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Two Types of Sales Ops People to Avoid

When you are building a Sales Ops team, avoiding the wrong people can be as important as hiring the right people. Your team can still succeed with someone who isn’t a perfect fit, but you will never be very successful if you have these “wrong people” on the team.

So what makes a person “wrong” for a job in Sales Ops?

Early on, one leader gave us some advice that we reiterate very frequently here on SellingBrew:

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.

In other words, you need to avoid hiring people with two characteristics:

  1. People who cannot communicate
  2. People who do not work well with others

We’re not saying that technical skills aren’t important. They definitely are. But communication and teamwork are absolutely essential for people in Sales Ops.

You see, the Sales Ops team needs the assistance and cooperation of other teams, particularly others in sales and marketing, in order to do their jobs. But Sales Ops usually doesn’t have any direct power over these other groups. That means they have to be very good at explaining things to other people and convincing them to get on board with initiatives.

Of course, training can improve almost any skills — including communication and teamwork skills. But all things being equal, it’s probably easier to train someone in the technical skills they need if they already have good soft skills than to train them in soft skills if they already have technical skills.

While we’re on this topic, there’s another adage that can also help you avoid the wrong hires:

“It’s easier to train a someone that’s well-rounded and knowledgeable to become a manager than it is to train a manager to become well-rounded and knowledgeable.”

Not everyone you hire for Sales Ops team will one day become a manager, but the point about being well-rounded still applies. It’s usually better to hire a “Swiss army knife” who has lots of different skills than a super-specialist who can do one thing well.

You may have a very specific need right now, but in six months, your needs may be very different. A Sales Ops team needs to be nimble and able to tackle new things in new ways. Being able to tap existing team members for new tasks goes a long way — especially in times like this.

For more advice about creating a team or improving the capabilities of the team you already have, check out the following resources:

  • How to Hire Great Sales Ops People This webinar highlights the seven most important attributes that you should look for in interviews, as well as offering a variety of strategies and tactics for going beyond a resume to assess a candidate’s true abilities.
  • Essential Sales Ops Roles To be most effective, sales operations practitioners have to wear different hats at different times. This webinar discusses the areas that make the most difference to performance and contribution.
  • Advancing Your Career in Sales Operations This webinar explains which skills and knowledge are the most useful for getting ahead, and it offers advice for focusing your energy on the things that really matter.

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