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Sales Ops Doesn’t Sell. So What?

If you’re like a lot of people working in Sales Operations, you’ve never sold anything in your entire life. You’ve never “carried a bag” or carried a quota. You’ve never had to survive on commissions. You’ve never had to make cold calls, or try to get through gatekeepers.

You’ve never had to sit there and smile as a prospect tears apart the proposal you’ve spent a week pulling together. And you’ve certainly never had to sit on a plane for six hours after having lost the monster deal that could’ve made the quarter for everyone.

But…so what?

Frankly, I see too many people in Sales Ops who are intimidated by their own lack of personal sales experience. They think that because they’ve never been a salesperson, they have no business directing or influencing the development of the sales operation.

They don’t push as far or as hard as they should because someone else in the room might eventually ask, “When have you ever sold anything?”

Personal experience in sales can be very helpful, of course. And we always recommend developing a solid rapport with the sales team, and a deep understanding of customers, competitors, and the sales process.

But in reality, one-to-one selling and building a sales operation that works at-scale are two very different things, involving very different skills and expertise.

Building, improving, or optimizing a sales operation calls for a holistic and multi-dimensional perspective. It requires an analytical mindset, an affinity for data and data-driven decisions, and an orientation toward scalable systems and repeatable processes.

Honestly, does that sound like any salesperson you’ve ever met? Even the great ones? No, great salespeople bring an entirely different set of skills to the game.

Not better…and not worse…just different.

So the next time you feel that little twinge of fear, or you’re tempted to keep quiet or back down because you’ve never “carried a bag,” remember this:

There are a lot of architects who’ve never hung a door or poured a foundation. And, there are a lot of skilled craftsmen who’ve never designed an entire building. Yet, both are absolutely essential to ensure a great result.

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