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How to Become Indispensable in Sales Ops

In a lot of American workplaces, employees have the perception that it’s a good idea to take one week off, but not two in a row and definitely not three. Five days seems to be just about the right amount of time for everyone in the office to realize how much work you do and to miss you while you’re gone.

But, the thinking goes, if you’re on vacation for much longer than that, people start to get used to you being gone. They work around you. Other people start managing the tasks you usually handle.

And if you’re vacationing for two whole weeks, they might start to wonder if they really need you.

After three, you might as well hand in your resignation.

As a result, more than half of U.S. workers don’t take all their earned vacation time. That’s a shame because studies show that employees are actually much more productive if they get some regular time off. And if you work in sales ops, you really shouldn’t ever have the feeling that your company could get along fine without you.

That’s because people who work in sales ops are in the perfect position to make themselves indispensable.

Most sales ops teams start out with a mandate to fulfill a particular need. Maybe your group came into existence in order to manage the CRM software or to respond to RFPs or to provide tactical support for the sales team. Those are all perfectly respectable responsibilities for a sales ops team.

But if those tactical jobs are all you do, you’ll never be truly indispensable. After all, if you weren’t there, someone else could put together the proposals or keep an eye on the CRM. And in that case, some of those fears about long vacations might be valid.

In our experience, the most successful sales ops practitioners are those who realize that they are in the perfect position to see all the sales data. Not only that, they realize that in today’s data-driven economy, they are sitting on a virtual gold mine.

Once sales ops starts analyzing all that data to figure out what is and isn’t working, they can start to drive positive changes within their companies. Over time, those data-driven insights become so valuable to the firm’s management that they realize they really can’t get along without their sales ops staff. If a key strategic thinker is gone on a long vacation, it’s much tougher to find someone with all the number-crunching knowhow and business acumen to step into their shoes.

Smart sales ops professionals make themselves indispensable.

Of course, we realize that it’s much easier to talk about becoming indispensable than to put it into practice. That’s why we have so many resources on our site dedicated to coaching you into becoming a more valuable employee. As a place to start, we recommend Advancing Your Career in Sales Operations, Exceptional Sales Ops Teams, and Developing a Winning Sales Ops Roadmap. All three of these resources explain in greater detail how to stop being basically a cog in the machine and become the mechanic who knows how to tune the engine so that it operates more smoothly. It’s a process that takes times, but the benefits are immeasurable.

Those benefits might even include feeling confident enough in your position to take a nice long trip to the Caribbean. True story: we recently heard about a sales ops manager who is taking a year off to sail around the world on his boat with his wife — and his company values his contributions so much that they promised to have a place for him when he comes back.

We can’t promise that will happen for you, but if it does, don’t forget to send us a postcard!

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