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Be the Most Interesting Sales Ops Person in the Room

A few years back, Dos Equis beer ran an ad campaign that featured “the most interesting man in the world.” The commercials showed a distinguished gentleman doing a wide variety of things from surfing to releasing bears from traps to climbing out of an Apollo capsule to arm wrestling Fidel Castro.

Strangely enough, never once in the 12-year campaign did they ever suggest that the most interesting man in the world spent his career in sales operations.

While we think this was an obvious oversight, it’s possible that the general public doesn’t find sales operations to be as fascinating as we do.

Sadly, telling someone you work in sales operations may never elicit exclamations of “Oh, wow!” But that doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be boring.

Just the opposite, in fact. As sales operations practitioners, it’s incumbent on us to help our colleagues in other departments understand how important and strategic sales operations is — even if they have never considered it particularly enthralling in the past. Here are seven ways to make yourself — and by association, your profession — a little more interesting:

  1. Take on a broader mindset. Don’t fall into the trap of looking at things only from sales operations’ perspective. Cultivate a consultant mentality and consider the other levers that the business can pull to improve the bottom line. To learn a little more about what those other levers might be, check out Being An Internal Sales Consultant.
  2. Make Sales Ops concepts relatable to others. When you work in sales operations, you regularly discuss concepts and data around like sales forecasting, territory alignment, and sales incentive design that other people in the organization might never have heard of. Making those concepts and the underlying data understood can go a long way in gaining additional understanding and support. For advice on how to do that, watch, Delivering Data to Decision-Makers and Crucial Sales Ops Concepts.
  3. Be curious about others and their roles. Spend time getting to know the folks in the other departments that you interact with regularly, like sales, finance, and marketing. Knowing how they think will help you understand and anticipate their perspective and positions, helping everyone work together more effectively. To get started, see The Fundamentals of Effective Pricing for Sales Operations and Taking Your Sales Operation to the Next Level.
  4. Be inquisitive about what’s really going on. Becoming a good diagnostician requires asking the right questions. Delving deep to find the real root cause behind problems and performance is a far better (and more interesting) approach than simply accepting a simple fix. For a fresh perspective on why root-cause analysis is so important, see Diagnosing Sales Problems.
  5. Have some good stories in your back pocket. We’re pretty sure the guy from the Dos Equis commercials knew how to spin a good yarn. Stories are a great way to help make your point when you’re trying to get others to understand something. And some of the most compelling stories are cautionary tales derived from less-than-optimal experiences. If you don’t have any great stories of your own, steal some from The Top “Lessons Learned” by Sales Ops Leaders or Avoiding the Top 7 Sales Ops Mistakes.
  6. Be prepared to defend your positions. When it comes to sales operations strategies, everyone thinks they’re an expert. Be ready and able to defend your decisions and positions. That level of understanding and preparation is a great way to gain the respect of your peers and colleagues. Boosting the Sales Ops Team’s Influence offers some pointers to get you started.
  7. Be an evangelist. Sales operations can contribute greatly to the company’s performance. Help others in the company understand the power of sales operations and what it can deliver. Demonstrating the Value of Sales Operations shows you how.

Unlike the guy from the Dos Equis commercials, you may not “cure narcolepsy by walking into a room” after following these tips. But you will be well on your way to becoming the more interesting Sales Ops person in the room.

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