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The Key Sales Ops Skill in Short Supply

Have you ever been called a “know-it-all”?

If so, the person who said it probably didn’t mean it as a compliment. People usually apply this stereotype to people who are constantly showing off their knowledge, and making other people feel bad by comparison.

Still, in a time not so long ago, having a library’s worth of knowledge stored in your head was a very in-demand skill. If you are of a certain age, you probably had history teachers who forced you to memorize dates and facts. And remembering all those details paid off in the form of good grades.

But the tables have turned on the know-it-alls.

These days, information has become a commodity. You can find the answer to just about any question with a quick Google search or two. Anymore, you probably don’t even have to get out a device or type anything to get the answer. You just call out “OK, Google” or “Siri” or “Alexa,” and a disembodied voice emanating from a smartphone or home device of some kind will tell you the answer. Heck, you probably don’t even need to have your own smartphone on you to get an answer if you are in a public place. Just yell, “OK, Google,” and half a dozen other people’s phones will answer.

In a world where information is cheap, the real value comes from being able to make good judgments about that information and communicate it effectively.

That is especially true in Sales Ops.

It’s all well and good if you can keep the current price list for all of your company’s products in your head. But what is far more impressive is if you have a good reason for setting all of those prices where they are and can articulate it well enough that other people in the company will agree with you.

We heard something once that has really stuck with us. That person said,

“Someone with pretty good technical skills, who can get their ideas across and get others to change their behaviors, will almost always outperform a technical wizard that no one pays any attention to.”

Your company doesn’t really need you for your ability to put together a report that shows historical sales data. As sales software gain more capabilities, answering basic questions about what is happening in the market is something anyone can do. In fact, your company probably doesn’t even need a human for that task. With the right tools in place, your CEO could probably yell, “Hey Siri, what was our close rate in the southeast region for Product X last month?” and get an answer.

Real sales ops skills comes from being able to interpret those numbers and give your company advice on what to do as a result. Your company doesn’t need you to tell them that sales grew 7 percent last month. However, they do need you to tell them that where the best sales opportunities will be next month and the specific product lines and accounts that the sales teams should targeting to maximize results.

For more information about why these skills are so valuable, check out Advancing Your Career in Sales Operations, Demonstrating the Value of Sales Operations and Delivering Data to Decision-Makers. They help to explain why and how to cultivate your analytical and communication skills, as well as how to provide compelling insights to management that can improve the bottom line (and your career).

In today’s world, information is cheap, but insights are more precious than gold. Make sure you’re providing your company with those insights, not just data.

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