If you ask ten sales leaders to clearly define the purpose of sales operations and their primary responsibilities, you’ll likely receive ten very different answers.

Some might say that it looks like a small team whose jurisdiction is forecasting and creating reports while another sales leader might describe a strategic function acting as their right hand with responsibilities covering the sales system in its entirety.

We aim to clear up much of this confusion in this guide. Discover what sales operations really is, why it is important and how to make it a success to ensure your sales process flies.  

Table of Contents:

  1. The Basics of Sales Operations
  2. Core Functions of a Sales Operations Team
  3. CRM Adoption and a Formalized Sales Process
  4. A Career in Sales Operations


What is Sales Operations Really About?

The 1970s may be remembered more for the release of such movie classics as ‘Jaws’, and ‘Star Wars’ but it was also when the term ‘Sales operations’ first emerged.

Xerox established a sales ops group nearly fifty years ago to manage such tasks as sales planning, compensation, forecasting and territory design. The main purpose of the group was to take on “all the nasty number things that you don’t want to do, but need to do to make a great sales force” as described by group leader J. Patrick Kelly.

Since then, the importance of Sales ops has rocketed, becoming pivotal to the success of Sales teams within businesses big and small. But how it is defined has moved on.

A more modern definition is provided by CSO Insights:

“A strategic function designed to provide a platform for sales productivity and performance by providing integrated methods, processes, tools, technologies and analytics for the entire sales force and senior executives.”

The focus of sales operations is designing and operating the sales system itself. They provide a framework for selling through strategically implemented training, technology, and engagement techniques. This is the foundation that the sales force at large depends upon to be both effective and productive.

A great analogy that describes the relationship between Sales and Sales Ops perfectly is provided by Alex Rynne, in her LinkedIn Sales blog.

She proposes thinking of sales professionals as a team of thoroughbred racehorses. Though they may be powerful and experienced, their ability and efficiency to perform will be limited without the guidance of a jockey aka the sales ops pro. Spot on!

Sales enablement then picks up the mantle by building on the foundation created by sales ops.

Let’s now delve into the role sales enablement plays.


Sales Operations vs Sales Enablement

Forrester defines Sales Enablement as:

“A strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system.”

In a nutshell, sales enablement is a lot more than sales training. Sales enablement teams ensure all salespeople (or all customer-facing employees) and their managers are equipped with regular and effective enablement services.

These services can include content, training, tools and coaching. The idea is to prepare the salespeople to be relevant, discerning and of value in all customer interactions. Equipping the sales team with the tools and information they need to successfully guide the buyer through the process, means their focus must really be on the buyer rather than the salesperson.

The sales enablement team is likely to be more involved in the earlier stages of selling. They will equip the sales team with the tools and information they need to successfully guide the buyer through the process. This in turn means that their focus is really on the buyer rather than the salesperson.

As highlighted by Ben Cotton in his blog, 59.2% of companies now have a dedicated sales enablement function (up from 32.7%), while 8.5% of companies have plans to create one in the coming year.
These stats clearly highlight the growth of sales enablement. More than that, they illustrate that more businesses are realizing the function is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but rather a ‘must’ for driving revenue.

In recent years some companies have built sales enablement teams to assist sales operations. Both teams function to increase the effectiveness and productivity of sales and thus drive profit increase.

Though there is some overlap between the two functions, it is likely that sales operations and sales enablement will continue to specialize in their services. This is often the case with emerging roles.

Considering the similarity in purpose, it’s important that both teams are clear on what their individual responsibilities are and are fully aligned. More specifically, understanding why they need to collaborate, is also crucial. This ensures there is no disconnect between sales methodology and sales process; and that key technologies are adopted as expected.

To facilitate this collaboration, an alignment framework is useful. Mindtickle provides the below:

Alignment framework for sales operations and sales enablement to work together

Sales Ops is typically involved in creating the strategic framework, forecasting and analysis. They also own and manage sales automation processes that underpin sales efficiencies.

Below are examples of the common tasks each function performs:

Sales Enablement

  • Provide sales training on products and processes
  • Report on sales performance data
  • Communicate with the sales staff directly
  • Utilize tools and analyze data to help engage customers


Sales Ops

  • Assign accounts and plan sales territories
  • Manage both contracts and proposals
  • Determine sales incentives and compensation
  • Manage sales systems and data e.g. the CRM
  • Own sales reporting and forecasting


Benefits of Sales Operations

Though often under-appreciated, a successful sales operations department provides a number of benefits.


