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Is Sales Ops a Tactical or Strategic Function?

There seems to be a bit of confusion and debate in the space about whether Sales Operations should be a tactical or strategic function…

Some argue that it should be a tactical function, whose sole purpose is to handle the non-sales grunt work that keeps salespeople from spending more time “belly to belly” with prospects and customers. Others argue that Sales Ops should be a strategic function, whose primary purpose is to develop, improve, and optimize how the entire selling function works and performs at-scale.

So…where do we stand on the issue? To those who’ve been paying attention to SellingBrew for any length of time, it will come as no surprise whatsoever that we’ve concluded Sales Ops should be a strategic function.

First of all, administrative burdens aren’t keeping salespeople from getting face-to-face with prospects and customers. Today, prospects and customers simply don’t have the time or desire to meet with salespeople like they did in days past. They’re busier than ever. And, they have many more convenient ways to gather information than to carve out time in their packed schedule for a meet-and-greet.

So, even though it might be popular with the sales team—hey, who wouldn’t want someone to handle all of the grunt work, right?—it’s a huge waste of resources to focus Sales Ops on a problem that can’t be solved by giving salespeople more free time.

(Now, if Sales Ops could give prospects and customers more free time, then we’d be on to something!)

Secondly, in today’s highly-competitive environment, B2B companies aren’t going to win by just having a collection of good salespeople. Today’s battle is a battle of business systems and processes, not individuals. And the company that builds the most effective overall “sales machine” will come out on top over the long haul.

Who’s building that machine? For that matter, who’s even looking at the sales function as a machine in the first place?

Who’s coordinating all of the internal groups that need to work together to ensure a good result? Who’s all over the performance data, looking for insights and improvement opportunities? Who’s driving the technologies that are essential for scale, speed, and consistency? Who’s overseeing all of the inter-connected elements, from on-boarding and training through sales process design and execution?

From our perspective, Sales Ops is in exactly the right position to play this extremely important and strategic role. To our minds, the real question is whether Sales Ops will step-up and take it on.

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