What is the role of sales operations and what is its impact on a company’s income

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Sales development representative, business developer, account executive, account manager, sales manager, chief of sales, etc. These names sound familiar to us, right? Well, to this long list of job titles, we are going to add that of sales operations. It is probably not as well known as the ones mentioned above, at least in Spain, but more and more companies are beginning to recruit or train people for this position.

But how does this figure arise? What responsibilities do you have? What impact can it have on the company’s revenue? And how do we find these profiles? In this article we will answer these questions, trying to shed some light on one of the great innovations in commercial equipment that will undoubtedly set a trend in the future until it becomes a “must”.

How the figure of sales operations was born

In a highly competitive environment where not only is it sought to sell, but also to understand the market: clients, competition, environment, etc; sales professionals cannot be thinking the same way they did a few years ago. The requirement that comes with understanding and then selling is a common denominator for all companies. This is mainly due to the increase in the complexity of the markets where it is increasingly difficult to adapt to the market and adapt the organization itself to the reality of its industry. Given this paradigm, it becomes completely necessary have analytical and purely strategic profiles within the sales teams.

This situation becomes even more acute when a sales organization begins to scale to support a growing business. Sales operations become a vital function. With more customers and revenue, there are more KPIs to track and more complexity to how they sell equipment.

This is where the figure of “head of sales operations” or “sales operations manager” arises.

Sales operations responsibilities

The head of sales operations or sales operations managers are Responsible for developing and overseeing a sales process to enable the growth of the organizations they support. In other words, the sales operations managers or head of sales operations and their teams take care of everything that the commercials need to support their sales capacity. Among its main responsibilities we find:

Supervise the sales funnel

The sales operations manager is responsible for making sure that sales opportunities move smoothly through the company’s sales funnel. The individual in this role must track conversion rates through each stage of the funnel, analyzing the relevant data in order to make solid recommendations on how to improve productivity.

Streamlining and optimization of the sales process

A sales operations manager can identify areas of your team’s sales process that could be costing you valuable business. This is not limited to the analytical part, but also, if you have a profile that dominates the business vision, you can propose and implement solutions to keep your sales process in top shape.

Select, implement and manage sales automation tools

Making sure that the sales team has the tools they need to be successful in the sales process is one of the maxims of this figure. This task begins with the study of the different tools that exist in the market, quickly understanding how they adapt to the organization and then making the onboarding of these tools as simple as possible for the people in the sales team.

Manage CRM data

Even with a very good crms implemented, it is possible that sales teams are not getting all the benefits of it and much more if the system is not optimized for the team. Being an expert in managing a CRM, understanding the data that commercial teams need at all times, implementing different evolutionary panels of metrics or business, extracting key information for making strategic decisions, etc; It is another of the operational roles that a sales operations manager must coordinate.

Transform ideas and data into business strategy

Let’s not forget that the figure of head of sales operations or sales operations manager is a transversal profile that supports all sales managers and therefore has a great knowledge of what is happening internally and externally. . For this reason, he will clearly participate in the company’s commercial strategy.

How to find a good sales operations

The head of sales operations or sales operations managers constantly working on multiple projects while engaging stakeholders from across the business: finance teams, strategy teams, human resources, etc. All of these teams have their own priorities; therefore the head of sales operations have the task of “juggling” all these different interests and negotiating between the different teams.

Due to this, a profile that works the sales operations correctly is an extremely complete profile where they come together: strategic vision, commercial vision, analytical capacity. Here are some of the key skills effective sales operations managers must have:

Business acumen Organizational skills Sales funnel management Program management Project management Analysis and reporting experience Understanding of CRM and database software Experience with Financial Systems Experience in people management

The first companies that have begun to work with these profiles are the pioneers in the market, the big tech companies or the scaleups whose need for growth has made it essential to have extremely analytical profiles, with strategic vision and business development. One of my recommendations is directly search on LinkedIn the descriptions of this job and choose what are the demands of big companies like HubSpot, Salesforce or Google or Facebook. This will help guide our search, not only by the characteristics that we require from a sales op, but also taking into account how these large companies are trying to attract this highly coveted but complex profile to hire.

But What if you are not able to attract this talent? In this case, another of the options that many companies are considering is to cover this position with internal talent that they already have inside. This profile, it is vital that you understand a lot about business and sales; but at the same time love the strategic and analytical part; being able to have a transversal vision of all the commercial processes and even of the relationship that the sales team has with others such as marketing, product or technology. A good head of sales operations is undoubtedly a great ally of the chief of sales, who in many cases is much more focused on billing.

Direct impact on the company

With all this, we already know perfectly well what a head of sales operations or sales operations manager is, but now the question is, what impact will it have on an organization?

Promotes profitability

The sales & revenue operations teams are primarily responsible for providing high-level support to the sales department co-defining the strategy and giving constant follow-up in the commercial process itself. Sales operations should not be confused with sales enablement teams, which are only involved in the early stages of the sales lifecycle and focus on supporting sales reps.

The goal of sales operations teams is to improve sales performance by taking responsibility for business process improvements, sales data, and strategic planning, and allowing sales reps to focus more on selling. Sales operations teams use data analysis and sales forecasting to establish a sales strategy.

Therefore, generate a direct impact on productivity of the sales teams with actions such as: improving the pitch, reducing the time of the leads in the sales funnels or providing tools that generate automation; It will be directly linked to an increase in profitability. You can get more with the same resources.

Help as a faithful ally to the commercial director

Within direct reporting, a head of sales operations or sales operations manager, Reports directly to the Commercial Director. However, this report must be very different from the traditional report that an account manager or even a key account manager usually does; Mainly because they are going to be talking about numbers and customers in a more operational way.

However, the report that the figure of sales operations will carry out goes much further, talking about aspects that are strategic and global about the entire sales process of the company. For this same reason, he becomes a maximum ally of the commercial director, because he is providing him with valuable more quantitative information that helps to understand the qualitative information that the rest of the commercials can provide.

We can say that a good sales operations manager greatly helps to clarify ideas and even define the course of what a commercial director has in mind, providing them with a new vision that they did not have until now. This means that the commercial director focuses almost exclusively on making his team sell, while the sales operations manager focuses on making this team sell better and more efficiently.

Build scalability in times of growth

Automation and scalability are two concepts that are the order of the day. Many times we will have heard that “what is not measurable cannot be improved”; Well, a good head of sales operations would add “and what is not measurable, is not replicable and therefore is not scalable”. And what is the most replicable within a commercial department? The sales processes.

For the same reason, the figure of sales operations must be constantly measuring the processes, seeking to refine them to the maximum, correcting them if necessary, achieving the desired efficiency and, once this point has been reached, scaling them “to infinity”.

And it is that scalability is not only generated with good products, but also with very well defined processes in the commercial area.

James Sanmartin is Business Manager at BigBuy

Image: Depositphotos

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