Accurate forecasting

Companies are able to forecast future revenue by managing the sales pipeline. This allows them to stay on track to meet their company goals. When sales ops is not in place to analyse the data coming from the pipeline, companies often struggle to forecast revenue accurately. Accurate forecasting allows companies to dispatch resources where they are most needed.

Sales operations manages the data coming from your sales pipeline and allows you to better plan for the future by providing an accurate forecast.


Faster company growth

Companies with a formal sales process generate more revenue. More specifically, companies that spend a minimum of three hours a month analyzing individual sales rep pipelines experience 11% more growth than companies that don’t. This shows that pipeline management is a large component of revenue growth. It is a key responsibility of sales ops.


Data-driven decisions

As previously mentioned, sales ops assist in revenue forecasting so sales leaders can devote resources where they are most needed.

However, the data analyzed by them covers much more than just forecasting and includes metrics concerning all aspects of the sales team, funnel and the performance of individual sales reps. Having this data available enables leadership to make more data-driven decisions. This would be a near impossible if sales ops wasn’t in place.


Formal sales processes

Sales ops increase the accountability of your sales reps by providing detailed metrics and reporting for sales managers. They check to make sure that sales reps are populating necessary data fields and also ensure that reps are following up with recently qualified leads at the appropriate times. As such, sales ops teams ultimately help sales reps follow a formal sales process.


Easier scalability

By helping reps follow a formalized sales process, sales ops makes it easier to scale your sales team. This is particularly important during company growth as the company must adjust its’ processes to facilitate that growth.

Sales operations helps manage and define sales territories. This means that they are extremely helpful in adjusting territory mapping to account for customer base growth and the addition of the new sales reps that will handle the extra demand.

Finally, sales ops administers systems that are used for managing sales data resulting in healthier data as the company expands.


Cultivating new talent

Sales operations teams need to understand every aspect of the roles that sales plays in the overall customer journey. They are often involved in or influence these roles which arms them with valuable insight into the entire sales process. This inevitably makes them “sales process experts”, which is particularly useful when it comes to training or hiring new salespeople.

Sales operations is often drafted in to help combat the high turnover trend that is often synonymous with sales. Typically, they will:

  • Vet applicants for roles
  • Put together an effective onboarding program
  • Train new talent on a company’s various sales processes
  • Educate on new hires on your specific market

Key Metrics for Sales Operations

Data matters a lot in the world of sales operations. In fact, data handling can often be sole focus for sales ops in organizations with a lesser developed function.

As data in a sales organization is typically owned by sales ops, they are often inundated with requests to produce ad-hoc reports.

In order to avoid becoming a purely reactive function, it’s important that sales ops clearly define which data matters and who in the organization it matters to.

Some of the metrics they track relate to the sales process, sales pipeline and some financial data.


Sales Process

Sales ops must take ownership of the sales process to operate from a proactive instead of reactive position.

The following metrics are useful for measuring the existing sales process and identifying any frictions or inefficiencies that can be improved upon.

  • Sales stages used – this tracks the sales stages used during an opportunity. By monitoring which stages are being used by reps and which aren’t, sales operations can modify the sales process to reduce any friction.
  • Time spent selling – how much of your reps’ time is actually used for selling and how much is used on administrative tasks or for attending internal meetings. Keeping track of this allow sales ops to implement processes that can increase sales time and decrease overhead time.
  • Amount accuracy – this measures how accurately your sales reps estimate the value amount of your opportunities.


Sales Pipeline

  • Number of open opportunities – this represents all of the active deals that your sales team currently has a chance of closing
  • Win rate – This represents how many opportunities are converted into a won deal and should be tracked by both the number amount and the value amount.
  • Pipeline forecast – Represents the expected value of the entire sales pipeline and should be made each quarter yet updated at least every week.
  • Average Won Amount – Represents the average monetary value of all won opportunities. Combining this with the win rate and open opportunities metrics allows you to determine the gross pipeline value.


Financial

  • Lifetime Value – This metric represents the total value of a customer over time
  • Customer Acquisition Cost – This is the complete cost of acquiring a new customer, including the cost of the sales and marketing resources used as well as any additional overhead.
  • Customer Churn Rate – this metric tells you how many customers of those that initially purchase your service decide to renew.


What are the Common Pitfalls to Avoid

So far, we’ve hopefully done a pretty job in detailing how great sales ops can be for the sales function and the wider organization.

