A Crash Course in Sales Operations

Sales operations (SalesOps) is a critical function within sales teams tasked with managing efficiency in the sales system so salespeople are more productive and successful. This department handles a variety of tasks and responsibilities – anything and everything that helps sales teams achieve sustainable growth.

In fact, the SalesOps function can vary from business to business and includes everything from lead management, sales strategy, territory alignment, process optimisation, compensation plans, sales automation, training, data analytics and reporting.

SALES OPERATIONS V SALES ENABLEMENT

Sales operations and sales enablement both work to improve sales productivity and revenue but, put simply, the difference between the two functions is that SalesOps analyses the data and makes decisions, whilst sales enablement puts those decisions into action.

For example, SalesOps might learn that the sales team is not taking enough time during a certain stage of the sales process, therefore not optimising outcomes. So, the sales enablement team would create training to help the sales team better conduct that stage of the process.

The sales enablement function is usually more active at the top of the funnel, focusing on content and tools for prospect engagement. Whereas, SalesOps focuses more on mid funnel and the closing stages of a sale. SalesOps also works on core structure initiatives like territory design and sales incentives.

In a successful sales system, there should be a very clear roles and responsibilities between operations and enablement – each with clear goals, deliverables and KPIs. 

SETTING UP YOUR SALESOPS TEAM

To deliver on SalesOps’ broader purpose to enhance the effectiveness, productivity, and business impact of your sales team, your sales operations department has many roles and responsibilities and covers a range of tactical and strategic responsibilities. These include:

  • Cross-functional collaboration

  • Data management and forecasting

  • Recruitment, onboarding and training

  • Lead generation and management

  • Sales methodology evaluation

  • Performance management

  • Pricing and contract support

  • Process optimisation and improvement

  • Sales incentive and commission management 

  • Strategy and team structure

  • Team communications

  • Sales technology evaluation and management

  • Territory structure and alignment

With so many complex and critical responsibilities, forming the right team can make or break the impact of SalesOps.

From a skills profile perspective the key competencies required for your SalesOps team can be put in two buckets:

  1. Tactical and support

  2. Strategy and design

If you want to build a strong SalesOps department, make sure you’re hiring people who satisfy both competencies — or multiple people who at least satisfy one or the other.