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3 Things That Kill a Sales Ops Career

Hindsight is always 20/20, and when it comes to your career, it’s definitely easier to spot your missteps after they’ve happened than while you’re in the midst of them.

Unfortunately, learning from your mistakes after they’ve happened can come with some serious consequences. If your blunders are big enough, you might suffer a pay cut or a demotion. You might find it difficult to find a new job, and you might even need to pursue a new occupation.

While failure is a necessary part of life for all of us, we don’t want any of those things to happen to you. And we think that you can probably sidestep the worst of the career repercussions if you avoid the three organizational issues that can doom a career:

1. Continuing to Focus on Tactics. Most sales ops groups get started for tactical reasons. Often, the sales group needs someone to do some of their busywork, or the sales manager wants someone to take over reporting and analytics. Sales ops is seen as a way to make the company more efficient at selling. That’s all well and good, but if you remain mired in those day-to-day activities and tactical thinking, you will never achieve all that you are capable of.

Sales ops is really at its best when the group is thinking strategically about improving sales effectiveness rather than just efficiency. If you don’t know what we mean by that, watch the webinar on Taking Your Sales Operation to the Next Level. It explains how best-in-class B2B sales operations folks are answering strategic questions for their employers. And when these sales ops teams contribute so meaningfully to the success of their companies, it has tremendous benefits for the careers of the individuals involved. On the flip side, those that never escape the trap of tactical thinking find themselves bogged down with endless tasks and passed over for career advancement opportunities.

2. Failing to Build Your Knowledge Stack. We say this a lot, but sales ops is still pretty new. You won’t find a lot of business schools with dedicated, formal sales ops training programs, and most of the practitioners are self-taught. That makes it more important than ever to stay up on the latest trends. Those that don’t can find themselves advocating for ideas that other companies have already learned are ineffective, and they’ll be missing out on opportunities to try things that really work.

If you’re worried that you might be falling out of the loop on the latest sales ops thought leadership, check out Exceptional Sales Ops Teams. It highlights what the best sales ops teams are doing right so that you can copy it and experience the same success.

3. Failing to Evangelize Results. Few people who work in sales ops enjoy tooting their own horns. After all, if you were a braggadocious blowhard, you would have gone to work in sales (just kidding). But failing to internally “market” the sales ops function is always a mistake. If you don’t let people know how sales ops is contributing to the bottom line, someone else (probably one of those braggadocious blowhards) will take credit for your hard work.

Letting other people know how valuable sales ops is doesn’t have to be as hard or as uncomfortable as you think. Demonstrating the Value of Sales Ops explains how to communicate your successes without becoming one of “those people.”

And just in case those resources didn’t give you enough career advice, we have one more for you. Advancing Your Career in Sales Ops offers strategies and techniques for getting to the next rung of the corporate ladder.

We think there’s never been a better time to be working in sales ops. And if you can avoid these potentially career-ending mistakes, you might just find that your experience in thinking strategically about the business opens doors to new opportunities that you never imagined would become available.

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