Career Path Deep Dive: Sales Operations

Are you interested in beginning or furthering a career in sales operations? 

The career path to sales operations is not linear. In fact, you can transition from almost any role to sales ops! To thrive in this role, you’ll need a technical and strategic mindset and people skills. 

So, what exactly IS sales operations? 

Sales operations is all about supporting and enabling the sales team to sell more efficiently and effectively. It can involve both strategic and tactical functions. As with any role, the responsibilities and functions might vary based on the team and organization. Generally, sales ops provide strategic direction, information, and tools to improve the sales process. 

Michelle Kim (Director, Sales Operations and Strategy) @ Zendesk shared some tactical tips for finding success on the sales operations career path.

Sales Operations requires many hats.

Sales ops can serve many functions, whether it’s: 

  • Strategic planning
  • Compensation and commission design
  • Systems and tools
  • Forecasting and pipeline management
  • Reporting and analytics

Ultimately, the goal is to reduce friction in the sales process and enable sellers to be more efficient and successful. That will help drive both revenue and growth.

Excel is not the most fundamental skill.

The highest competency required to succeed in sales operation is not Excel. It’s strong people skills and emotional intelligence. Clear and frequent communication will help you find alignment among various stakeholders, business partners and other key players.

Spend time networking internally.

Spend time connecting with peers in other departments to understand their roles and their strengths. It will help you become a stronger contributor to your company, whether that is as a seller, sales operations specialist, or other contributor.

Coffee chats are a great place to start. They can give you a holistic view of the business and what your colleagues’ goals and projects are. Revenue and bookings are the lifeblood of a company, so from a sales ops perspective, meeting with other teams can actually spark inspiration and collaboration.

To be successful in a sales operations  role (or any role), you have to: 
  1. Find your strengths
  2. Have someone in your corner, and
  3. Be confident in your skills. 

Lastly, sales operations involves working with different stakeholders. So continue building and nurturing the positive relationships around you. 

Want to learn more? You can stream the full event recording here.

Thank you to all of the WISE partners for making this event possible and our panelists for sharing their time and advice.