What is Sales Operations and Why is it Important?

Sales remain the core of business operations in companies across various domains. Simply put, you do not have a business if you do not have sales. This is the reason that companies invest heavily in salespersons to drive the growth ambitions of the organization. Often, salespersons alone are not able to achieve their goals without a robust support system, and this is precisely what sales operations are all about.

Sales Operations, better known as Sales Ops, have assumed greater importance in numerous corporations across domains. 85% of salespersons agree that Sales Ops has assumed strategic importance for their organizations. Sales teams are revered; they are best at selling and are responsible for creating a revenue stream for the company.

Sales Ops ensure that sales teams are at the right place, at the right time, with the right information to back their efforts. 89% of sales experts believe that sales operations management plays a crucial role in driving growth for a company.

Read on to learn more about sales operations and why it is important for companies across the spectrum.

What are sales operations?

The original sales operations definition is straightforward and simple. It describes sales operations as a strategic function that enables, supports, and drives efficient sales strategies and programs. Sales operations meaning also cover all the processes and activities that take place inside a sales organization to enable sales teams to sell in a faster, better and more efficient manner. Sales Ops teams empower sales representatives through the latest software solutions and engagement strategies to achieve the sales target.

In a nutshell, Sales Ops bring structure to the sales processes. Sales Ops professionals leverage best practices and new technology to achieve their goals. 54% of companies have integrated sales operations in key strategic processes like forecasting and analysis.

The huge impact that sales operations have on the productivity and efficiency of the sales teams has assumed strategic importance for mature sales entities, particularly in the SaaS sector.

Importance of Sales Operations

Sales Ops has assumed paramount importance in sales-oriented organizations. Companies with a well-defined sales operations department enjoy 20% to 30% growth in sales productivity .

Sales operations management is crucial for companies looking to enhance the efficiency of their sales process. Sales Ops teams drive this strategy by offering ongoing support to sales managers and salespersons through the latest technology. This helps enhance the salesperson's efficiency manifolds.

Some of the latest innovations that Sales Ops teams leverage for this purpose are AI-based suggestions, automated forecasting, and performance dashboards. These technologies equip the sales teams with the necessary data to drive sales and bring in more revenue to the business.

What does Sales Operations do?

By freeing the sales managers and salespersons from administrative tasks and account management, Sales Ops teams allow the sales teams to focus better on what they are meant to do, i.e., sell, sell, and just sell! Listed here are some of the key operations performed by Sales Ops teams: -

Efficient Sales Process

Sales reps presently spend only 33% of their time doing the actual selling . Sales Ops takes care of back-end tasks like data entry or scheduling meetings. This allows the reps to focus on selling or creating a strategy for selling. Sales Ops professionals leverage the latest technologies to enhance the efficiency of sales strategies even further.

Analyze Sales Performance

Having access to updated data is essential to improve sales performance. Sales Ops teams help the sales teams move from data to actionable insights, thereby helping with making crucial decisions. Sales Ops teams create reports based on metrics to identify the actual health of the business. This helps them determine the problem areas and then suggest the steps to be taken to improve sales strategies and operations.

Identify Best Practices

Sales Ops teams are responsible for analyzing sales processes to determine the areas for improvement. This enables them to identify trends that can help with selling more efficiently. These trends are then used to define the best practices that the sales teams must follow. This would reduce the length of the sales cycle for new hires significantly.

Lead Sales Planning

The sales operation manager works with the sales manager in the organization to define the vision and strategy for the future. Then, they undertake concerted efforts to ensure that the sales planning process delivers desired results. Some activities that Sales Ops teams undertake here are capacity planning, territory planning, compensation planning, and quota planning.

Sales Operations Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities within sales teams would vary based on the sales operations team structure. Hence, the focus of the company leadership should be on creating an effective team with experts in the right positions. A great way to go ahead will be to start with a basic team and then add new roles as the company evolves.

Sales operations roles and responsibilities can be identified as follows: -

  • Sales Director: - This is the top-most role in the Sales Ops team. It is the responsibility of the sales director to collaborate with other leaders for policy-level decisions. He/she will be responsible for creating strategies to drive productivity, efficiency, and growth across the entire organization.
  • Sales Operations Manager: - The sales operations manager is responsible for transforming executive direction into reality. The manager must have a keen focus on getting the best out of the other team members using best practices.
  • Sales Operations Representative: - The Sales Ops professionals must handle everyday tasks in the department. The responsibilities could include data entry, report preparation, and offering support to the salespersons.
  • Sales Ops Analyst: - It is the role of the Sales Ops analyst to use the latest tools and software solutions to offer suggestions to the sales teams. The analysts also need to create performance reports for every member of the sales team.

Sales Enablement vs Sales Operations

It is common for some sales professionals to confuse sales operations and sales enablement and use them interchangeably. But there are several clear distinctions that you can observe on comparing sales enablement vs sales operations.

Sales Ops are focused on strategic and external aspects of the sales process. Sales Ops teams are concerned with certain things that must take place for a smooth sales process. On the other hand, sales enablement teams are responsible for internal aspects of the organization concerned with helping the salespersons complete the sales. Sales enablement is an ongoing process to ensure that sales reps have received suitable training, guidance, and know-how required to engage with the buyers productively. In fact, 65% of high-performing sales teams have a dedicated sales enablement team .

Both these functions are extremely important for salespersons. Even if Sales Ops and Sales Enablement are two separate functions, there is some cross-functional collaboration. Many experts also argue that, in fact, sales enablement is a function under the Sales Ops teams.

While sales enablement and sales operations are separate functions, they are both actively used by salespersons to enhance the efficiency of the sales strategy and operations. Reports indicate that 84% of sales representatives achieve their quota with help of the best enablement strategies .

Important Sales Ops Metrics

For efficient sales operations management, it is the duty of the sales operations manager to monitor some important metrics. The choice of metrics can vary across companies, but they do offer detailed insights for optimization of the sales process to ensure better win rates.

Some of the most important Sales Ops metrics are as follows: -

  • Lead Response Time: - The time is taken by a lead to respond to a sales pitch positively.
  • Quota Achievement Rate: - The percentage of the sales team that has achieved its given quota during a given period.
  • Pipeline Efficiency: - Measure the effectiveness of salespersons in maintaining their pipelines.
  • Time Spent Selling: - The actual time that is being spent on selling by the salespersons and not on other administrative tasks.
  • Average Sales Cycle Length: - The average time is taken by the salespersons to close the deal.
  • Average Win Rate: - The ratio of closed deals against the total number of deals during a given period.

Sales operations play a key role in driving revenue growth for a company. Sales Ops not only enhances the efficiency of the sales teams but also helps ensure transparency in the decision-making process. Hence, companies must invest in this key function and create a sales operations team as soon as possible to maintain an edge over the competitors.


01. Why are sales operations so important?

Sales operations are extremely important for companies as it offers them analytics, resources, and decision support required by the sales team to close more deals in lesser time.

02. What is the difference between sales and sales operations?

Sales are all about closing deals and finalizing purchase orders through sales representatives. At the same time, sales operations act as the support system for sales teams by helping them formulate strategies and allocate resources to achieve targets

03. How do sales and operations work together?

Sales and sales operations are mutually beneficial functions. Sales operations enhance the efficiency of sales teams through the latest technology and software solutions. These two teams play a key role in driving revenue growth.

04. Which is better- sales or operations?

There cannot be any comparison between these two functions as they are interdependent, wherein one function cannot function without the other. Both are extremely important for the growth of the company.

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