However, there are some common pitfalls that sales ops leaders should be aware of and try to avoid:

  • Losing sight of the day-to-day – For many sales ops pros, the thought of spending even more time with the sales reps may be a step too far, but it is necessary. Working more closely with sales opens the door to join up more strategically to achieve business goals.
  • Field overload – On the surface it may seem wise to have lots of fields on forms and report. The more information the better right? Not always. Especially if some will never get filled in or have no benefit to the business. So why hang on to them? Delete and save your energy.
  • Staying in your comfort zone – Take some time talk to colleagues in a completely different department. Why? It provides the opportunity to uncover challenges they may be experiencing and allows Sales ops a way to help resolve them.
  • Saying ‘no’ to change – Change needs to be embraced. Especially if that change comes in the shape of new tools and technologies that help automate processes and increase efficiencies.


Core Functions of a Sales Operations Team

Sales continues to evolve. What once was an art form based on charisma, intuition and instinct is slowly becoming a science. Something that can be objectively measured, analysed and replicated. As this evolution unfolds, the role of sales operations expands, alongside new strategic and tactical activities becoming integrated into the function.

You could therefore say that almost any part of sales that includes a technology, a process or data should concern sales ops.

For simplicity, sales operations’ activities can be categorized into the following groups:

  • Assisting Strategic Planning
  • Analysing Sales Performance
  • Sales Readiness/Sales Cycle Assistance
  • Technology Management
  • Resource Allocation


Strategic Planning Assistance

Sales leaders regularly take time to convert their organisation’s go-to-market strategy into sales initiatives. This normally happens in readiness for the beginning of the fiscal year.

Leaders decide approaches to territory assigning, target markets and channel coverage. Sales operations is often an essential planning collaborator in these discussions. This is because they have the access and capabilities to collect data, build models for testing scenarios and collate the necessary particulars into an overall strategy.

Sales operations support strategic planning in a number of ways:


Customer Analysis and Reporting

Sales operations helps the sales and marketing teams with adding identifying data to targeted customer segments and determining markers for optimal customer profiles. This creates value for an organisation by identifying which customers prospecting efforts should focus on.


Defining the Sales Organisation Structure

Sales ops can help answer a lot of the hypothetical questions leaders may have when it comes to making decisions surrounding organizational design.


Modeling: Sales Compensation

Modeling compensation strategies to determine the potential consequences of changes is a key way Sales Ops assists sales leaders. They suggest alternative options to adopt for optimal results. It is also often likely to be the team administering the plan.


Modeling: Territory

Sales operations can create models to represent the impact of decisions involving territory design. Following this, the function is often responsible for territory balancing, account allocation and the administration of the territory management system.


Channel Definition

Determining the way channels might play a role in the sales distribution model is another area Sales Operations is involved in. They also regulate how a combination of channel and direct sellers can provide sufficient coverage without creating needless channel conflict.


Analyzing Sales Performance

The following group of activities are areas where sales operations creates and are responsible for processes concerning data collection and also support leaders in the implementation of sales strategies via data analysis.


Forecast Management and Pipeline Management

More often than not, Sales Operations owns the systems, processes and tools required to create refined forecasts that senior executives and stakeholders will use. They are mainly responsible for collaborating with sales leadership to make sure the forecast is accurate.


Performance Metrics

The metrics for seller performance are normally found in an array of sales systems. Sales operations uses those systems to build dashboards and reports that give leaders much needed visibility into team and individual seller performance metrics. The insights gained from such reports allow leaders, managers and salespeople to make informed decisions for improving results.


Defining The Sales Process

Sales operations is responsible for creating a dynamic sales process that considers the buying processes of targeted customers and aligns them with clearly delineated and honed selling processes.

Analytics must be used to regularly refine this process. The organization must commit to continually training and emphasizing this process so that it becomes second nature where selling is concerned.


Communicating With Leadership

Sales leaders depend on insights provided by sales ops to make the data-driven decisions necessary for successfully executing the sales plan. As such, a focus of sales operations is often transforming the data they have into these insights and regularly communicating them to the leaders.


Sales Readiness / Sales Cycle Assistance

These activities summarize some of the tasks that sales operations carry out in order to assist sellers in moving opportunities through the funnel effectively and efficiently.


Deal Desk Management

Deal desks can help with a number of deal components whether that is pricing and deciding discount amounts or calibrating solutions and moving deals through contracting processes.

