering thinker, to streamline communication processes and drive the sale. By creating a strategy for HR representatives, sales ops becomes a true partner and ensures that the product will meet the employer’s evolving business requirements today and in the future.

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