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A Simple Way to Improve Sales Ops’ Credibility

Former attorney general Edwin Meese once said, “An expert is somebody who is more than 50 miles from home, has no responsibility for implementing the advice he gives, and shows slides.”

While that characterization makes us chuckle a bit, it contains enough truth to also make us worry. When you are part of a company, you become so familiar to your co-workers that it can be difficult for them to accept you as an expert — even if you are one.

Fortunately, there’s a way to overcome this obstacle, and it’s right there in the Meese quote. You can’t (or at least probably shouldn’t) move 50 miles away or give up all your responsibilities for implementing ideas, but you can show slides. Or write emails. Or post to SharePoint or Confluence or whatever collaboration tools your company has.

You see, the easiest way to get other people to accept you as an expert is to share your expertise with them.

If you tell people you are an expert, they will never believe you. But if you’ve put something in writing, whether it’s on paper or a screen, suddenly you seem like you know what you’re talking about.

The key is that you have to let other people draw their own conclusions. Show them that you are an expert by doing the things that experts do. And that means sharing your knowledge.

This doesn’t have to be a big deal. Maybe it’s just a short paragraph about something you’ve learned recently that you email to someone on the management team. Maybe you post a note on the company Slack channel about some success the sales ops team has had. Maybe you offer to do training for new employees, or maybe you attend a conference and summarize what you learned for teams in other business units. Or maybe your company has a more formal way to share knowledge, like internal newsletters or Intranet blog posts.

The point is, if you act like an expert, people will start to see you like an expert. And demonstrating the success that the sales ops team is having will not only boost the internal reputation of the team, it will also be good for your personal brand. If people can see that your team is succeeding, they will associate you with that success. And that can only help your career.

For more tips like this, check out some of the career-focused resources available on SellingBrew. The webinar Advancing Your Career in Sales Operationsdiscusses the idea of knowledge sharing in more detail, as well as offering tried-and-true tactics for promoting yourself without seeming like a jerk.

You should also check out Demonstrating the Value of Sales Operations, which can help you quantify your team’s contributions, and Taking Your Sales Operation to the Next Level, which explains how to grow from being a tactically focused team into a much more strategic part of your organization.

Your company might not recognize the value of your efforts today, but with very little work, you can begin to transform people’s ideas about sales ops, your team, and your own personal capabilities. With time and effort, you can build a reputation for expertise that can benefit your organization and your career.

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