Sales operations is responsible for defining the characteristics of candidate deals which can include value, strategic importance and complexity and defining the required inputs and results from the deal desk.


Technology Management

In CSO Insights 2017 ‘World Class Sales Practices’, 70% of the sales leader indicated that the rate of change in “competitive activity” and “customer expectations” was accelerating significantly or noticeably. In response to these concerns, sales leaders are increasing their awareness of new threats to their businesses and are looking for opportunities to acquire competitive advantage.

Vendors have recognized this, resulting in an explosion of sales productivity tools that utilize modern capabilities like predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. It is obviously risky to blindly adopt emerging technologies so how do businesses decide which to use and which will have the most impact?

Businesses look to Sales Ops leaders to evaluate the potential impact of these tools. They evaluate how the sales process can better complement the customer’s buying journey, or what can be done to improve the productivity of the sales team.

Sales operations is responsible for managing technologies used by the sales team, the data held within these systems and the integration and alignment between them. The activities in technology management that sales operations most commonly take a leadership role in are as follows:


Defining and Updating the CRM

Ownership of the CRM normally belongs to Sales operations. They decide when to update the CRM and how to maintain the data within it.

Sales ops also typically owns the creation and management of the sales technology stack. As CRM adoption and productivity improvements from the CRM remain an issue for many sales team, this role in particular is a difficult one.


Managing Sales Tools and Technology

When the sales organization wants to utilize technology specifically for sales, the sales ops team must be the first point of contact. This is because the sales technology stack as a whole is their responsibility.

The management, deployment and integration of any tool that falls under sales technology, is owned by sales ops. This can include virtual coaching tools, sales enablement content management tools and lead scoring tools to name a few.


Managing Marketing Automation

Many businesses struggle with aligning sales and marketing. Creating a formal process that allows both departments to jointly nurture leads can be a challenge.

Marketing automation management is defined by sales ops. They manage the lead flow processes that need to be in place between the CRM and the marketing automation system.


CRM Adoption and a Formal Sales Process

Failure is often caused by inadequacies in systems and processes rather than problems with personnel. Salespeople must have access to robust systems, sound processes and trustworthy data to excel in their roles. This is another area where sales operations comes into play.

There are a variety of tools that sales ops utilize to support salespeople.

One such tool is the much heralded CRM – one of the most popular sales tools today. It is almost unheard of for any sales team to not be using one to manage their sales funnel. They are used to manage sales components such as contacts, accounts and opportunities.

Despite its prevalence many companies struggle to successfully adopt the CRM post implementation. In a 2018 study by the Alexander Group, it was revealed that less than half of sales organisations boasted a CRM adoption rate of more than the ideal 90%.

It is important to note however, that CRM adoption should not be the sole goal of sales operations. Why? Because researchers have still found a significant difference in the win and quota attainment rates when looking at different companies that all have a high CRM adoption rate. This difference can be attributed to having a formal sales process in place.

The numbers speak for themselves. According to research by the Sales Management Association, 90% of all companies that use a formal, guided sales process were as the highest performing. They typically enjoy a win and quota attainment rate of over 20% more than companies with informal sales processes.

One major issue with CRM adoption lies in the fact that most sales organizations have little confidence in the quality of the data in their CRMs.

Sales operations can offset this by using other tools to augment the flow of data into the CRM thus ensuring the accuracy of the information found in the CRM.

It’s important to remember that the CRM is just the foundation of the sales’ technology stack. And sales operations must build on it in order for the sales organization to successfully measure and improve sales performance.


Creating a formal sales process

Now how to actually create a formal sales process.

But first, some more stats to hammer home the importance of a formal sales process:

Your sales team’s win rate can increase by 24%, decrease your sales cycle length by 20% and raise your average sale price by 15%.

So clearly, it is not something that should be ignored.

Organizations need a way to replicate the approach of their top performing salespeople who meet sales quotas, close deals and bring in revenue – consistently. That’s what a sales process is.

Adopting a sales process in your organization equips sales representatives with the knowledge of what actions to take, the approach to take them with and the timing of it all during a sale. Basically, a good sales process helps sales reps take the most effective path of a sales cycle.

It also benefits sales managers by allowing sales performance to be accurately monitored and deal progression to be tracked.

Quick summary of the benefits of a sales process:

For the sales rep:

  • Shortened length of the sales cycle
  • Increased wins
  • Increased productivity
  • More leads obtained
  • Higher percentage of met quotas achieved
  • Customer interactions standardized

For sales management:

  • Improved alignment with marketing
  • Increased win size
  • Better forecast accuracy
  • More deals in the pipeline
  • Greater visibility of the sales pipeline
  • Able to scale successful revenue generation practices

But where to start when trying to put together a sales process?

Building a sales process can be boiled down to three steps:

  1. Information gathering and design
  2. Defining
  3. Revision


Information gathering and design

Your first step in building a sales process should be to observe your sales reps.

Take a look at the last 10 deals that were closed and try to identify the major steps that took place during process.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What touch points occurred with the customer?
  • How long did the whole process take from prospecting through to close?
  • How much time did each step take?

Once you’ve identified the average steps and timeframe, you’ll be better positioned to build a selling timeline that salespeople should expect to go through.

The more examples you can gather from the more people on your team, the better your timeline will be.

Consider the following.

If you’ve looked at 10 deals and 8 of them closed in around 5 weeks, then you can take a closer look to see which steps were shared across all 8 closed deals.

Taking an average of the steps could look something like this:

  • Warm emails x 3
  • Prospecting calls x 2
  • Discovery call x 1
  • Phone call x 1
  • Demo given x 1
  • Follow-ups x 4
  • A week of deliberation before contract signing

Once you’ve grasped your current sales cycle, look for any patterns. Try to identify the more subtle driving forces or pain points that propelled each deal to closing.

Ask:

  • How did the sales reps leverage a pain point to sell the customer on the necessity of the product?
  • How did prospects find your product?

Answering these questions should give you an idea of how to structure the sales process.


Defining your sales process

When defining the stages of your sales process, remember that each stage should be distinct.

There are five common stages:

  1. Prospecting

Prospecting is the start. It is part of a rep’s normal workflow and involves sourcing early stage leads. These leads should match your buyer persona.

A buyer persona is a fictitious portrayal of your ideal customer who is experiencing problems that can be solved with your product. You should identify a unique set of pain points for each persona and determine how to solve them.

Prospecting can occur at industry events, conferences or online using sites like LinkedIn. Sales reps can also prospect by simply asking their network of associates, colleagues and clients for referrals.

2. Qualifying

At this stage, the salesperson will initiate contact with an early stage lead. Their aim is to learn more about them and assess their “fit” before moving forward.

There are a number of different types of qualifying techniques. These include MEDDIC, CHAMP, GPCT and more. The most common framework used by businesses is BANT, which stands for:

  • Budget – What is the prospect’s budget?
  • Authority – Does the prospect a decision-maker or influencer?
  • Need – What need does the prospect have?
  • Time – In what timeframe is the prospect looking to implement the solution?

Qualifying typically occurs using a “discovery” call where the salesperson can learn about the prospects pain points and business targets.

3. Researching

This involves learning more about the prospect and the prospect’s company. The sales rep may speak with other people from different departments of the prospect’s company to gain a better understanding of their business goals. Researching allows the rep to provide a more customized experience for the prospect, which increases the likelihood of closing a deal.

4. Presenting

This is a time-consuming stage of the sales process. Since it involves formally presenting the service being sold, it typically only happens for well-qualified prospects because it is often resource-heavy task.

The demonstration should focus on the pain points and use case of the prospect. It’s not uncommon for engineers or executives to also attend the meeting. This allows the prospect to experience the service level that they can expect and have more technical questions answered.

5. Closing

This stage includes the late-stage activities that normally take place as a deal approaches it’s close. These activities can vary widely depending on your company, but can involve:

  • Negotiating
  • Delivering a proposal
  • Gaining buy-in of other stakeholders


Every sales rep works towards the closing stage. This involves a contract agreement that benefits both the prospect and the seller.

After closing, the representative receives a commission on the negotiated price and the account is normally passed on to the Customer Success team or an Account Manager.

Sales process flow diagram
Sales Process Map by Lucidchart


Revision

Once a sales process has been defined and implemented, by no means does the work finish there.

As your business grows, or circumstances change, the sales process should be modified. Sales operations should be constantly analyzing it and seeing how it can be improved.

Bottlenecks are common in sales processes. Eliminating them is one of the easiest ways to improve the performance of the sales team


Technology for Sales Ops

Over the last few years, there has been a large amount of innovation in sales technology.

The different types of sales tools that sales ops commonly utilize can be grouped into five main areas:

  • Lead generation and conversion
  • Activity and sales process management
  • Content for sales enablement and training
  • Seller productivity/efficiency
  • General operations

Multiple platforms can easily overwhelm salespeople with their complexity.

What was initially intended as a solution can easily become a problem on the sales floor which explains the need for sales ops. They manage the sales tech stack which allows sales reps to focus solely on selling.

Sales ops achieves this by:

  • Integrating apps and tools
  • Overseeing the adoption and customization of the CRM
  • Guiding communications
  • Managing data and reporting
  • Automating tasks


Task Automation

According to Salesforce, sales teams only spend 34% of their time selling. 25% of a salesperson’s time on average is taken up by non-selling administrative tasks. This inefficiency is combatted by sales operations’ greatest weapon: automation.


Data Entry

Your CRM should be a complete record of customer activity in your organisation. But often the data is incomplete and unreliable. This is one of the major reasons that companies struggle with CRM adoption.

This leads to sales reps having to spend hours manually entering information on deals, customers and sales activities. This in turn takes valuable time away from their most important role: selling.

FunnelFox automates CRM data entry to drastically decrease the time sales reps spend in the CRM. The quality of the CRM data also increases greatly. It’s a win-win scenario.

Also, lead enrichment tools can eliminate the need for salespeople to manually research leads by auto-populating lead profiles with relevant information.


Creating meetings

Scheduling a meeting with a lead normally requires sending multiple emails back and forth. This often means discussing different time slots until a suitable one is agreed upon.

This hassle can be erased completely by implementing a tool like Calendly. It allows you to forward a link to your calendar and show your available time slots. The lead can then choose a suitable time slot. This results in a calendar invite being sent to both parties.


Follow up tasks

As the above shows, most sales professionals are missing out on most sales opportunities by not following-up.

Tools, like FunnelFox, can automate this process. They free sales reps from having to keep track of which clients they need to follow up with. Reminders are automatically created as to-do tasks in Salesforce. They are marked as complete once a rep has contacted the client in question.

A career in Sales Operations

Working in sales operations typically requires a mix of strategic and operational skills.

Strategy requires a ‘big picture’ approach as it involves considering long-term goals, high-level process design and team size. This means skills in design, analysis and problem solving are essential, alongside project management experience.

However, a more detail-orientated approach is required for operations.

Strategic tasks need the approximate parameters of sales operations to be defined. But, operational experience executes the details.

Here are some of the different types of Sales Operations roles:

  • Sales Operations Representative

This is an entry-level sales operations position. This role requires 0-2 years of professional experiences and the rep should have great attention to detail, a good technical aptitude, excellent communication skills and be familiar with sales and marketing automation.

  • Sales Operations Analyst

This role requires 3 years in a sales operations role as a minimum.

Working cross-functionally across marketing, product, analytics, engineering etc is to be expected.

A sales ops analyst must have experience in data mining, data modeling and data quality management. This means a proactive approach and problem-solving skills are required. Though not necessary, knowledge of business intelligence tools and Excel is also extremely useful.

  • Senior Sales Operations Analyst

This role requires over 4 years experience in a sales operations position.

A senior sales operations analyst needs to be familiar with CRMs, data modeling, business intelligence platforms and Excel. As they will likely work with sales executives, good interpersonal skills are needed.

  • Sales Operations Manager

This role normally requires 5 years experience. Their primary responsibility is to supervise the sales operations specialists. This means sales ops knowledge and experience in leadership is ideal.

They should be familiar with sales methodologies, the impetus behind sales behaviour and how sales processes function. It is important for the sales ops manager to be able to model and analyze data.

  • VP of Sales Operations (or Senior Director of Sales Operations)

This role requires 10 years sales operations experience, including a number of successful leadership roles. The VP of sales operations will manage a team and work closely with senior leadership.

A technical Masters degree or MBA is usually required. Familiarity with CRMs and sales automation tools is a must.

The VP must be able to create complex financial and operational models using database software and spreadsheets. This means exceptional presentation and communication skills are needed.

You can find Sales Operations job listings near you here.


Conclusion

The sales operations function initially emerged as a way to introduce science and best practice into sales. It has now become an intrinsic part of the sales organization.

Sales ops roles and responsibilities vary greatly across different businesses. Many companies have some form of a sales operations function. As it continues to grow, it will have a much larger and more sustainable impact on sales performance outside of CRM management.   

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